A business plan can be useful for both new and existing businesses and year-end is a great time to start planning for upcoming years. However, many people who own a business or those interested in starting a business say getting a business plan written is their most daunting task.
According to Chrystal Irons, business development specialist with University of Missouri Extension, a business plan doesn't have to be long. It should be simple and direct and encompass the vital sections to tell your business idea and story in a convincing fashion.
One way to do that is to add an appendix, show publication clips, pictures, graphs, drawings, principals' resumes, letters of intent from prospective customers, job descriptions, tax returns, contracts, licenses, leases, client testimonies, personal financial statements, credit reports, letters of reference and other such documents that lend credibility to the product or service.
The organization of a business plan is also important.
"You will need a cover sheet and a one-page executive summary that captures the reader's attention and serves as a summary for the plan," said Irons.
According to Irons, accuracy is critical and there are several other sections that every good business plan needs.
First, a basic description of the business, including an explanation of the business concept, a history of the business, a list of growth possibilities and an explanation of why it will succeed.
"The marketing plan should include potential customers and how you plan to attract and hold them," said Irons. "This part of the plan includes benefits of your product or service, pricing strategy, sales promotion plan and potential, distribution methods, purchasing plan and competitors."
Other important elements include information describing how the business will be managed, the organizational roles and personnel needs. The plan must include financial information such as needs, revenue and cost projections as well as a break-even analysis.
"The sections will vary depending on the readership and type of business," said Irons.
For more information or assistance related to a current or future business, ccall Irons at 417-417-546-4431.