Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

The Business Plan

Back in the Getting Started section of the Contracting Checklist (Part 1) I told you to write a Business Plan.  Previous to that, I’d explained in some detail “why” you needed to write the Business Plan.  Thinking back through that sequence of events, it occurs to me that I directed you to perform a task without giving you enough background on what, when, where or how I wanted you to do that work.  I simply started the Contracting Checklist off by directing you to write a Business Plan! 

This is an excellent place to insert the 5 “Ws” and the How.  We will now pick up form that point and drill down a bit deeper.

• Who:  you, of course
• What:  write a Business Plan
• When:  at the beginning stages of formulating your business and update it throughout as the plan will change over time, as will your business
• Where:  keep it out in the open and refer to it often
• Why:  most seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you that by far the most value in writing a Business Plan is the though process behind it.  Writing a Business Plan forces you to see and think about all the holes in your plan and your business.  PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN!
• How:  using one of the formats/outlines below;
                                  Outline of a Business Plan
Cover Sheet:  Name of business
                         Name of principals
                         Address and phone numbers (contact information)

Statement of Purpose:

Table of Contents:

Section One:  The Business

A. Business description
B. Product/service
C. Market (demographics and psychographics)
D. Location
E. Competition (strengths and weaknesses)
F. Management
G. Personnel
H. Funding (if needed)
I. Summary

Section Two:  Financial Data

A. Sources and use of funding
B. Capital equipment list
C. Financial statement assumptions
D. Balance sheet
E. Break-even analysis
F. Income projections (profit & loss statements)
        1.  3 year summary
        2.  Detail monthly first year
        3.  Detail quarterly years 2 and
G. Cash flow projections
        1.  3 year summary
        2.  Detail monthly first year
        3.  Detail quarterly years 2 and 3

H. Deviation analysis
I. Historical financial reports for existing business
        1.  Balance sheets for past 3 years
        2.  Cash flow for past 3 years
        3.  Income statements for past 3 years
        4.  Tax returns for past 3 years

Section Three: Supporting Documents
Personal resume, personal balance sheets, cost of living budget, 
credit reports, letters of reference, job descriptions, letters of intent, copies of leases, contracts, legal documents, and any additional
relevant information. 
                                           – OR –
                               Business Plan Outline

1. Executive Summary

2. Company Summary

a. Name 
b. Mission Statement/Objectives
c. Ownership 
d. Locations/Facilities 
e. Past-Present-Future Performance/ Development Stages
f. Products / Services 
g. Keys to Success 

3. Products/ Services
 
a. Description 
b. Manufacturing/ Production Plan
c. Supply / Distribution
d. Equipment and Technology
e. Research and Development
f. Quality Control

4. Competition

a. Identify
b. Competitive Comparison
c. Determine Competitive Advantage
d. Future Competition

5. Markets

a. Market Segmentation
b. Industry Analysis
i. Industry Characteristics
ii. Supply & Distribution
iii. Financial Patterns & Buying Patterns
iv. Vulnerability to Economic Factors
v. Regulatory Issues
c. Market Analysis

6. Strategy & Implementation

a. Marketing Strategy
i. Target Markets & Market Segments
ii. Marketing Plan
iii. Pricing Strategy
iv. Promotional Strategy
v. Distribution Strategy

b. Sales Strategy
i. Sales Force
ii. Sales Programs
iii. Sales Forecast
c. Strategic Alliances
d. Service & Support

7. Management

a. Organizational Structure
b. Management Team
c. Management Objectives & Style
d. Personnel Plan
e. Consultants/Specialists
f. Management to Be Added

8. Development & Exit Plans

a. Long Term Goals
b. Growth Strategy
c. Milestones
d. Risk Evaluation
e. Exit Plan

9. Financials

a. Determine Capital Needs
b. Key Financial Indicators
c. Projected Income Statement
d. Projected Cash Flows
e. Projected Balance Sheet
f. Break Even Analysis
g. Important Assumptions
h. Business Ratios
i. Sources and Uses of Funds

10. Appendix

a. Forms
b. Endorsements
c. Testimonials
d. Contracts

If neither of the two outlines appeal to you, perhaps you’d like to go to the link below from MasterCard.  This is a great link and it provides detailed information and explanations of various business tools.

http://www.mastercard.com/us/business/en/smallbiz/businessplanning/businessplanning.html

You can also get FREE help with your Business and Marketing Plans at your local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).

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