Creating a Selling Business Plan

Your business plan can make or break your business before it is even started. The business plan that you write will be the foundation for getting financial backing, finding suppliers and making your business a financial success. Do not underestimate the power of your small business plan; it will help keep you on track with your budget and overall business goals. The most important element of a business plan is honesty. It does no good to fabricate facts about your market findings and business goals; be optimistic, but logical.

Step-by-Step Business Plan

The majority of small business plans will range between 10 and 30 pages in length, depending on the scope of the business. By following this step-by-step guide you will end up with a detailed and thorough small business plan.

  1. Cover Letter: Introduce yourself briefly and state what you are asking for. This may vary depending on your audience (i.e. lender, possible partner, etc.)
  2. Business Summary: Describe what your company does, its goals and how you will achieve them.
  3. Table of Contents: Don’t forget page number on the bottom of the body pages.
  4. Business Description: This is where you need to bring in the big guns.
    1. Overall Outlook: Like the summary, give an even more detailed description of your company; include what you will be selling and why it will succeed.
    2. Research: Show that you have done market research.  Is there a niche in the market and how can you fill it?  Have you tested your business or product out with real customers?  What competition are you up against?
    3. Logistics: Where will the business operate from and how many employees needed? Do you already have the necessary licenses and business insurance?
  5. Finances: Keep detailed records of all financial data surrounding your business.  This can be used for your loan application.
    1. Investments: Keep copies of loan application and acceptance
    2. Budgets: Include start-up and long-term budgets for the company.
    3. Short and Long-Term Plans: Include one and three year plans for profit and loss balance sheets, capital projections, etc.
    4. Cash Flow: Make spreadsheets for month-to-month cash flow. Indicate accountant (if any) and plans to hire a bookkeeper.
  6. Documents: Make sure you always keep a record of every legal document.
    1. Leases/Agreements: Anything you agree to should be recorded, from lease agreements to supplier information.
    2. Licenses: Keep a copy of your business and any other licenses, as well as your business registration.
    3. Contracts: If you have a partner or are working as a franchise you will want to have a copy of the contract on hand.