There are many notable, highly successful business people who, without a Business Plan, took a big idea and just plunged forward with their life’s savings and made it. Some went bankrupt a few times before hitting the big time. Many will tell you today to just to “go for it” and don’t waste time on writing a Business Plan. The following will help you decide whether or not to just plunge in or to write a clear plan that you can have in your head and on paper. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Don’t be afraid to “Create a Business Plan”. By following the sample outline that provides added explanation, we offer you a simplified way in which to write a logical, compelling plan that you will need if applying for funds to help with a start-up or existing business. Whether asking for financial support from family or friends; completing a grant or loan application, you will need a focused, clear business document to portray your well-thought out plan of action and repayment for Year 1 of your venture through Year 5 (potentially).
Here is the link to a the Small Business Administration, business plan template that, from a former Business Plan writers opinion, is a an outline worth using. Other resources include a whole host of books on the subject that often include a sample plan on disc. or those on-line that are uploadable.
BUSINESS PLAN SAMPLE
The Executive Summary is the beginning two pages (or less) of your Plan document even though it is actually written after the entire Plan is completed. It is the all-out final, enthusiastic descriptive summary of who you are, what you want to do, why you can accomplish this great business venture; goals/objectives. Write it as if the Shark Tank entrepreneurial crew of the world will be your audience (watch it ABC and you’ll understand). Along with the written plan, Robert Herjavec, a Shark Tank member, recommends finding time to talk to people who will actually buy your product. Designate abundant time to his suggestion that will only make your Plan more powerful.
Business Description and Vision: short/concise business purpose, a vision statement (that is your perception based on research/talking to people of the company’s growth potential in 1, 3 5 years); goals and objectives; brief history for existing or start-up business – discuss how/why/goals met/will be met to date; name of company officers or board members.
Definition of the Market: Use trade publications and stats to describe screen printing industry/outlook; define the critical needs of your perceived or existing market or why you believe (facts/#’s) your business will fulfill a niche in the industry; your target market and how you found them along with their general profile (non-profit agencies, senior clientele etc); your current and potential market share and how you figured that out (interviewed 100 people, etc).
Description of Products and Services (why they’re so great/how they fulfill a need): description of your products/services (how much they sell for) and why they are/will be competitive. In this segment, reference images of your work, brochures, a website; physical location of business (walk-in traffic, web site potential) that will be in plan appendix.
Organization and Management: Include an Organization Chart and description of how company is organized. Keep it short/concise so the general flow of operations is understood; convey whether it’s a proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc.; identify necessary or special licenses and/or permits you have acquired or will need; list of key managers/staff w/brief bio (education, experience, financial background etc.).
Marketing and Sales Strategy: identify/describe who your customers are/will be; what/how you will fulfill their needs; what the demand is for your products & services (and how you figured that out; how you will distribute and promote products/services (social media, web store, outside/inside sales etc.); identify the 4 Ps of your SALES STRATEGY that are pricing, promotion, products and place.
AND THIS IS THE BIGGIE because the individuals and/or institutions who you are requesting a loan from need to know that you have a REALISTIC knowledge of the financial projection/commitment it’s going to take to build and sustain the business.
Financial Management for a New Business: estimate of start-up costs and how you figured them (CAPS International will provide you with a free estimate of screen printing equipment and supplies); a projected balance sheet (1, 3, 5 years forward); a projected income statement (1, 3, 5 years forward); a projected cash flow statement (12 months forward).
For an Existing Business (this is standard): balance sheets (last 3 years); income statements (last 3 years); cash flow statement (12 months).
If Applying for a Loan (in addition to the above): current personal financial statement on each principal/partner/investor; federal tax return for prior year. These are standard.