Writing a business plan can be intimidating. It is however a necessary step towards earning a business loan for the launch or expansion of a professional practice or small to mid size business. Gaining an understanding about the expectations that the bank, government or other type of investor have about the contents of your business plan can help you to get started.
The following is a comprehensive list of the basic components of a business plan focused on securing financing:
- Executive summary
The executive summary of your business plan should be a short paragraph that summarizes:
- Core strengths and point of difference business offers
- Projected sales and profitability
- Details with regards to financing request
A mission statement is a single sentence that communicates the core values of the practice or business. It establishes the reason for being for the organization.
A vision statement is a single statement that communicates business goals for the next 3-5 years in terms of the most appropriate benchmarks whether they are market share, reputation or financial.
The objectives of this section of your business plan are to present the strengths of the core management team as well as the projected costs of the employees:
- Biography of the founding team members and relevance
- Staffing requirements
- Core strategies to manage team
A discussion on the business environment in your business plan demonstrates expertise as well as comprehension of the changing dynamics of the marketplace:
- Industry overview
- Positioning statement
- An analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- Competitive grid
- Barriers to entry
A marketing plan is relevant to a business plan whether it accounts for traditional or non-traditional promotional types of activities:
- Consumer insight
- Description of service, promotional activity, location, fees
- Core strategies to market practice
Outlining the operations of your business may account for standard, special or proprietary processes:
- Core strategies to operate practice
Financial statements enclosed within your business plan need to be achievable rather than overly optimistic:
- 3 year detailed sales projection
- 3 year detailed profit and loss statement
Your business plan should identify which risks you consider to be inherent to the business and how you expect to handle them. It should detail the core strategies you plan to employ in order to mitigate risks.
Remember that the objective of your business plan is to communicate why you are a good candidate for this business loan. Ideally your business plan will have demonstrated expertise accompanied by achievable sales projections, key ingredients to developing the perception that your business is a low risk investment to a bank, government or other type of investor.