What is a business plan?
A business plan is a written document describing the business you want to start, what you want to do with it and how it will become profitable as you do it. It sets out your purposes and goals and it is intended to create a foundation from which to build your business.
Why do I need a business plan?
The act of sitting down to write a plan forces your mind to be objective rather than your pie in the sky vision. When you take the time to consider the financial picture, market projections, and what it would seriously take to reach your goals, a more rational picture emerges. This is what the investors want to see. It also serves as a realistic road map from whence to start your journey into the world of business ownership.
Do I still need a business plan if I don't need financing?
While business plans are important to convince investors that their venture is worth investing in, it can also be used, regardless of your financial situation, as an all-important road map that can guide you through the startup process and beyond to make sure you reach your business goals.
Should I write my own or should I hire a financial expert?
Creating a robust, professional business plan is truly a team effort. Anyone can create a business plan, but not everyone is qualified to create the financial analysis portion of the plan. This is where teamwork comes in. While the new or existing business owner provide the company's history and background information and a well thought-out list of goals, only someone with the knowledge of a trained CPA can accurately and professionally prepare the financial reports that are a huge part of any business plan. This stands as one of the most important reasons for seeking profession assistance, especially if you need outside funding.
How long should my plan be?
You should keep your business plan short by learning how to summarize. You want who ever looks at your plan to see it as a quick and easy-to-read document. You don't want people being overwhelmed by either the page number or your selected format. You can probably relay all of the pertinent information within 25 to 40 pages.
How do I know what my financing needs will be?
While the seasoned business owner will have existing financial records to hand over for analysis, the new entrepreneur will not. A trained professional will know how to create the financial portion of the business plan for a company just starting out. Finding industry comparibles then analyzing them accurately is necessary for correct projections to be made. A valuations or CPA-trained analyst can easily find this data for you and analyze it properly.
What elements do business plans include?
A well-thought out business plan include a cover page, table of contents and an executive summary. The body of the plan that includes: background and purpose, market analysis, product or service development, marketing, financial data, organizational structure and management, ownership, risk factors, conclusion with summary and appendices.
What is the most important element of a business plan?
There is no one most important element to a business plan. The overall plan needs to be written to serve it's end use. If you are writing it to secure funding, then an acurate and professional financial analysis is critical. If you are writing your plan to use as a roadmap, then a thorough and complete list of goals and your plan to reach those goals is important.
How can I make my business plan stand out?
First, you have to identify the right target market for your business. Once you have established that, check out your competition. Can you create a niche market in areas currently being ignored by your competitors? Do you see potential opportunities for your business? Make sure you make clear in your business plan what it is that your business has to offer and how you stand out from your competitors. Specializing in niche markets is far better than spreading your business's services far and wide. Your business will grow faster if you offer specialized goods and services that are wanted by a specific group of buyers.
What are your steps in helping me create a business plan?
Once you have decided to retain NBA to help create your business plan, you will fill out our questionnaire and provide us with your financial information. This will help us gather enough information to understand your business, your goals and your financial situation and requirements. From the questionnaire we will prepare an executive summary which includes: the company's description and its strategic direction, it's ownership, management and marketing direction, and a thorough explanation of the company's marketing plan. We will complete the market analysis and use your financial information to create the financial analysis portion of your plan.
How often should I update my business plan?
Having your business plan updated once a year is a good idea. Create an annual plan where you can establish or evaluate business strategy and resource allocation according to strategic priorities. You can plan your growth according to goals set forth. Throughout the year you can guide and track your progress. Revisiting your business plan once a year will help your company stay on track. This type of business plan is commonly used in exit planning.
I have my business plan, now what?
Don't wait until your plan is done to ask this question. Deciding how you will use your business plan is an important part of preparing to write it. Will you use your plan to raise venture capital or get a bank loan? Will you use your plan to attract top-notch employees? Will you use your plan to show potential venders that you will be their valued customer? Deciding ahead of time how you would like to use your business plan will help you in the writing of your plan. Be sure to emphasize the points that are most likely to sell your plan to your targeted reader.
What are some of the ways a business plan can help me?
A written business plan forces you to take an objective look at what you are thinking about or trying to accomplish. It can be looked at as an operational tool that will help you manage your business and work effectively toward its success. The business world can be full of distractions. A well, thought out plan can help you maintain focus and motivate you along the way. And of course there is the financing aspect. A business Plan provides the basis for your financial proposal.