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Developing a Plan

For any business, countless hours have been spent pondering, planning and formulating ideas about your new or even established business. A business plan is a sound investment for all companies to detail how they will operate and their chosen path to success. A business plan is useful for owners, employees and, as important, your financial supporters.

There are numerous benefits of having a formal business plan, including:

  1. A well prepared plan improves your chances of finding the financing you want.
  2. It can serve as a guide for policies and actions for your firm over a number of years. Strategies and statements should be well thought out, clear, and capable of being executed.
  3. The process of preparing the plan will enable you to focus on issues that are essential for the future success of your business.

Sections of a Business Plan

A good business plan includes many details. It can take a great deal of time gathering detailed data, interpreting it and presenting it clearly. A formal business plan should include the following:

Business Identification

  • Company history and milestones


  • Mission
  • Goals
  • Objectives

Description of the Business

  • Company's products and services
  • Major Customers

Market Analysis

  • Market environment
  • Competitive analysis, including competitors
  • Risks

Financial Information

  • Income statements, historical and projected
  • Balance sheets, historical and projected
  • Cash flow analysis

Management & Personnel

  • Key employees
  • Background
  • Roles


  • Facilities and offices
  • Leases or real estate owned

Statements in your business plan should be supported with data whenever possible. Data adds creditability. Charts, graphs and tables are very effective in communicating data in an easy and understandable way.


The preparation of a full-blown, top-notch, formal business plan can be a demanding experience. Plans can take a considerable amount of time but are great at forcing you to address issues that are easily overlooked or seemingly unimportant. The effort, though, will be very fruitful in the future as the process will enable you to make better daily, long term and strategic decisions.

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