March 31, 2015

10 Steps to Preparing a Business Plan

Diane Sears | 3/2/2009

Resources

U.S. Small Business Administration
sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner

Florida Small Business Development Centers
floridasbdc.org

1 Use a printed 8 1/2” x 11” format. Use a loose-leaf binder to package the plan and to facilitate any revisions.

2 Begin with a cover sheet that includes the name, location and telephone number of the business and the name of the person who wrote the business plan.

3 Keep it short and crisp without compromising the description of the venture. Include a one- or two-page executive summary with an overview of the most important issues in the plan.

4 Organize it with a table of contents.

5 Identify a target market in the plan. Indicate whether the market is growing, steady or shrinking. Provide extensive details about competitors, including their strengths, weaknesses, estimated market share and other details. Include your pricing strategy. Finally, explain how you plan to promote the business.

6 Explain the benefits of your product or service to the user or customer. Include information about your business’s location, current and future space requirements and area demographics.

7 Show that you have an effective management team. Detail the backgrounds of executives, their qualifications and the need for additional management talent.

8 Focus on the future. Attempt to develop forecasts of industry trends over the next three to five years.

9 Highlight current and potential problems and demonstrate how they will be overcome.

10 Develop a financial plan that includes a capital equipment list, a balance sheet, income statements for three years (or pro-forma income projections for a new business), cash flow statements, break-even analysis and loan applications.



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