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How to write a business plan

Business Planning

The Business Plan

I can recall our advisors when we started our business telling me. Write a  business plan. My answer was kind of vague and nondescript. After all I wanted to get going, who the heck has time to put together a business plan. It became clear very quickly during an interview with the counselors after questions like:
Who is your target market?
How are you going to reach it?
What is the competition like?
Do you have sufficient funds to last during a downturn?

It made me realize I would need a business plan for more reasons than just the bank or the government or other financiers, I needed it for me.

Once you have your business plan, it is really simple because all you need do now is to execute it.

Canada Business Services offers a fairly unique tool called an Interactive Business Planner. It is an Internet based tool designed to come up with your business plan. It is available here.

Elements of a Business Plan - General

Please note that every business should have  unique business plan tailored to their industry.

1. Cover sheet
2. Statement of purpose ( often an executive summary)
3. Table of contents

               I. The Business
               A. Description of business
               B. Marketing
               C. Competition
               D. Operating procedures
               E. Personnel
               F. Business insurance

               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 
          III. Supporting Documents 
               Tax returns of principals for last three years Personal financial
statement (all banks have these forms) For franchised businesses, 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
With a search on the Internet, you will be able to view examples of many business plans including ones tailored to your  industry.