A comprehensive, totally defined Business Plan could mean the difference between success and failure. You start with an idea and a name. That idea must be expanded into a workable Business Plan encompassing all aspects of your operation, and the name should be a simple reflection of what type business it is. With a solid Business Plan you know every detail from start-up costs, managing daily expenses and operations to a future strategy for projected growth. The "Plan" will prove your ability for success, thereby instilling confidence in you and a sense of security to investors or moneylenders in funding your business.

The "Plan", in short, concise paragraphs or outline form explains the full extent of your business. If you choose the outline form, each major heading should have a basic explanation under it. Keep the "Plan" simple and to the point of the business.

The major headings to be defined in the "Plan" are:

  1. Mission Statement (goals and objectives of your business);
  2. Management and Personnel (profiles and responsibilities of yourself, partner(s) and key personnel);
  3. Merchandise and/or Services (type and price or fee structure);
  4. Customer Base (demographics and lifestyle of your customer);
  5. Location and Hours of Operation (determined by the needs of your Customer Base);
  6. Start-up Cost (initial merchandise or supplies, lease, finish-out, furniture, fixtures, equipment, etc.);
  7. Monthly Budget (inventory, parts, supplies, salaries, insurance, taxes, rent utilities, maintenance, security, advertising/marketing, etc.);
  8. Employees (structure of staffing, training, pay scale, workers comp, medical, etc.);
  9. Operations (how business is managed on a daily basis);
  10. Advertising/Marketing (specific campaigns for opening, on going and future);
  11. Competition (analysis and strategy to surpass them);
  12. Financial Data (balance sheet, profit-and-loss statement, break-even chart and cash flow analysis);
  13. Future Projections (growth and expansion);
  14. Return on Investment (what investors will receive, based on cash flow chart);
  15. Visual Aids (charts and graphs, used only when necessary, assist in a quick, overall picture of your business).

With your finished Business Plan in hand, you now have the total understanding and knowledge to proceed, detail by detail, in establishing your business.

To help you with your "Business Plan", SCORE, A Resource Partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers free, confidential one-on-one business counseling with experienced executives plus a day long monthly Workshop for a nominal fee. For the office nearest you, call SCORE at (214) 987-9491.

Every Business Needs A "Plan"