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    9 Replies Latest reply on May 11, 2009 9:26 PM by phanio

    Business Plan

    DIVE_DIRECT Newbie

      I need help on how to format a business plan.
        • Re: Business Plan
          BizOptimizer Adventurer
          Word has a template - there are many sites online that have examples. And you can always get help from SCORE or SBDC (small business development center). Both you can find online.

          SCORE has volunteers to help - SBDC have paid consultants - usually associated with a college or university.

          Good luck
          • Re: Business Plan

            In general, at their simplest, Business Plans should consist of the following:


            Executive Summary
            Market Opportunity
            Vision, Mission, & Objectives
            Business Strategy
            Financial Plan/Capital Requirements


            How complex and comprehensive your plan should be depends on what you plan to use it for. This generally falls into 3 categories:


            1. Internal Planning (to form the business)

            2. Internal Planning and presentation to close contacts that might want to invest in the business.

            3. Internal Planning, close contacts presentation and presentation to experienced investors and/or sources of funding for the business.


            Business plans can range from 10 pages to 50+. Simpler business plans (really more of an extended Executive Summary) are usually 10 pages or so and would primarily be used for internal planning purposes. These type plans are less complex. Plans for presentation to personal funding sources or investor-ready business plans designed for professional investor presentation are longer and much more comprehensive (they have to be to cover all of the aspects of your business that an investor or funding source is going to want to know about).


            You can search within this online community for "business plan" "start-up" etc. and find many postings, some from experienced business professionals, that might be useful to you as well.


            Here's a few tips for you that will be of help to develop a strong business plan:


            The 5 Most Important Things Your Business Plan Should Contain (that investors want to read about)


            1) That The Company Has Focus


            The company has clearly defined its business and can state it in a single strong sentence that says it all. Yes, your plan probably will have a more expansive description in its executive summary but you need to open your plan with that one simple declaration to show the clarity of your vision for the business.


            2) That The Market Has Potential


            The company has a large existing market for its products and services. If your company does not have significant growth potential then it is probably not going to be of interest to many equity investors. If you are shooting for debt based capital that may not matter most to them (market stability would be though so keep that in mind if your plan is geared towards raising debt based capital); but to an equity investor growth is of paramount importance and the size of the market signifies the opportunity potential.


            3) That The Company Has Specific Solutions For Their Market


            The company has identified what its customers most need and has created a value proposition for them to make it a simple "buy" decision. If there is nothing unique or distinct about your company's products/services then you do not have a defensible position in your market. Defensibility of your market position is of key importance to investors and funding sources.


            4) That Customer's Show A Readiness & Willingness To Buy From The Company


            In an ideal situation, the company's customers have a recurring need for their products and/or services, with a reasonable sales-cycle and opportunities for premium up sell of additional products & services. If you don't have customers ready and willing to buy now ... then that does not bode well for interest from most investors and funding sources. If your market is a long-term development type of proposition then your company will need to prove that it is truly a disruptive business model that will have people flock to it once it is functional. Its not so much "if you build it will they come" but rather "if you build it will they buy?"


            5) That The Company's Dynamics Are Strong


            What are the main dynamics of a company? Simply put it is two components: a sellable product/service and a management team that can run the business well. Investors and funding sources want to know that the company has created unique solutions superior to their competition. And that the management team consists of smart people able to deliver products/services to their customers, control expenses and make a profit ... repeatedly.


            If you create your business plan to address the above; then you are ahead of what most people end up with in their business plan. Weaknesses (dilution) caused by putting too much of the wrong content and not enough of what matters most, kills interest in a company's plan. It's the answers to these 5 important aspects that investors and funding sources find most interesting. How well you answer them will affect the outcome of your search for capital.


            I hope the above helps; good luck with your business plan.


            Dennis Lowery
            Adducent, Inc.
            • Re: Business Plan
              LUCKIEST Guide
              Business Plan

              How can we help you if you do not share any info.

              Go to Members page and share some info.

              • These steps are what is necessary
                DeanMalibu Adventurer
                These important steps wil help you tremendously....
                These are from the people judged as the Best Business plans in the industry..

                remember these steps....also do not write fluff
                write what you want your customers to hear about you
                and write in detail how you will adress their needs & what they are, the investor needs proof as well...what research did "YOU" do...not what somebody else's research shows.

                hope this helps...I also have copies of this years winning business plans
                • Re: Business Plan
                  Yakimova Adventurer
                  For my business plan I used a very helpful and easy to use software called Business Plan Pro 11.0. The basic version costs $99 and it's extremely effortless to use. I was able to put together my business plan in just a few days.

                  I wrote the business plan for my personal use since I'm not planning to apply for business loans. My plan has 18 pages and many charts and statistics, but again, it's for personal use only. If I had to use it to apply for loans I would've spent more time, 1-2 months at least, to gather more information pertaining to my competitors and the industry in general.

                  Technically I didn't need to write a business plan, but it's good to have it and once you get it done you feel very good about yourself. It's a small accomplishment, but it's an accomplishment never the less.

                  Best of luck!


                  Outcast Girls Design Group
                  • Re: Business Plan
                    DaVinci Wayfarer
                    I have the greatest B/P in the all world.I need some one who can revise my B/P
                    • Re: Business Plan
                      phanio Pioneer
                      You can search for free sample business plans and templates from You can also find a local SBDC in your area and they will not only help with the structure of your plan but with the research as well.

                      Business Money Today