How to Write a Business Plan

There is a wealth of information on the SBA website that can be of great benefit to current and future small business owners.  Each issue of the Gateway eGazette will focus on information available on the SBA website.  This information is free of charge and has been compiled by experts.  If there is a topic of interest to you as a current or prospective small business owner, http://www.sba.gov/ should always be at the top of your search list. 

While current business owners may think they no longer need a business plan, a business plan can be of immense benefit if used properly throughout the life of a business.  Not only should you have a business plan when you apply for a loan, you should have a business plan to set future goals and to plan for contingencies.  The saying, “Those who fail to plan plan to fail,” is perhaps never more true than those who run a business.  The information below came from http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/how-write-business-plan.  More information on writing business plans can be found at http://www.sba.gov/business-plan/1.

 

How to Create a Nine Part Business Plan

A business plan is often a crucial document for entrepreneurs and small business owners and managers.  In addition to helping the business obtain investors or financing, it can also serve as a tool to help managers manage themselves.  The following outline is posted on-line, on an SBA webpage, and may be of use to business owners and lender who work with start-up and existing businesses.

 

Create Your Business Plan

A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.

 

Executive Summary

Your executive summary is a snapshot of your business plan as a whole and touches on your company profile and goals. Read these tips about what to include.

 

Company Description

Your company description provides information on what you do, what differentiates your business from others, and the markets your business serves?

 

Market Analysis

Before launching your business, it is essential for you to research your business industry, market and competitors.

 

Organization & Management

Every business is structured differently. Find out the best organization and management structure for your business.

 

Service or Product Line

What do you sell? How does it benefit your customers? What is the product lifecycle? Get tips on how to tell the story about your product or service.

 

Marketing & Sales

How do you plan to market your business? What is your sales strategy? Read more about how to include this information in your plan.

 

Funding Request

If you are seeking funding for your business, find out about the necessary information you should include in your plan.

 

Financial Projections

If you need funding, providing financial projections to back up your request is critical. Find out what information you need to include in your financial projections for your small business.

 

Appendix

An appendix is optional, but a useful place to include information such as resumes, permits and leases. Find additional information you should include in your appendix.

 

How to Make Your Business Plan Stand Out

What makes your business unique? Determining this could help you stand out from the crowd and give you advantages over your competitors.

 

Do you need help preparing a business plan, or help reviewing it before presenting it to investors or lenders?  The SBA and its resource partners might be of assistance.  The SCORE Association or St. Louis SCORE is an excellent source of counseling.  In addition there are the Small Business & Technology Development Centers of Missouri.  There is also a Women’s Business Center in St. Louis, as well as the Veterans Business Resource Center.  And of course the staff of the SBA’s St. Louis District Office is available to meet or talk about on a number of subjects pertaining to small business management, and can be reached by calling 314-539-6600 or e-mailing stlouis@sba.gov.




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