In the last lesson, we talked about funding options for a small business. Today, we are going to look at how to create a professional business plan for a small business – your small business.
Creating a business plan is absolutely essential whenever you are ready to launch your own small business. This step is very important to your business success for several reasons. Among which are; banks and prospective investors will require you to show them a good business plan that is solid so they can evaluate the potential success of your business and then decide if they should fund your business.
Business plans usually have three main sections in addition to a cover page, executive summary and a table of contents. It is fine if it takes you many pages to explain some aspects of your business plan but remember that people do not like reading page after page of documents, as much as possible, minimize your business plan wording while still passing your points across.
Let’s look at a few components of a professional business plan that can get you started,
Business plan cover page
This is the page that is solely for identifying your business from other businesses. Things to be included here are your business name, logo, address, contact information, and the names of the principal officers of your business.
Ten pages or less should be enough for a small loan request. Keep in mind if you’re seeking a small business loan that most conventional lenders will accept along with loan application a summary sheet. Three years of income as well as tax records will usually be needed when applying for small loans.
This is the summary of the rest of the plan. Although written last, you should place it first within the business plan. If there is any page investors and banks will most definitely read, it is this page – executive summary! Don’t forget that your business plan is a sales proposal presented to others for investment purposes.
Supporting documents are very important documents in a business plan. Make sure you attach copies to business plans. They are going to prove your points within the business plan on many topics. If you have any professional licenses, include them. Include contracts, CVs, leases or even your company brochures you may have created for your new small business. Promotional materials are always good additional materials.
Definitely these are not all but a few components of an effective business plan. A lot of factors may be considered and this can be an arduous task, but it cannot be avoided if you want to obtain funding for your business from outside. As with anything, you will need to do your research and learn all you can about constructing a solid business plan before you start.
No doubt, crafting an effective business plan can be very stressful and time consuming. In case you don’t feel confident enough in your skills to the actual plan by yourself, you can hire a professional to construct for you your business plan. This can be a big expense, so beware. But in the long run, it often pays for itself.
Remember the business plan will be presented to possible lenders and investors, therefore it should be written well if you want to successfully secure funding for your business.
The next lesson is going to about tax for a small business. Watch out for it!
I hope you are enjoying this series and are learning a lot from it.
I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know what you think. I also welcome your questions and suggestions.