Business plans can be a great tool for all businesses- for both those starting out and existing businesses focused on growth. A business plan can be used not only for funding purposes but also as an evolving, organized document which presents your business’ story. This is a great tool for both internal strategy purposes as well as external fundraising purposes.
Ultimately, this story presents the overarching mission of the business as it explains the business’ past existence, its present operations, and its future plans and goals as a company. This plan can then act as a foundation for the company’s strategic plan and work plan, all of which plan significant and measurable roles in the company’s marketing and financial plans. In essence, it all starts with the business plan. Generally, the following items are included in most business plans.
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Products and Services
- Marketing Plan
- Operational Plan
- Management & Organization
- Startup Expenses & Capitalization
- Financial Plan
Businesses can utilize both free and subscription-based systems as templates as you start to write the business plan. Free templates which I utilize include both SCORE’s and the SBA’s business plans. Both organizations provide a variety of word templates, allowing the writer to choose the most applicable version.
The Indiana Small Business Development Center is another organization which can provide advisory services for not only business plans but includes a number the formation tactics as you start and grow your small business. Additionally, LivePlan is an entrepreneur specific subscription-based business plan writing tool, which helps create business plans in a step-by-step process. Its ease of use and traceability, especially if you are starting from scratch with your financials, are the primary benefits with this plan. Specifically, the plan has built-in formulas to project cash flows, delivering a workable financial plan which your business can measure and build upon for strategic planning purposes.
For more information or to discuss business plans as you are getting started, contact me. I would love to listen to your concerns, provide templates to help you get started, offer feedback and revisions on drafts, and help in any way.