[See Related Story: Business Plan Tools for Startups] Editor's note: If you're looking for information to help you with writing your business plan, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free. This is where you show off what you know about your industry, and in particular, the market your product or service will serve.
Discuss your target market, its size, the distinguishing characteristics of your offering, and how much market share you can capitalize on accordingly. This details how you are going to run your company and conduct day-to-day operations to meet company goals.
Describe the product's life cycle, and any research and development activities for new versions or products. In this section, discuss your overall marketing strategy, including market penetration, growth, channels of distribution and communication.
Your sales strategy includes your sales force and sales activities — what will get your product or service into the hands of the customers your marketing strategy created. Here, you will discuss historical financial data and the prospective financial data developed after you've analyzed the market and set clear objectives for your business.
In the eyes of a banker or venture capitalist - one who may invest his money in your new enterprise - it demonstrates on paper your potential ability to compete in a specific industry.
The form and content of a business plan will vary with each business and with the intended use.As a smaller business, it's often a better strategy to divide your products or services into manageable market niches.Small operations can then offer specialized goods and services that are attractive to a specific group of prospective buyers.Good intentions are only a part of the formula; the rest is knowing: FAQ - Business Plans SBA's Business Plan Tool - step-by step guide to writing a business plan Live Plan - Business planning software offered at a discount through the SBDC Fresh Books - Use Fresh Books to painlessly send invoices, track time and capture expenses.As an SBDC client, you can get an extended 60-day trial.Projections should explain any assumptions you've made in developing the data. If you are planning on using your business plan with financing institutions or investors, your business plan must include a funding request.Discuss your current funding requirement, the requirement over the next five years and how you intend to use the funds. This is not in the main body in your business plan but can contain data that would be of interest to financial backers.It provides a step-by-step guide to help new business owners through the process of creating a basic, downloadable business plan.The great thing about this tool is they can build a plan in smaller bites, save their progress and return at their leisure.It is also helpful in anticipating problems and developing strategies for avoiding or minimizing those problems.Your business plan is a reflection of you and your ability to organize, to think, to manage and to communicate.