Business Plans It is about results http://www.bplans.com/ho/ http://www.sba.gov/starting/indexbusplans.html Planning is a Process Elements Supporting Successful Plan Implementation 1. Is the plan simple, easy to understand and to act on? Does it communicate its contents easily and practically? 2. Is the plan specific? Are its objectives concrete and measurable? Does it include specific actions and dates of completion, specific persons responsible and specific budgets? Elements Supporting Successful Plan Implementation (cont.) 3. Is the plan realistic? Are the sales goals, expense budgets, and milestone dates realistic? Nothing stifles implementation like unrealistic goals. 4. Is the plan complete? Requirements of a business plan vary, depending on the context. There is no guarantee, however, that the plan will work if it doesn't cover the main bases. Use of a Business Plan • Define and fix objectives, and programs to achieve those objectives. • Create regular business review and course correction. • Define a new business. • Support a loan application. • Define agreements between partners. • Set a value on a business for sale or legal purposes. • Evaluate a new product line, promotion, or expansion. No Time to Plan? A Common Misconception “Not enough time for a plan. I can't plan. I'm too busy getting things done.” A business plan now can save time and stress later. Too many businesses make business plans only when they have to. The busier you are, the more you need to plan. Business Plans Don’ts • Don't use a business plan to show how much you know about your business. • Nobody reads a long-winded business plan: not bankers, bosses, nor venture capitalists. Elements of a Business Plan • • • • • • Descriptions of Company Product or Service Market Forecasts Management Team Financial Analysis Sample Business Plan Outline 1. Executive Summary: Write this last. It's just a page or two of highlights. 2. Company Description: Legal establishment, history, start-up plans, etc. 3. Product or Service: Describe what you're selling. Focus on customer benefits. 4. Market Analysis: You need to know your market, customer needs, where they are, how to reach them, etc. Sample Business Plan Outline 5. Strategy and Implementation: Be specific. Include management responsibilities with dates and budget 6. Management Team: backgrounds of key members of the team, personnel strategy and details. 7. Financial Plan: including profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, break-even analysis, assumptions, business ratios, etc. Use of Tables and Charts • Tables and charts present information in visual formats with greater impact that words alone • Some business tables and charts that are normally expected in a standard business plan • Plan should include business charts that use bar charts and pie charts to illustrate cash flow (single most important numerical analysis in a plan), sales forecast, and profit and loss statements, projected balance sheet, projected business ratios, and market analysis Time Frame • Opinions vary - A business plan should normally project sales by month for the next 12 months, and annual sales for the following two years. • This doesn't mean businesses shouldn't plan for a longer term than just three years. It does mean, however, that the detail of monthly forecasts doesn't pay off beyond a year, except in special cases. Description of the Business • Legalities - business form: proprietorship, partnership, corporation. The licenses or permits you will need. • Business type: merchandizing, manufacturing or service. • What your product or service is. • Is it a new independent business, a takeover, an expansion? • Why your business will be profitable. What are the growth opportunities? When your business will be open (days, hours)? • What you have learned about your kind of business from outside sources (trade suppliers, bankers, publications). Product/Service • What you are selling. • How your product or service will benefit the customer. • Which products/services are in demand; if there will be a steady flow of cash. • What is different about the product or service your business is offering. The Location • What are your location needs? • What kind of space will you need? • Why is the area desirable? The building desirable? • Is it easily accessible? Is public transportation available? Is street lighting adequate? • Are market shifts or demographic shifts occurring? The Marketing Plan • • • • • • Who are your customers? Define your target market(s). Are your markets growing? steady? declining? Is your market share growing? steady? declining? If a franchise, how is your market segmented? Are your markets large enough to expand? How will you attract, hold, increase your market share? how will you promote your sales? • What pricing strategy have you devised? The Competition • • • • Who are your five nearest direct competitors? Who are your indirect competitors? How are their businesses: steady? increasing? decreasing? What have you learned from their operations? from their advertising? • What are their strengths and weaknesses? • How does their product or service differ from yours? Pricing and Sales • retail cost and pricing • competitive position • service costs and pricing (for service businesses only) The Management Plan • How does your background/business experience help you in this business? • What are your weaknesses and how can you compensate for them? • Who will be on the management team and what are their strengths/weaknesses and duties? • Are these duties clearly defined? • Will this assistance be ongoing? • What are your current personnel needs and what are your plans for hiring and training personnel? • What salaries, benefits, vacations, holidays will you offer?