A good business plan can help you secure finance, define the direction of your business and create strategies to achieve your goals. Writing a business plan is one of the most crucial elements of starting a business. However, it does not have to be the most frustrating.
Business/Industry Overview contains an overview of the industry and how your business will compete in the sector. Describe the overall nature of the industry, including sales and other statistics. Include trends and demographic, economic, cultural, and governmental influences. Describe your business and how it fits into the industry. Describe the existing competition. Describe what area(s) of the market you will target and what unique, improved or lower cost services you will offer.
Any funder worth his or her salt wants to see it right off the bat. Moreover though, a solid business plan is a living document that will continue to guide your efforts as your business grows. A lot of those mistakes (most of them, in fact) are the result of poor planning. Bad location, a marginal niche, having no specific user in mind, raising too much or too little money--all of these issues can be prevented or at least mitigated with good planning.
Financial Plan. The financial plan section is the most important section of the business plan, especially if you need debt financing or wish to attract investors. The financial plan has to demonstrate that your business will grow and be profitable. To do this you will need to create projected income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. For a new business, these are forecasts, and a good rule of thumb is to underestimate revenues and overestimate expenses.
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