Business Plan Checklist

Business plans are written in sections, each offering new and vital information. By following this outline, you will have a framework with all the sections you will need to complete a basic business plan.
For more information on the basics of building your business plan, visit the Small Business Administration at sba.gov.

1. Executive Summary


MUST INCLUDE:
The type of company you want to start.
The legal structure of the company.
The product or service you will offer and how it is different from the competition.
The size of your customer base and how much you plan to charge them.
The management team and their qualifications.
The amount of money you need, why you need it and when you need it.
The return on investment and when you believe you will see a profit.

2. Company and Product Overview


MUST INCLUDE:
Sales history, profits and other related information.
An honest list of challenges you've faced and overcome.
Demonstration of industry knowledge.
Your contacts and relationships with distributors, competitors, retailers and others in the industry.
Features and benefits of your product or service.
Clear chart of your product development.

3. Market Analysis


MUST INCLUDE:
The number of potential customers and what they are willing to pay.
Your direct and indirect competitors, and how your product or service is different. Also discuss governmental regulations and other laws that may come into play.
Your marketing strategy: How you plan to distribute, advertise, promote, price and sell your product or service.
Your market research. What have you done to learn about the market?
Your projections on sales growth, market share and amount of customer sales.

4. Marketing & Sales Plan


MUST INCLUDE:
Your price and why you chose it. Also, outline the effect of price changes on expected profits, and document the costs of making the product.
A description of your distribution system and how your methods will contribute to your success.
A description of your advertising, sales and distribution strategies and marketing budget.

5. Operations


MUST INCLUDE:
Summary of your pre-market and product development activities.
A clear description of your manufacturing processes. Demonstrate that you understand manufacturing techniques, plant operations, the equipment used, the materials needed and the labor required.
Production rates and any constraints on production.
Your product maintenance and customer support efforts. Also, document the resources required to provide that support.

6. Management Team


MUST INCLUDE:
Examples of your management team's related experience: Discuss the team's talents and skills, backgrounds and educations. The team can include investors and board members, key employees, advisors and strategic partners.
An organization chart of the staff.
A description of your hiring process and human resources policies.

7. Financials


MUST INCLUDE:
A summary of the assumptions that explain your financial projections.
Three to five years of income statements.*
Detailed cash flow statements for the first two years.*
A current balance sheet.*
Projected year-end balance sheets for two years.
A break-even analysis to show how much you need to make in sales to break even at any given time.
Finance comparisons between your projections and those of existing businesses within your field.
An estimate of the funds you require, including all start-up costs and fixed and variable expenses.
*Only for companies already in business.

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Reader Comments


Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 11:45 PM
BIZCOACH says:
EXCELLANT SUMMARY. CLEAR & CONCISE.

THERE ARE SOME GREAT BUSINESS PLANNING SERVICES & SOFTWARE AVAILABLE THESE DAYS.

A WELL DONE BIZ PLAN CAN REALLY ASSIST IN BUILDING BUSINESS CREDIT FOR START-UPS, OR FOR EXISTING BUSINESSES.

WHETHER IT'S YOUR FIRST BIZ PLAN, OR A PERIODIC REVISION TO ASSIST WITH 'COURSE CORRECTION' OR EXPANSION, IT'S OF TREMENDOUS IMPORTANCE TO DO A THOROUGH JOB.

IT'S REALLY A GOOD IDEA TO DO THIS YOURSELF, AT LEAST ONCE (EVEN IF YOU GET ASSISTANCE WITH IT, FROM SOFTWARE OR SERVICES).

AN EXPERIENCED BUSINESS COACH CAN REALLY BE AN ASSET AT THIS STAGE OF THE GAME.

WITH PROPER BUSINESS STRUCTURE & PLANNING, & APPROPRIATE PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE, IT'S NOT UNREALISTIC TO BE ABLE TO BUILD UP TO A COUPLE OF HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF BUSINESS CREDIT IN A JUST A COUPLE OF YEARS.

MOST FOLKS FEEL THAT BUILDING THEIR BUSINESS PLAN, ALONE OR WITH ASSISTANCE, IS ONE OF THEIR MOST VALUED BUSINESS EXPERIENCES.

CONSULTING WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS 'BEEN THERE-DONE THAT' CAN OFTEN BE VERY HELPFUL.

BIZCOACH
bizsupportgroup@inbox.com

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