Creating a Business Plan 101

One of the primary things any entrepreneur needs when starting up a new business or expanding it is a workable business plan. Whether it is for an entrepreneur’s personal reference in knowing where he is on his projected goals or for the sake of some agency, business partner, or anyone who provides financing for the enterprise, a business plan always undergoes careful scrutiny.

This article covers some of the most basic but necessary parts of a good plan. Moreover, it may help guide entrepreneurs with a vision or a developing plan to formalize, present and even revise an already existing planned strategy. Essentially, a basic business plan covers seven primary areas.

The Overall Plan That Provides Solutions for Specific Problems

You have a plan for a successful business, but until you write it down, chances are it will never get off the drawing board. Keeping the plan in front of your eyes will give you sense that you are behind your ideas, on target with them or they need revising.

In addition, any organization, business partner, or even agency that provides financing wants to know what the business is and how you plan to make it a success.

The Need That Exists for This Business

Is there an actual need for what you propose in your business plan or is it simply one of many similar businesses already out there in a highly competitive field? Moreover, a good plan answers whether the business provides solutions to an eager, waiting market.

Knowing the Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Every plan has several stages of development, from inception to future aggressive plans for expansion. Broken down, those reading a business strategy need to know what you are driving towards, when you think you'll reach that destination and what the next step is according to your projections.

Accurately Estimating the Time-Frame for Reaching Those Goals

Having goals is vital, but knowing when they'll be reached is of equal importance. Basically, people want to know when they can expect a return on investments (ROI). They want to know when these goals will be reached and how much they can expect to receive back on their investment.

Specific Strategies Used for Reaching Goals

After identifying the goals and calculating how long it will take to reach them, the next question in many people's minds is how to reach them.

Your Marketing Plan to Distribute Your Products/Concepts

Another vitally important part of any business plan is the actual marketing plan--how to get your product, services, or concept out to the actual market field. Describing your operation puts into perspective the feasibility of how your business runs, according to your plan.

The Bottom Line: The Financing Needed

How much is this project going to cost to get off the drawing board and who are the sources for funding? Loan, grant, and family/friend financing are readily obtainable, but how much will it take to fund this plan? Likewise, how much are funding sources willing to invest and for how long?

While there are no set rules for presenting a business plan, the above seven areas are typically covered in plans you present to anyone.