Financial Planning : Perhaps one of the most important parts of any business plan is the financial plan. You need to make some forecasts of revenue and expenditure over a period of several years. You can then estimate when you will reach a break even point and how much profit will be possible in the future. Set out anticipated monthly cash flows in a spreadsheet program on your computer. As businesses often don't grow as fast as their owners expect them to you should outline several scenarios. One scenario can show your expected outcome, one can show a more optimistic forecast and the third one can show a worst case scenario.
Management & Planning Tool : If you are like many other small business owners, you are not only the owner of the company, you are likely also actively involved in the day-to-day operations as the President/CEO, the marketing department, the IT department, the HR department...the list goes on and on! One of the most important things to remember in trying to bring all of this together into a cohesive and efficient package is that planning is vital!
So, in the end, I encourage you to realign whatever preconceived notions you may have of the business planning process and view it not as a daunting task or a necessary evil of running a successful business. Instead, view it as yet another opportunity, the chance to help make your dreams into a reality by mapping out the needs of your business, your customers, your employees, your suppliers, your community...and yourself!
How do you create an effective business plan in this situation? Well, simply stated, place yourself in the shoes of the person lending the money. What would you as the lender want to read in a plan? First and foremost, these individuals want to see that you have demonstrated the ability to repay the loan with the required level of return on investment (ROI) and within the required time frame.