Business Plan Basics

How to write a Business Plan

The following information is an excerpt from the SBA’s website. For more information and the complete article, please visit: http://www.sba.gov/starting/indexbusplans.html

What goes in a business plan? This is an excellent question. And, it is one that many new and potential small business owners should ask, but oftentimes don’t ask. The body of the business plan can be divided into four distinct sections: 1) the description of the business, 2) the marketing plan, 3) the financial management plan and 4) the management plan. Addenda to the business plan should include the executive summary, supporting documents and financial projections.

Elements of a Business Plan
1. Cover sheet
2. Statement of purpose
3. Table of contents

I. The Business
A. Description of business
B. Marketing
C. Competition
D. Operating procedures
E. Personnel
F. Business insurance
G. Financial data

II. Financial Data
A. Loan applications
B. Capital equipment and supply list
C. Balance sheet
D. Breakeven analysis
E. Pro-forma income projections (profit & loss statements)
Three-year summary
Detail by month, first year
Detail by quarters, second and third years
Assumptions upon which projections were based
F. Pro-forma cash flow
Follow guidelines for letter E.

III. Supporting Documents
Tax returns of principals for last three years
Personal financial statement (all banks have these forms)
In the case of a franchised business, a copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor
Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
Copy of licenses and other legal documents
Copy of resumes of all principals
Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.