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Now that you understand why you need a business plan and you've spent some time doing your homework gathering the information you need to create one, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get everything down on paper. All too often, what the business owner desires is buried on page eight.The following pages will describe in detail the seven essential sections of a business plan: what you should include, what you shouldn't include, how to work the numbers and additional resources you can turn to for help. Within the overall outline of the business plan, the executive summary will follow the title page. Clearly state what you're asking for in the summary.A market analysis forces the entrepreneur to become familiar with all aspects of the market so that the target market can be defined and the company can be positioned in order to garner its share of sales.
Whether you are in the beginning stages of starting your own business or planning on taking it to the next level, you will need a clear and informative business plan. Moreover, business plans provide both a literal and proverbial roadmap to reach the personal and financial goals one has set out to achieve.
In short, it is a comprehensive guide wherein answers to the questions and problems you will face in each stage of growth are laid out in detail.
The ten tips in the chapters below offer guidance and direction in answering such a question.
In the beginning, one may have the urge to delve straight into specific strategies, such as evaluating production methods, studying market segments, and evaluating the competition—but do not do that, at least not yet.
Do not misunderstand, these are important inclusions in your plan; however, during the early stages of drafting, it is important to create a broad vision that can be adapted once your specifics have been identified.
When writing a business plan, have an end goal in mind.Therefore, a detailed explanation of how your business will bring its product or service to market is much more valuable in the analysis of a business than merely describing it.We’ve all heard this acronym before: Keep it simple, stupid.You need to ask yourself, Stated differently, how do you want your business functioning in the next five to ten years? This vision should include tangible goals such as profits and market share, but more importantly, it should focus on the intangible/unquantifiable long-term goals, such as your willingness to adapt, emerging business-trends, and an ever-present desire to “excel.” Likewise, your business plan should answer these questions during the short-term period, particularly one year; specifically, what your business’s goals are for the current year, and what is essential in order to make your first year a success.Some commenters believe it is a good idea to have multiple versions of business plans for different audiences—one for bankers, one for individual investors, one for vendors, and so forth.A business plan is a living, breathing document that should be evolving as you continue the circular process of asking and answering questions.By this, I mean you should always be thinking of ways to improve your business and thus your business plan.As a result, you have to be willing to add, edit, or even remove certain portions of your business plan when new information becomes available.To be able to effectively master this process, always keep a notepad, phone, or some other recordable medium nearby.Not only is this a great tip for writing a business plan, but also for writing in general.If there is anything that I have taken away from my three years of law school, it is that no matter how advanced or educated the reader, he or she has a limited amount of interest and time to grasp what you are trying to convey.