There are different kinds and formats of business plan depending on your needs. Like whether it's for a bank to get credit, or potential investors perhaps, or just for you.
The format of your business plan depends on many factors : what is your business about, your goals and ways to achieve these goals. If you feel, you're not sufficienly skiilled to prepare the business plan by yourself, then use professional services like https://www.ogscapital.com/locations (just pick your location). Anyway, I wish you good luck!
The best format is one that isn't too long and easy to read for those that need to follow it. If it blows out to many pages summarise the key points down to a couple pages and then you can be sure it can be easily referred to and not forgotten after the first read.
Hi, you need a strong executive summary that begins with one sentence stating what you plan to do. One paragraph on your relevant background, one paragraph expanding the business idea, one paragraph stating the purpose of the business you are starting, etc. One paragraph Stating the purpose of the document eg. to get a bank loan. One paragraph stating startup costs and outline briefly how the money is spent. Exec summary done!
Fit all this on one page and expand the information in the body of your business plan. If you need any more help, Google the business plan workbook.ie .
Best of luck! Brian Dolan
Good day Kirk, many good answers. I also separate the difference between a business plan (outside) and strategic plan (internal).
Your bus plan depends on the business you're starting, should project a 5 yr grade (forecast), and ready to update a need be.
While also using the business plan as the main stay, my company also uses a 3-D ROM showing precisely what is to be. We've had great out comes I've the post several years. Banks and investors get a full detailed look at what we're projecting on paper.
What? Is it 1995? You don't need a business plan in 2016. You need customers.
The best thing to do is to throw the idea of "format" out the window for now and just focus on getting all the ideas and details down on paper. After everybody gets everything out of their head go through each thing and elaborate on them, build new ideas onto the existing ones as you're inspired to. Once you have all the data in front of you it will tell you for itself how to structure it, communicate it and what order it should go in.
type of question [ JUST MAKE IT EASY ] & [ DO NOT INVENT A BICYCLE ]
A business plan includes a description of a company or small business, its services and/or products and how the business will achieve its goals. The plan includes the overall budget, current and projected financing, a market analysis and its marketing strategy approach. In a business plan, a business owner projects revenues and expenses for a certain period of time and describes operational activity and costs related to the business.
The idea behind putting together a business plan is to enable owners to have a more defined picture of potential costs and drawbacks to certain business decisions and to help them modify accordingly before implementing these ideas.
There really is no proper flow. However it is helpful to think of it as in a three ring binder so that elements can be pulled out and tweaked as you develop your business. What you plan for in the start usually changes the minute you begin. So think flexible.
One of my mantras is, "A business plan is a story in words and numbers". The narrative, divided by headings, is mostly words with some #;s to support the idea. The Appendix holds spreadsheets, etc., starting with the most important - Cash Flow for first 12 months supported by a Sales Forecast, Cash Receipts Forecast, etc., a Funds Needed list before the 1st month of business. Repeat forecasts for 2 to 3 years into the future.
Tell the whole story w/o drowning the reader. I've seen 7 pages of Narrative do a complete job. Usually 12 to 15 pages, never more than 20. Use "see appendix" in the narrative to keep length controlled.
Good Luck, Charlene Finerty
Assuming you know the content, I have pasted a table of content from one of my winning business plans.
There is really no "right" way so this is only a guide. Hope it helps...
PLEASE NOTE: The Executive Summary is written last and you should be able to describe your business idea in at most, two sentences.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Content _________________________________________Page #
Services & Products___________________________________________9 Marketing/Competition Strategy______________________________10
The answers below are excellent.... Our Community College in Montgomery County PA has a template for starter www.BetheBoss.org
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple. If it's too convoluted, arcane, hard to relate-to, or indirectly focused...you will lose before you begin.
Investors and potential customers HATE having to think too hard to identify with what you're trying to accomplish. If it seems too complicated, it is. Get to the point...draw a straight line between your concept, your intended audience, and the ROI you expect when you execute.
You can always park the 'deep dive' supporting information in the appendices of your plan. If someone wants the info, have it available, but your best plan is the simplest. (See also Occam's Razor).
Best of luck!
I use a modified version of “The One Page Business Plan” by Jim Horan. It’s actually two pages when including budget on Excel Spreadsheet. It covers:
Vision – What are you building?
Mission – Why?
Strategy – How to allocate resources to create the new and better state of the future
Objectives – What will be the measurable outcomes over specified timeframe?
Action Plan – Who will do what and when?
Jim Horan doesn't include the strategy section but it helps me to help my clients who are mostly small and struggle with resources. You can find on Amazon in versions for different types of business.
BTW, the reason for a 1 page plan is to view it every day and validate you activities are consistent with goals. Also, keep it in a dynamic state so you can change as needed to advance towards your vision. Of course, it's most important to get the vision and mission right. Doesn't matter as much how you get their but that you do with reasonable efficiency and effectiveness. Hire a FocalPoint Business Coach to help you get on the optimal path and stay there.
Get: Guidebook to Planning - A Common Sense Approach, available on Amazon.
I used this book 25 years ago in business school and have referenced it many times since then. It is still just as relavent today as it was then and is great source of information on writing business plans.
"The Entrepreneur's Master Planning Guide; How to Launch a Successful Business." by John A. Welsh, Jerry White
I distinguish between a business plan and a strategic plan, differing in who the audience is. If it is for outside viewers (bankers, capital providers, potential partners, etc.), then it must be a full blown business plan. quite honestly, the most important thing there is to make sure you cover all the key element sufficiently - and you can find format online, from SCORE/SBA, and a umber of different places. Again they provide the sections to cover (usually with some examples); you provide the wording.
The strategic plan, in my terminology, is an internal document. It is the business road map you (owner and/or leaders), and likely employees, vendors and maybe even clients. It does cover core elements of your business but is largely directed to effective execution.
I use a modification of a ONE PAGE plan that Verne Harnish originally developed. Just GOOGLE it or private message me and I can help.
When Composing my pans i use MS word and insert Excel documents into word. It has worked we for me making it easy to make adjustments or changes as I develop a plan. I feel it is easier to keep organized rather than pulling from different formats or programs
Best of success, Gil
Ash Maurya's recent post on the subject of business plans is definitely worth a read. A conventional business plan may not be your desired outcome. Check it out! https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-time-fire-business-plan-good-ash-maurya