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The Basics Of How To Run A Successful Business - The Business Plan

Updated on July 31, 2010

Think of putting together a business plan like making a gourmet dinner. The effort it takes to make sure every ingredient is added and given the appropriate amount of time is essential before it could be presented to a guest.

A business plan is not much different. If given the right amount of time and effort, it can be a fine-tasting proposal to your lender. It may even be the difference between getting or being rejected for a loan.

Here is a check list for what should be included in a business plan:

Executive Summary

a) Full outline of the business concept & the subsequent company
b) The business strategy & opportunity
c) The projections & target market
d) The advantages against competition
e) The economics, profitability, & harvest potential
f) The team
g) The offering

The Current Industry & The Company's Products & Services

a) The industry
b) The concept behind the company
c) The services & products
d) Entrance plan & growth strategy

Market Analysis & Research

a) Customers
b) Market trends & size
c) The competitive businesses & edges
d) Estimated total sales & market share
e) Comprehensive market evaluation

The Economics of the Business

a) Operating & gross margins
b) Durability & profit potential
c) Variable, semi-variable, & fixed costs
d) How many months to get to breakeven
e) How many months to get to positive cash flow

Marketing Plan

a) Comprehensive marketing strategy
b) Pricing
c) Sales tactics
d) Warranty & service policies
e) Promo & advertising
f) Distribution

Development & Design Plans

a) Development tasks & status
b) Risks & difficulties
c) New products & improvement
d) Costs
e) Proprietary issues

Manufacturing & Operations Plan

a) Operating cycle
b) Geographical location
c) Improvements & facilities
d) Plans & strategy
e) Legal & regulatory issues

Management Team

a) Organization
b) Key personnel in management
c) Management ownership & compensation
d) Other investors
e) Employment & various agreements, stock & option plans
f) Board of directors
g) Various shareholders, & their rights, & restrictions
h) Professional support advisors & services

Comprehensive Schedule

Critical Risks, Assumptions & Problems

a) Balance sheets & actual income statements
b) Pro forma balance sheets
c) Pro forma income statements
d) Pro forma cash flow analysis
e) Breakeven chart & calculation
f) Cost control
g) Highlights & assumptions

Proposed Corporate Offering

a) Desired financing
b) Offering
c) Capitalization
d) Utilization of funds
e) Investors' return

A Few More Tips

When you get all of this information covered, take a deep breath then look into a few more details to give your business plan that extra polish.

A detail to consider, however minor, is the physical presentation. Make sure that all of your information is tightly bound in a spiral folder, so the lender can easily flip through pages to get information.

You should consider repeating information when it is pertinent to do so. If you are referring to your capacity number, don't make a loan officer flip through and try to find it. Simply cut and paste it from a previous page, and even though it is repeated information, it makes it easier for a loan officer to read.

Continued in The Basics Of How To Run A Successful Business - The Bottom Line

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