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Busines Plan

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Use the outline below as a guide. Also see Outside Business Plan Resources at the bottom of the page.

Elements of a Business Plan

o 1. Cover sheet

o 2. Statement of purpose

o 3. Table of contents

o I. The Business

 A. Description of business

 B. Marketing

 C. Competition

 D. Operating procedures

 E. Personnel

 F. Business insurance

 G. Financial data

o II. Financial Data

 A. Loan applications

 B. Capital equipment and supply list

 C. Balance sheet

 D. Breakeven analysis

 E. Pro-forma income projections (profit & loss statements)

 Three-year summary

 Detail by month, first year

 Detail by quarters, second and third years

 Assumptions upon which projections were based

 F. Pro-forma cash flow

 Follow guidelines for letter E.

o III. Supporting Documents

 Tax returns of principals for last three years

 Personal financial statement (all banks have these forms)

 In the case of a franchised business, a copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor

 Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space

 Copy of licenses and other legal documents

 Copy of resumes of all principals

 Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.


What goes in a business plan? This is an excellent question. And, it is one that many new and potential small business owners should ask, but oftentimes don't ask. The body of the business plan can be divided into four distinct sections: 1) the description of the business, 2) the marketing plan, 3) the financial management plan and 4) the management plan. Addenda to the business plan should include the executive summary, supporting documents and financial projections.


In this section, provide a detailed description of your business. An excellent question to ask yourself is: "What business am I in?" In answering this question include your products, market and services as well as a thorough description of what makes your business unique. Remember, however, that as you develop your business plan, you may have to modify or revise your initial questions.

The business description section is divided into three primary sections. Section 1 actually describes your business, Section 2 the product or service you will be offering and Section 3 the location of your business, and why this location is desirable (if you have a franchise, some franchisors assist in site selection).

o 1. Business Description

When describing your business, generally you should explain:

o 1. Legalities - business form: proprietorship, partnership, corporation. The licenses or permits you will need.

o 2. Business type: merchandizing, manufacturing or service.

o 3. What your product or service is.

o 4. Is it a new independent business, a takeover, an expansion, a franchise?

o 5. Why your business will be profitable. What are the growth opportunities? Will franchising impact on growth opportunities?

o 6. When your business will be open (days, hours)?

o 7. What you have learned about your kind of business from outside sources (trade suppliers, bankers, other franchise owners, franchisor, publications).

A cover sheet goes before the description. It includes the name, address and telephone number of the business and the names of all principals. In the description of your business, describe the unique aspects and how or why they will appeal to consumers. Emphasize any special features that you feel will appeal to customers and explain how and why these features are appealing.

The description of your business should clearly identify goals and objectives and it should clarify why you are, or why you want to be, in business.

THE BUSINESS PLAN - 2. Product/Service

Try to describe the benefits of your goods and services from your customers' perspective. Successful business owners know or at least have an idea of what their customers want or expect from them. This type of anticipation can be helpful in building customer satisfaction and loyalty. And, it certainly is a good strategy for beating the competition or retaining your competitiveness. Describe:

o 1. What you are selling.

o 2. How your product or service will benefit the customer.

o 3. Which products/services are in demand; if there will be a steady flow of cash.

o 4. What is different about the product or service your business is offering.



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