Business Plans – Essential Elements and Your Business Profile

Your business plan and business profile is the roadmap that you will follow not only in the beginning of your company, but throughout your time in business. Therefore, it is essential that this plan be well-developed, focused, and detailed enough to serve as a planning tool and as a reference as well.

Your business plan format should be a careful, systematic evaluation of factors that are both critical and suitable to your business purposes and goals. You should strive to include topics that can be tailored to fit your plan. Maintaining focus on the specialized market that you plan to serve is another imperative factor as you define and describe your business and how you plan to proceed with your plan-which is precisely what you will do with your developed business plan. Following here is a break-down of what should be included in your business plan and profile.

Cash Flow Assessment

You absolutely need to take the time to sit down and project your first year of cash flow, based on projected sales, profits, and expenses. This cash flow assessment should include

o Your capital requirements
o Marketing plans
o Realistic projections of sales and profits
o Plans for expansion
o Your assessments of what could possibly go wrong and how you would handle certain problems

There are many small business websites and government resources on the local, state, and national level (for all locations) that can help you learn more about developing the cash flow assessment portion of your business plan.

Market And Economic Assessments

You must put time into researching your target market. You need to know how your business is appropriate for specific demographics and which ones you’ll deal with. You also need to learn about what costs and expenses those demographics can afford, and what demand they have for your service or products. Demographic studies should be cited and a summary of your research needs to be included to show that you have developed a way to serve a need that is either in demand or will be once available. Local planning departments are one resource for finding demographics for things such as population and population break-downs, household demographics, and more. Trade associations are good resources for information related to supply, demand, and target market characteristics.

Meeting Regulatory Requirements

Some businesses have very few regulatory requirements while others bear quite a large burden. Your role is to know what you are responsible for in your line of business. This knowledge should be represented in your business plan, and you need to account for the costs and expenses relative to them. Include information such as

o Which agencies regulate your industry

o Which specific regulations you need to meet

o Licensing requirements

o Fees and costs

o Regulatory or licensing requirements that you have already fulfilled

o Plan for meeting outstanding obligations

Including Yourself And Others In The Plan

Naturally, the key factor in achieving business success is YOU. Sit down and focus on skills and experiences of the past pertaining to your new business. Prepare a resume for yourself and others who may be involved with your business; ensure it is strongly written as your plan will be reviewed carefully by those you look to forge business relationships with such as vendors, investors, and lenders. If you aren’t skilled at preparing resumes, there are many virtual assistants and ghostwriters who will be more than happy to accept you as their client; otherwise there are many books and online resources to assist you.

As you write your resume, be honest and don’t write any untrue information; if there is a particular function you lack the ability to perform, be sure to include this in your business plan, and address how the need will be filled. Your resume and business plan should inspire confidence for both what you do and do not know, and the skill you show in fulfilling all needs of your business.

Five Steps To Successfully Create A Business Plan

1. Sit down, relax, focus, and concisely describe your business concept-put it down on paper!

2. Perform research and due diligence, and gather as much data as you possibly can.

3. Based upon data you have accumulated focus and redefine your business concept.

4. Outline the specifics of your business, utilizing the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” approach; make sure all of these answers are provided within the text of the plan.

5. Proof and adjust your business plan.

In both the short- and the long-run, arranging your business plan into a compelling form not only provides insight and focus to you, but becomes a valuable tool when dealing with business partners and developing relationships that will become important to you.

Necessary Factors Contributing To Business Success

o Understand your market

Researching your target market and their needs is imperative. Find ways to test market your product or service before starting your business.

o Financial control

You’ll find out sooner than later the importance of accounting, cash flow management, and computer software; many entrepreneurs don’t have accounting backgrounds and either need to learn those skills, or find the right tools and professionals to perform those functions. Still, at some level you must be involved so that those professionals and programs get the most accurate information possible and you stay abreast of how your company is doing.

o Anticipating change

Your original business plan will lay the foundation for your business, but over time, perhaps even before your business gets started, there will be many changes you must adapt to. Obtaining a certain mindset and being prepared for changing circumstances will only expand your knowledge and your success.

Julie-Ann Amos is a professional writer and business consultant. She has over 14 books published in many countries. She runs Exquisite Writing, a large freelance writing agency that produces a wide variety of articles, web pages, website contents, books and ebooks for an international client base. Topic experts available for a wide range of subject areas, including small business and business planning.


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