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Simple Business Plans Format

25 Jun

Starting a new business or aiming for an expansion entails a good deal of planning. It involves valuable resources that should not be wasted should the venture fail. Good business planning aids any business owner as it helps to maximize resources as it prevents mistakes. Any prospective business owner will gain from a thorough business plan as well as the owner who plans to expand soon.

The simple business plans format below should guide you through the process of planning your business. It also serves as a checklist to ensure you cover everything in the business aspect for successful planning and implementation.

  1. 1.       Executive Summary

Every business plan starts with an executive summary. While this section is the last thing you write, it is the first thing that any investor, lender or partner will read. The executive summary highlights the very important points in your overall business plan in about one or two pages, so make every word count.

  1. 2.       Market Analysis

Your market analysis consists of the information you have gathered about your specific industry, your target market and the competition in the market. This portion indicates the strengths and weaknesses of your business and your strategy to overcome the barriers.

  1. 3.       Company Description

If you are a start-up company, this section should indicate your company’s background as well as your goals for starting this type of business. Existing businesses should include their mission statement as well as some of the company’s achievements in the industry.

  1. 4.       Organization and Management

A business’ organization and management structure is crucial to its success. The business plan should include your management strategy according to the type of ownership. A complete and sufficient organizational structure should address necessary positions and departments that need competent management. When your goal is to acquire additional funding, you must present that the business will be handled by people who are capable of managing it.

  1. 5.       Marketing and Sales Management

Your product or service is the most important element in your business. It is the source of income in the business and thus, a good marketing and sales plan is essential. You must develop a strategy for your product or service to reach your target market. Distribution channels, advertising and handling sales should be included in your overall market strategy.

  1. 6.       Service or Product Line

In your business plan, your product or service takes center stage. Specific and important details about what you are selling are crucial in your plan. Discuss how your product can benefit the target market in addressing their needs. Your product description should also include the product’s life cycle, significant components and its competitive edge.

  1. 7.       Funding Request

Whether you need funding or not, this aspect will cover the amount you require to start or expand the business. A detailed funding request should help you determine how much you need to proceed with your plans.

  1. 8.       Financial Projections

After thorough analysis of the market and your product as well as set clear goals, you will be able to prepare financial projections. Significant historical data should be considered, particularly for existing businesses. Start-ups can make financial projections according to practical market analysis. In your business plan, it is essential to make projected financial statements, such as income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements and financial ratios for up to five years.

  1. 9.       Appendix

This section is optional and could be used when including important documents, such as permits, leases and other useful documents.

By using this simple business plans format, you can prepare an effective business plan to suit any type of business.


How to Use a Business Plan Layout Effectively

25 Jun

Business planning is an essential component in a business strategy for a company to achieve its goals and ensure success. While many small and medium enterprises may be informal in some aspects, it is important that every business owner recognize the role of a business plan to the success of their business.

  • Importance of a Business Plan Layout

In today’s advanced technology and the advent of web-based businesses, business planning can be easily neglected. Anyone can pay hosting, set-up their own websites and then open a business. However, most do not realize that the time will come when they will need funds to support their operations. A business plan layout will definitely take them a long way in presenting their business’ goals, funding requirements and projected financial status so prospective investors or lenders will gain confidence in the business.

  • Fundamental Business Plan Layout

A business plan layout has the following elements:

  1. Executive Summary – As a summary of the entire business plan, this should be written last. It is crucial for making a good impression on investors or lenders, so make it simple and concise.
  2. Market Analysis – It is essential to know your industry and target market to determine how to best address customers’ needs and how to reach them.
  3. Company Description – This should highlight the company’s information, background and goals.
  4. Product Description – Focus on the benefits of your products and how they can address the needs of the market.
  5. Organization and Management – This aspect should identify the key management positions and the qualifications of the people handling the business.
  6. Financial Projections – Include projected financial statements, such as income statements, cash flow and balance sheets.
  • How to Use Business Plan Layout

Using a business plan layout can be challenging to many business owners, particularly for those who are still starting their first venture. Business plans can be flexible and tailored to the specific business and the company’s goals. Perhaps, a business requires additional funds to expand to a larger target market. The content would then be significantly different from that of a start-up business, but the business plan layout would fundamentally be the same.

A basic business plan layout can take you a long way in planning your business or in convincing prospective investors and lenders to contribute funds. Using the business plan layout, you will gain an overview of a good business plan. It will guide you on the type of data to collect as well as formulate a strategy to succeed in your industry. A layout can provide you with the basic outline of your business plan, which you can change or rearrange according to your needs. The layout serves as the basic framework of your plan or an aid in decision-making.

A business plan can be a great tool for planning a business to ensure success and avoid mistakes. It can also be used for decision-making as well as for acquiring funds. For whatever use, a good business plan layout should make the job easier for you.

Business Plan Guide for Starters

25 Jun

Businesses of any size require planning and preparation in order to succeed. With so many businesses starting and failing every year, there is only so much time and resources wasted because of lack of planning. While owners of small businesses may not feel the need for a good business plan, they will soon find that a business plan is required when trying to acquire funding. Investors and funding institutions will definitely look for a business plan in order to determine if the business is something worth venturing into, or not.

Why Prepare a Business Plan?

A business plan serves many purposes. Besides funding, a business plan can be very valuable to a business. When starting a new business, the business owner will need proper guidance in running it. A business plan serves as a guide for them to be able to handle the daily operations involved in running the business. Without proper planning, a business is doomed to fail, whether it is large or small.

