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Create a
Business Plan

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A business plan can be looked upon as a roadmap or a blueprint. If properly prepared, it can be an invaluable planning tool as well as a means of measuring your progress toward your business objectives.

Many people assume that a business plan is only required for those interested in obtaining third party financing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The formulation of a solid business plan should be viewed as an integral part of any business start-up. It is one of the best opportunities you will have to thoroughly evaluate your ideas and perform substantial market research.

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The more time and effort that you put into the development of a business plan, the greater will be the likelihood of your success in your business venture. You should not feel guilty about spending weeks or even months in preparation for your "official" entry into the business world.

Charging impulsively onto the business battlefield with an ill-formed idea and without a well thought out plan will lead quickly to financial and emotional distress. Many costly mistakes can be avoided with a little planning. In business, impatience is more often than not the mother of misfortune.

Four basic purposes of a business plan
  1. It serves as a blueprint for organizing your business.
  2. It allows you to monitor the progress of your business toward its financial objectives.
  3. It inspires confidence and imparts vital information to prospective investors, lenders, partners, and key employees.
  4. It imbues your enterprise with a sense of vision and purpose.

A good business plan will be one of your primary strategic planning tools. As such, it should be a living, breathing document. It is not meant to be completed and then shelved. It should be referred to frequently and modified over time to reflect the changing needs and direction of your business.

Elements of a Sound Business Plan

1) Mission Statement:

States the purpose and fundamental mission of your company.

2) Business Description:

Describes the scope and nature of your business.

3) Marketing Strategies, Objectives & Assumptions:

Outlines and measures the market opportunity. Forecasts sales, and evaluates competition, pricing, and distribution.

4) Operational Strategies, Objectives & Assumptions:

Evaluates human resource requirements and assesses facility, production and inventory capabilities and requirements.

5) Financial Strategies, Objectives & Assumptions:

Projects start-up capital requirements. Analyzes expected cash flows and working capital requirements. Produces a break even analysis and formulates a target date for profitability. Sets realistic profit objectives.

6) Goals and Objectives:

Outlines overall goals and objectives of the business and provides timeframes for their achievement.

7) Risks & Opportunities:

Honestly evaluates the financial, operational and market risks facing your company and discusses the ways in which these risks can be mitigated. Identifies special opportunities available to your company and discusses how your business will capitalize on those opportunities.

8) Reporting and Monitoring Mechanisms:

Sets in place reporting mechanisms to ensure that business results are continually monitored and evaluated against goals and objectives.

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Making Your Business Legal

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