How to Write a Great Business Plan

Reading the entire text of this document is the first step in preparing your great business plan.

There are two basic reasons for preparing an extensive business plan. First, it requires the entrepreneur to thoroughly investigate the factors that will have a bearing on the success of the business. Second, preparing a great business plan will enhance the ability of the entrepreneur to secure financing by providing an organized overview of the venture for lenders and investors. It also provides insight into the entrepreneur’s ability to define and develop strategies for critical areas of the business.

The following outline has been prepared to help the entrepreneur assemble the facts that are essential to good business planning and to develop a great business plan. Complete your business plan using the accompanying outline to ensure that the necessary details are included. Keep in mind that thoroughness, clarity, and rationality of the plan are all factors that will play key roles in successfully financing, starting, and operating your business.

Because these guidelines were written to cover a variety of possible businesses, rigid adherence to them is not possible or even desirable for all businesses. Not all parts of all sections will be necessary for each individual’s business plan. By using this tutorial, however, you will produce a great business plan for your business.

Table of Contents

  1. THE INDUSTRY, THE COMPANY, AND ITS PRODUCTS
    1. The Industry
    2. The Company
    3. The Product or Service
  2. MARKET RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
    1. Customers
    2. Market Size and Trends
    3. Competition
    4. Market Share and Sales
  3. MARKETING PLAN
    1. Overall Market Strategy
    2. Pricing
    3. Sales Tactics
    4. Advertising and Promotion
  4. OPERATING PLAN
    1. Location
    2. Facilities and Improvements
    3. Strategy and Plans
    4. Labor Force
  5. MANAGEMENT TEAM
    1. Organization
    2. Key Personnel
    3. Management Compensation and Ownership
    4. Board of Directors
  6. THE FINANCIAL PLAN
    1. Sources and Uses of Funds
    2. Pro Forma Cash Flow Analysis
    3. Profit and Loss Forecasts
    4. Pro Forma Balance Sheets

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