The Abbreviated Business Plan
Business Plans do not have to be lengthy, formidable, detailed documents. Often 2-3 pages will suffice. The primary objective is to get your ideas, strategies and resource requirements out of your head, and onto paper. This documentation is important for a number of reasons. First, plans have a tendency to become more “real” once they’re written down. Second, for planning purposes it’s important to be organized and objective. It’s easier to accomplish this in writing. Third, a written plan is important to share with others and gain their reaction. Fourth, investors and financers will want to see the numbers.
An abbreviated Business Plan forces the writer to be concise, and include only essential information. The Plan will be more focused, and understandable. Also, the plan should receive more favorable attention, and a thorough reading.
PLAN COMPONENTS Although there are different opinions, some variation of essential elements for your business plan may include:
Introduction/Executive Summary (or Background)
Mission & Vision
Finance & Funding
BASIC INFO. FOR EACH SECTION
Introduction and background may not seem too important, but how did you come up with the idea? Is the concept original? The Introduction/Executive Summary/or Background Statement is to gain the readers attention, and prepare them for what follows.
In the Mission Statement/Vision area, try to describe exactly what the purpose of your organization is, and where you see it going in the future. Key Products or Services is where you describe what you will be producing and selling.
Management is the section where the principals (founders) are identified along with an indication of staffing requirements.
The SWOT analysis identifies your proposed company’s strengths, and perhaps more importantly, its weakness as well as the opportunities available in the marketplace, and the threats (primarily from competitors).
Finance and funding specifies the money required to begin and sustain your operations, and the source of “start up” funds.
Marketing identifies your customer (targeted segment) and how you propose creating/satisfying their need/desire for your products/services Pricing, packaging, sales and distribution may also be included.
HOW MUCH DETAIL?
In preliminary Business Plans, often “less is more.” Your purpose is to convey essential information, not to answer every question, or to provide every detail. At some point in the future, you will need to flesh out the specifics, although there is plenty of time to do this. I’m not suggesting that you be superficial, just concise and “tight.” Aim for two or three substantive paragraphs in each section. Remember: get that plan out of your head and onto paper!
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