Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Do a Business Plan Outline

If you’re planning to start a business, remember that writing a business plan is an essential part of the process. Don’t believe the myth that business plans are only for businesses looking to secure funding; a business plan is more than that. It sets the foundation for your business and helps entrepreneurs determine what their business is, appropriate ways to market it, funding sources, day-to-day operations and more. If you’re not ready to write a full business plan, start with a basic written outline that can guide you through the process.


    • 1
      Begin to brainstorm about your business. Use a computer or note pad and pen to jot down ideas. Think about the purpose of your business, what you plan to sell, how you’d like to serve your target audience and how you want your business to be recognized in the eyes your clients. Create a bold heading that reads, “Business Description.” Sub-sections may include “mission statement,” “competitors” and “operations.”
    • 2
      Come up with a brief business description and your mission statement. The business description should cover your business name, business history and a list of products and/or services and their pricing. The mission statement should represent the core ideals of the business. Make a quick list of your top competitors and how you differ from each one. Decide how you will operate your business and consider any human resources you may need to make this possible. Include these details under the “operations” heading. The location of your business and any equipment you will need to run your business efficiently can go in this section as well. You may also include hours of operation and how you will interact with your customer.
    • 3
      Create a bold heading that reads, “Marketing, Promotions and Public Relations. ” In this section, briefly list ways that you plan to market and promote your business. For example, you may list ideas such as, purchase business cards, create a logo, purchase print magazine advertising space or write and distribute a press release. Be as detailed as possible.
    • 4
      Make a heading that reads, “Financial Considerations.” Consider your start-up expenses. List the things you need for your first day of business and attach a cost to each. You can include things like rent, equipment purchase and rental costs, business license expenses and any initial product inventory you need to start, if applicable to your business. List your projected sales and sales goals for at least the next 3-6 months. If you are receiving funding, you may also want to list who is providing the funds and how much they plan to contribute. You may find it easy to use a spreadsheet program, like Excel, for this portion.

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