Step three on the Starting a Business Checklist = writing a business plan. This is another crucial element that many current business owners still do not have. This is like going on a vacation without an itinerary or any idea of what you are going to do. You need a clear picture of what is in store for your business and the resources needed to get you where you want to go.
A well-written business plan is the story of how you will run your business, and almost every lender will require some form of business plan before lending money to a business.
The essential components of a business plan are:
Executive Summary: An overview of the entire plan along with a history of your company
Marketing Analysis: Illustrates your knowledge about the particular industry your business is in and presents general highlights and conclusions of any marketing research data you have collected
Company Description: How all of the different elements of your business fit together
Organization and Management: Your company’s organizational structure; details about the ownership of your company; profiles of your management team; and the qualifications of your key staff
Marketing and Sales Strategies: Your outline to attract and service customers
Service or Product Line: What are you selling/providing?
Funding Request: The amount of funding you will need to start or expand your business
Financials: The critical financial statements to include in your business plan packet
Appendix: Additional supporting information such as: credit history (personal & business), resumes of key managers, product pictures, letters of reference, details of market studies, licenses, permits, or patents, legal documents, copies of leases, building permits, contracts, etc.
Once you have gathered the information for the essential components, you can reformat it to fit a variety of needs (such as expansion, new business, plan for a lender or plan for personal records). Once you know exactly what information you need for your business plan, search for a basic Business Plan template online to assist you in the process. The majority of the information should come from the business owner because what gives a business plan “life” is you telling the story of your dream and how you are going to make it a reality.
–Stephanie Beveridge and Carrie Harris of GymKix