Counselors to America's Small Business
Develop a Business Plan

A Business Plan may be required for financing, but it is primarily a guide to your business future.  It should include the following elements defined in the following outline:

1.  Cover Page:  Include the title, date of preparation, confidentiality statement and contact information.

2.  Table of Contents:  Self-explanatory.  Include both major and minor sections so that the reader can quickly find the part desired.

3.  Mission Statement:  A brief paragraph that defines the nature of your business, its purpose and your vision for its future.

4.  Executive Summary:  A one or two page explanation of all the major elements in your plan, including history, legal form, your role, competitive advantage, product definition, pricing, management and financial considerations.

5.  Marketing Plan:  A complete outline for the Marketing Plan can be found on Develop an Effective Marketing Plan.  This should be included as a major part of the Business Plan.

6.  Operational Plan:  A description of who will manage the business and how it will be accomplished.  Define the organization and how you will hire and train your personnel.

7.  Management Control Systems:  Include a description of how you will maintain accounting records, inventory control measures, the monitoring of cash flow and how you will evaluate the profitability of each product, job or service.

8.  Financial Plan:  The section includes a Personal Financial Statement, a Schedule of Start-Up Costs, Planned Financial Statements and the assumptions on which they are based.  If borrowing is planned, state how it will be repaid and the collateral proposed.

9.  Long-Range Strategic Plan:  This section describes where you want your business to be in three to five years and how you intend to get accomplish your objectives.