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Essential Parts of a Good Business Plan

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A business plan has long been considered one of the most essential parts of setting up a new business.  However, this is a daunting task for many entrepreneurs, and they often don’t know where to start.  This overview will provide a good summary of what should be included in your business plan.

Executive Summary

This should be the very first part of your business plan, and this is your chance provide a profile of your company, and what your goals for the business are.  The executive summary should give a preview of your business plan as a whole, so make sure you include all the necessary details within this section.

Company Description

Information on what your business does, what makes it different from other businesses, and what markets your business will serve.  Try to be as precise as possible in the description because this will form the core of your entire business. The company description should also describe the industry and markets within that industry.

Market Analysis

The market analysis section should include research on your company’s industry, the industry market, and any competitors.  This is also known as a competitive analysis, and it should demonstrate the place of your business in that market.  You should look for strengths and weaknesses within the market, along with any barriers that will prevent competition from entering that market.

Design & Development Plan

In this part of the business plan, you should offer a description of your product’s design or a description of what your service will provide, chart the development of the product or service, and create a development budget.  Outline what your plan is for getting this product or service on the market, and how much money you think it will cost to do so.

Operations & Management Plan

Describe the day-to-day functions of your business.  Describe how your business is organized, and what kind of management structure you use.  Explain the responsibilities that the management team has, and how tasks are assigned to each division within your company.  You should also detail the expenses that are associated with the business operations.

The Service or Product Line

List the services or products your business is providing.  Explain what you are going to sell, and how it will benefit your customers.  Offer some details on the product lifecycle, such as how much time is required to get from the beginning of development & design, to your product or service being ready for customers to purchase.

Marketing & Sales Plan

This section will be based on the results of the Market Analysis, and you should use it to explain your sales strategy, how you plan to promote your product or business.  Common examples of marketing methods include advertising through social media, print ads, and the use of email subscription lists of customers.

Financial Projections & Plan

Lay out your financial expectations for your company.  It’s common to provide projections for 3-5 years in the future, and it should include any and all forms of revenue.  These financial projections can be used to back up any requests for funding that you might make to investors.  If you are seeking funding for your business, it’s important to do research about any necessary information that should be included with that request.

The Appendix

An appendix is an optional part of the business plan, but can be very useful if you have pertinent information that doesn’t seem to fit into the previous sections of the business plan.  For example, you can use this section to provide information on resumes of key business employees, permits (permissions for construction, most commonly), and leases for the building or buildings that house your business.

This overview of the elements that should be included with a business plan is a very good starting point for writing your own business plan.  Remember, this is a vital part of getting your business started in the right direction, particularly if you are going to convince investors or banks to provide additional funding.  You can alter these sections as needed, in order to tailor the business plan to your specific kind of company, and provide more or less information, as required.  Further information can be obtained with various consulting companies.

John Stone is a business consultant Nirmal Web Design.  Through years of experience, he became a devout believer in the notion that form should always follow function and that developing the ability to think outside of the box is a prerequisite of being a successful entrepreneur. You can get in touch with him on Twitter.

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