How Do You Do A Business Plan? Part 1 of 5
(Series designed to discuss the parts of a business plan, what information is involved in each part, and why a business plan is needed.)
A business plan is actual a technical document, but your first draft does not have to be a technical document. Start with a one page version instead of the larger 40 page type that will probably be your final draft. Don't get caught up on the page numbers. Also, the document will be updated repeatedly so there will never actually be a final copy unless the business ends. Your first business plan draft is actually for your use only. It will probably be something between one and five pages. Just go through the parts and write what comes to mind in each of the sections. The point here is to get as much in writing as possible before you move to the editing phase. Although the executive summary is first, figure on editing it last. Be sure to consider your audience when you start constructing your edited versions. Also figure on constructing an edited business plan version for more than one audience. The audience for the first edited version should be you and the goal is to get the as complete as possible and as technical as possible. The purpose of the next edited version should be to obtain financing so the audience would consist of personnel that represent banks, agencies that award grants, angels or private investors.
This definition of business plan was obtained from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business__plan. It is a direct quote:
- an internal operational plan - a detailed plan describing planning details that are needed by management but may not be of interest to external stakeholders. Such plans have a somewhat higher degree of candor and informality than the version targeted at external stakeholders.
Typical structure for a business plan for a start up venture*
- cover page and table of contents
- executive summary
- business description
- business environment analysis
- industry background
- competitor analysis
- market analysis
- marketing plan
- operations plan
- management summary
- financial plan
- attachments and milestones" (Wikipedia, 2010)
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