Business Plan Format

Preparing a business plan is not easy, yet it can be done with the right research and attitude. It definitely involves a lot of time and effort on the part of the business owner. However, it must be accomplished in order to get the necessary funding or attract investors. The following format should guide you in preparing a simple business plan.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Product or Service Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy
  • Organization and Management
  • Financial analysis

Hiring a Business Plan Consultant

While some business owners can prepare a simple business plan, there are also times when hiring a business plan consultant is the answer. It is a fact that not all owners of businesses have had the education and background required in preparing a business plan. Hiring a professional can be a good idea to avoid stress. Moreover, the owner can focus on his or her product or services, instead of poring over a stack of papers.

Before hiring a consultant, you need to find one that has the right educational background and track record in preparing business plans. Remember, your business is at stake here and if you want to find funding or gain an investor, then you should have a well-prepared business plan.

During the initial interview, you can inquire about the consultant’s professional background and his or her experience in the field. Moreover, you can ask about some of her previous clients and the types of businesses they run. Make sure that he or she has had relevant experience in your industry in order to prepare the right business plan.

Whether you are still starting your first business, or are planning to expand your business, a good business plan will greatly help your company achieve its goals. While it can be very intimidating to prepare a business plan, this business plan guide should help you face this challenge. Because a business plan is essential to the success of your business, preparing one will definitely give your business a boost.

Basic Business Plan for Dummies

25 Jun

Developing an effective business plan can pose a few challenges for the beginner as well as the experienced. There is no specific content for a business plan; rather, the type of audience and the goals that the company aims to achieve determine the content. However, preparing a business plan can be simplified by using the following format as your guide.

Essential Elements of a Business Plan

  • Executive Summary

An executive summary is the first thing that your audience, perhaps an investor or lender, will read. Because this will leave an impression and a great deal of influence to your audience, make it concise and interesting as possible. However, you do not need big words to include in this section. Rather, a simple summary of the entire business plan consisting of a couple of pages would be enough. Include in the executive summary the highlights of each aspect of the business in order to provide a good snapshot.

  • Company Description

An investor or lender would be interested to learn about your company. If you were in their shoes, you would also want to learn about the person whom you will be giving money. Whether you are still starting or you are already on an expansion process, providing the necessary information will provide a sense of confidence.

  •  Products and Services

Showcase your products in this aspect. Highlight the unique features and benefits that your product or service will offer to customers. Moreover, provide realistic and important information, such as the product life cycle, delivery methods, packaging and other relevant tidbits.

  •  Market Analysis

Analysing your product market will provide you with a good grasp of the market situation that you will have to overcome in marketing your product. Determine the demand and supply levels of the product and see if there is a significant gap you can fill. Research the competition, too. Such information will help you in developing an effective market strategy.

  • Management Strategy

A strong management strategy entails determining the type of organizational structure the business needs. Moreover, each key position should be filled with people with specific capabilities in order to handle the business well. Specify the manner for recruitment, qualifications of employees, compensation strategy, etc.

  • Financial Plan

A financial plan is crucial in a business plan. This aspect includes the fundamental financial statements, projected for up to five years, and financial ratios, to determine the stability of the business. For start-up ventures, financial statements will mainly include projections. On the other hand, existing businesses should include their historical financial data and projected financial statements based on those data.

  • Appendix

This is an optional component in a business plan. The appendix will hold important documents, supporting forms and other relevant papers to support the plan. Examples of documents to include are permits, licenses, titles, and resumes.

A good business plan does not have to include business jargons and other hard-to-digest language. An effective business plan is one that involves simple, concise and direct language. Your purpose is to communicate your business goals and plans through this type of paper and develop a plan to guide you towards success. With a simple business plan such as this, you will be prepared to face investors and lenders.

Choosing a Business Plan Consultant

25 Jun

Writing a business plan can be hard for most people, particularly when this is the first time. A business plan is crucial for a business to access funds or to develop a strategy to guide the business owner in handling the business. When prepared poorly, a business plan will not communicate clearly the company’s objectives, which are essential when formulating business strategies and attracting prospective investors or lenders. While some can effectively prepare a good business plan on their own, most business owners will be better off by hiring the service of a business plan consultant.

Qualities of a Good Business Plan Consultant

A business plan consultant must possess an expertise in preparing business plans. The internet has a wealth of information and consultant services, but it is better to find a person or a company who can deliver. As mentioned, a business plan done poorly will make things harder for the business to succeed or even access funding. Make sure that you are hiring a reputable consultant who has a good experience in preparing business plans in your industry. During your initial interview with the consultant, find out more about their experiences in preparing business plans that are similar to your situation.

Besides a good reputation, find a business plan consultant who has the ability to treat the project objectively. A business plan should provide realistic and practical analysis and projections in order to determine the soundness of the business. The business plan consultant must be able to prepare a business plan that will prove to be feasible and not tailored just to acquire funding.

While professional business plan consultants can be very serious about planning a business, it is also a good trait to be able to foster good work relationship with their clients. Business planning is not the sole responsibility of the consultant. Rather, the client and the consultant must work together to prepare an effective business plan. By combining the business owner’s knowledge in the industry and the consultant’s expertise in preparing a business plan, the endeavour would be a definite success.

Lastly, hiring a business plan consultant can be very expensive. Find out first how much most consultants charge for their services and determine if you will be able to afford it. Because preparing a business plan entails a huge amount of time and effort, most consultants will charge extra, depending on the size of the business and the projected amount involved. Set a reasonable budget that you can afford and discuss it with the consultant during the initial interview. This way, you will be able to make agreements that will be beneficial for the both of you.

Business planning can be tough job, but you can prepare your own plans if you are determined to learn how to prepare one. However, if you can afford it and the size of the project justifies hiring a consultant, then go ahead. Your business is at stake here, so make sure to give it the best support it needs for it to succeed. Remember, though, that finding the right business plan consultant is crucial in this endeavor.