Five Crucial Components of a Business Plan

The format of a Business Plan is something that has been developed and refined over the years and is something that should not be changed. Like a good recipe, a business plan needs to include certain ingredients to make it work.

When you create a business plan, don't attempt to recreate its format. Those reviewing this type of document have expectations you must meet. If they do not see those crucial decision-making components, they'll see no reason to proceed with their review of your business plan, no matter how great your business idea.

Executive Summary Section

Every business plan must begin with an Executive Summary section. A well-written Executive Summary is critical to the success of the rest of the document. Here is where you need to capture the attention of your audience so that they will be compelled to read on. Remember, it's a summary, so each and every word must be carefully selected and presented.

Use the Executive Summary section of your business plan to accurately describe the nature of your business venture including the need that you plan to fill. Show the reasons why people need your product or service. Show this by including a brief analysis of the characteristics of your potential market.

Describe the organization of your business including your management team. Also, briefly describe your sales and marketing plan or approach. Finally include the numbers that those reviewing your business plan want to see ? the amount of capital you seek, the carefully calculated sales projections and your plan to repay the loan.

If you've captured your audience so far they'll read on. Otherwise, they'll close the document and add your business plan to the heap of other rejected ideas.

Devote the balance of your business plan to providing details of the items outlined in the Executive Summary.

The Business Section

Be sure to include the legal name, physical address and detailed description of the nature of your business. It's important to keep the description easy to read using common terminology. Never assume that those reading your business plan have the same level of technical knowledge that you do. Describe how you plan to better serve your market than your competition is currently doing.

Market Analysis Section

An analysis of the market shows that you have done your homework. This section is basically a summary of your Marketing Plan. It needs to show the demand for your product or service, the proposed market, trends within the industry, a description of your pricing plan and packaging and a description of your company policies.

Financing Section

The Financing section must show that you are as committed to your business venture as you expect those reading your business plan to be. Show the amount of personal funds you are contributing and their source. Also include the amount of capital you need and your plan to repay this debt. Include all pertinent financial worksheets in this section: annual income projections, a break-even worksheet, projected cash flow statements and a balance sheet.

Management Section

Outline your organizational structure and management team here. Include the legal structure of your business whether it is a partnership, corporation or limited liability corporation. Include resumes and biographies of key players on your management team. Show staffing projection data for the next few years.

By now you're probably thinking that you don't need Business Plan just yet. Well you do, and there is business plan building software that can help you through this immense project. These software packages are easy to use and affordable. Use one today and produce a professional-quality Business Plan ? including all critical components ? tomorrow!

Copyright © 2004 Cavyl Stewart. Get more software tips, strategies and recommendations to help you create your business plan by signing up for my Exclusive 100% free, 100% original content ecourse: "How To Failure-Proof Your Business Instantly." To sign up please visit: http://www.find-small-busine ss-software.com/bizplan-ecourse.html

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