Although the term "business plan" conjures many negative images in the eyes of some business owners, taking a step-by-step approach will prove that creating a business plan is much less daunting than one might imagine. Although no two plans are exactly the same (the necessary details of the plan can vary between companies), the contents of a typical business plan include the following topics : Executive Summary - Sell your business to your reader!; Business Overview - Giving a general summary of the business; Market & Competitive Analysis - What environment are you competing in?; Marketing & Sales Strategy - How will you "win" in your market?; Organization Plan - How is your organization structured?; Financial Projections - Current status and future outlook; Funding Sought (if required); Key Milestones - What are your specific & achievable goals?; Critical Risks - What keeps you awake at night?; Appendix/Attachments.
Goals : Set out some growth targets and other goals over the short and medium terms. Goals for a catering service could be the number clients, the number of events, total revenue or average profit margins on events. Refer to your business plan regularly and push yourself to keep up with the goals that you set.
HELP...I Need Cash! (AKA Creating a Business Plan to Acquire Funding) ; Another reason to create a business plan is to acquire funding. In today's struggling economy, having access to cash as a small business is vital. In developing plans for this reason, a much more specific approach is taken. Here, the plan is created with a specific reader in mind: the lender. Whether seeking funds from a bank, an angel investor, or so forth, knowing your audience is vital.
These areas require that you present a strong case for your proposed financial expectations, grounded firmly in the supporting information of your plan, including marketing, market analysis, business operations, and so forth. Having confidence in your business and in yourself will assist you in demonstrating the potential for your company and in being able to deliver what your investor is looking for. Doing your due diligence and knowing the facts surrounding your business and your market will prove to be of great benefit when selling your business case, both in writing and verbally, to the lender you are seeking funding from.