SCORE Small Business Blog

Strategy: A Business Plan Today Will Generate Profits Tomorrow
6 Comments

A business plan is an essential management and operating tool for using your time, capital and energy the most effective way. This plan of action for building a successful small business examines the environment in which you expect your business to operate including potential problems, cyclical trends and growth opportunities.

If you plan to get financing, most lenders will require a business plan as part of the loan application. Putting your business objectives in writing as you build a business plan also forces you to think realistically about sales, expenses, short and long term goals. The more specific your goals are the better.

Make sure that the plan is easy to read, clear and can convince family, friends bankers and investors to give you a loan. A formal professional document is essential.

A complete business plan should identify: target customers and you plan to attract them; approaches to differentiating your products and services from competitors; sales and promotions; financial projections and a much more. Ideally, it will show anyone who sees it that you have done your research and understand the industry.

Every business plan starts with a cover page containing your contact information, which is vital to loan officers and other financial backers. The sections that follow include:

  • Table of contents
  • Executive summary: this is page number 1 and explains the overview of the business objectives and goals.
  • Business Description and strategy: describes the business and how it will grow and profit.
  • Services and Products: describes in detail what you are selling, what is unique and what are the benefits to the customer.
  • The competition; identify your direct and indirect competitors.
  • The market: Who are your customers and are there enough to sustain the business. What are your competitive advantages?
  • Promotion and Marketing Strategy: How will you sell your products or services? How will you attract customers to do business with you, keep them coming back and continue to grow the business.
  • The management: Who will run the company and what are their credentials. What industry expertise do they have? Include resumes.
  • Financial information and projections: Show how much cash your business will need. Include the start up costs, monthly expenses, projected sales and that you can pay back the loan with your cash flow projections.
  • Appendix: supporting documents

The business plan is the most important document for any business as it describes what you are selling and how you are selling it. A business plan benefits both start up and established businesses that need to look at their goals and strategies. Make planning an ongoing effort.

Julie BranderBusiness Mentor, SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business.
www.scorenewhaven.com | @juliebrander | More from Julie

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Discussion (6) Comment

  1. I must agree with all your points. having a business plan will serve as your compass in any business decisions you would be making.


  2. umarVisitor

    Its truly wonderful. May Allah bless you with guidance, every single day.


  3. JuneVisitor

    Your business plan outline makes the idea of starting a business plan less overwhelming and more simplified. I have lots of great ideas. I can’t seem to decide what direction will be the most fun and profitable. Presently, I am a jewelry designer and have had the first and somewhat successful home show. I am an artist and I also enjoy painting and ceramics and other crafts.
    Should I talk to someone at Score even though I don’t have a definite plan? I would love to be that successful enterprising woman I have often read about. Thanks, June


  4. ShaminaVisitor

    Julie,
    Thanks for the outline of the business plan, each component looks doable, not as intense. I am motivated to start part by part until it is finished.


  5. Julie BranderAuthor

    Connie
    You are very welcome
    good luck in everything that you do


  6. Connie KillebrewVisitor

    Thank you so very much for the Business Plan to generate profits. I found it to be informational, as well as inspirational. Each morning when I get up, I begin each new day with the Woman Blog information. It surely is daily inspired motivation
    thanks again

    Connie

 

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