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How and Where to Get Business Plan Help

Creating a Business Plan – Where to Start

❶By having clear, transparent and realistic financial information that shows you know what you're talking about and that you're not hiding anything.

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Make a chart of the most expensive and least expensive sites by location and square footage. Determine your start-up cost. Make a list of all the tangible and intangible resources you need to get your business going. Be honest and conservative in your estimates, but also be optimistic. Don't aim for the best of everything at the beginning. You can forgo the expensive trimmings of an office of a more well-established company and stick to the basics at the beginning.

Get what is affordable, works and is actually needed and don't buy frills. Put yourself in the shoes of potential investors. Depending on your product, you may need to search long and hard for relevant information. Don't lose heart if you discover some, or even all, of your ideas have been adequately covered by the market. Don't ignore this reality; instead, work with it. Can you still do a better job or provide a better widget than your competitors?

In many cases, it's likely that you can provided you know the market well and how to add value in ways your competitors are not doing. In other cases, it may be a case of focusing more narrowly or more broadly than your competitors are doing.

They follow specific guidelines, such as the Risk Management Association R. A database, which are designed to ensure that they will make money by investing in or lending to your business. Lenders will typically look to the company's Capital, Capacity, Collateral, Conditions, and Character or what is known as the 5C's of lending when underwriting a loan. You'll need to have covered all these bases well before seeking funding.

A business plan won't be useful until you're certain what your company exists for. What will you accomplish for others? What products and services will you produce or provide? Write down all the specific needs your company will satisfy.

Potential investors need to know that your business will be meaningful and marketable to people who can use your product or service. So concentrate on the external needs your company will meet. What will your product or service enable people to do better, more cheaply, more safely, or more efficiently? Will your new mousetrap help people capture mice without feeling sick to their stomachs? Will your new bubblegum scented bubble bath revolutionize the way children agree to take nightly baths?

Choose a winning strategy. How will you distinguish your product or service from others? Although there are millions of types of businesses, there are actually only a few basic strategies that can be applied to make any enterprise successful. The first step in selecting an effective strategy is to identify a competitive advantage for your product or service. Your competitive advantage may include designing special features not found in rival products.

It may entail superior service characteristics such as speedier delivery, a lower price, or more attentive sales people——these are never to be sniffed at as possible winning ways, as many companies grow complacent and can be overtaken by giving customers experiences that are better than the average expectations.

Consider how will you hire and organize your workforce. Keep in mind that your initial plans will undoubtedly change as your business grows. You may need to hire more managers to supervise your expanding staff or to set up new departments to meet new customer demands.

For now, you want to secure help in getting started and convince your funding sources that you will become profitable. Consider the practical issues of running a business. Think about your role as leader or boss of the business. As you think about hiring personnel and organizing your workforce, you must also confront your desire and ability to be a good boss. Decide how you will handle your employees' entitlements. For example, salaries and wages, their insurance and retirement benefits, as well as analyzing the extent of your knowledge of tax related issues.

Do you need to bring in experienced managers right away? Will you keep some of the existing employees or hire all new people? And where do you find these potential employees?

Funding sources will also want to know if any of your partners expect to work alongside you or if their obligations are only financial. Your plan will need to specify the key management jobs and roles.

Positions such as president, vice presidents, chief financial officer, and managers of departments will need to be defined along with stating who reports to whom. Decide on a marketing plan. Consider how will you reach your customers.

What will you say to persuade and convince customers that your product or service is better value, more timely, more useful, etc. If it currently has no rival, how will you properly explain the purpose of and the consumer's need for the product? What advertising and promotional efforts will you employ? For example, two for the price of one specials or free coupons inside those same kid-oriented cereal boxes? Where can you locate lists of the greatest concentrations of children under the age of eight or whatever group constitutes your market?

Build a dynamic sales effort. In a nutshell, this part of your business plan is about how you will attract customers or clients for your product or services. What will your basic sales philosophy be? Building long-term relationships with a few major clients or developing a clientele of many short-term customers? Organize all the relevant information about your business. Begin creating section headings and putting the appropriate information under the appropriate headings.

Title Page and Table of Contents Executive Summary , in which you summarize your vision for the company General Company Description , in which you provide an overview of your company and the service it provides to its market Products and Services , in which you describe, in detail, your unique product or service Marketing Plan , in which you describe how you'll bring your product to its consumers Operational Plan , in which you describe how the business will be operated on a day-to-day basis Management and Organization , in which you describe the structure of your organization and the philosophy that governs it Financial Plan , in which you illustrate your working model for finances and your need from investors.

Write the executive summary last. The executive summary is basically your big appeal to investors, or really anyone who reads your business plan, that should summarize and articulate what it is that's great about your business model and product.

It should be less about the nitty-gritty details of operations and more about your grand vision for the company and where it is headed.

Gather all the information together and prepare multiple drafts. You've done all of the hard work researching, deciding what your business is about, targeting it accurately and selling it. It's time to put the business plan together and articulate all your thinking, research, and hard work into a comprehensive description of your structure and service. At first, do not worry about capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. All you need to worry about is putting your ideas down on paper.

Once you have a general form, you can spend time proofreading your plan and correcting mistakes. Have someone else read over it for you and take heed of their comments. Sell yourself and your business.

They require ample time, research, detail management and an understanding of basic economics and development. For the novice business owner, this can be very overwhelming.

In the proceeding paragraphs you will find the basic requirements for making a business plan, including:. A business plan, for all intents and purposes, is a clearly defined document that not only describes the nature of your business, but also outlines strategies, objectives, goals, sales and marketing targets and financial forecasts.

Your business plan should be able to assist you in:. Your business plan needs to be as detailed and through as possible. However, resist the urge to include every possible stitch of information in your plan.

You will want to leave some content for your operational or marketing plans. When drafting your business plan: It is imperative that you never embellish things like sales or cashflow.

She has a small-business background and experience as a layout and graphics designer for Web and book projects. Skip to main content. Purpose When writing a business plan, it's important to keep in mind the intended viewer and why he needs to see this plan. Considerations When you write a business plan it's important to start working from an acceptable outline.

Types The two main types of business plans are proposals for brand new startups and plans for existing businesses that want to expand or innovate in some way. Components A good business plan covers a variety of topics that lenders, investors and potential partners need to see to evaluate the company or idea. Solutions The Small Business Administration is the first stop for many small business owners looking for information on how to write a business plan.

References 3 Business know-how: Business Plan for Established Business. Templates for your Business. About the Author Louise Balle has been writing Web articles since , covering everything from business promotion to topics on beauty.

Accessed 14 September Help to Write a Business Plan.


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Okay, you're on board and ready to write a business plan. The good news: You're on the right track. The bad news: This is where you may start to feel stressed, overwhelmed and completely out of your league. Take a deep breath. This business plan shortcut is the perfect place to start. Start with some of our free business planning resources, like free sample business plans, our one-page plan template, or our template for a complete business plan. Then, scroll down for a complete set of resources that will help you create the ultimate business plan.

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Jan 30,  · Your plan will provide the roadmap to achieve the success you want. The question shouldn’t be IF you write your plan, but how to write a business plan that will take your company where you want to go. Your business plan is essentially your answers to a comprehensive list of questions. After determining a focus for your new business idea, the next step is to write down a well-thought out plan. Poor planning--or lack thereof--is one of the top causes of small business failure, so.