Writing an Effective Business Plan, Part One

Writing an effective business plan requires more than just summarizing good ideas.  An effective business plan details your strategy for success.  It starts with the formation of the company and ends with an exit strategy.  A well drafted business plan prepares you for the task ahead, informs prospective investors and lenders and is probably the most important step any young San Diego entrepreneur takes on the road to success.  New business ventures are of course risky and time consuming, and there can be little doubt that planning is fundamental.  Yet, young business owners often overlook the significance of the written plan and neglect to consult with experienced professionals.  While a detailed analysis is beyond the scope of this article, an examination of key business plan elements is instructive.

922920___bulb__.jpgUltimately, the development of a business plan should be accomplished only after significant due diligence and where possible with the assistance of others specializing in marketing analysis.  The information in a business plan tends to interrelate requiring thoughtful attention to each section.  The goal is to highlight common themes without being repetitive.  Consider consulting with trusted advisors such as a San Diego business attorney, accountant, banker and insurance agent.  These folks will help frame some of the financial and legal boundaries important to the company.  The typical business plan includes the following sections: Executive Summary; Market Analysis; Company Description; Organization & Management; Marketing; Service or Product Line; Funding; Financials; and Appendix.
The Executive Summary:  The executive summary is a concise summary of your business plan’s highlights.  It typically consists of the name and location of the business, the date it was begun, the names of the founders and their respective functions, the number of employees, a description of its products or services and the company’s facilities, information regarding existing investors and lenders, a mission statement (sometimes as short as a two word slogan, but always enough to leave the reader with a clear picture of the company’s vision), a summary of company growth (for existing businesses) and a summary of the company’s future plans.  This information is set forth in more detail later in the business plan.  The executive summary should be short and concise and the information may be set out in bulleted fashion except for the mission statement which should head the section.  For new businesses, it’s a good idea to include information about the target market including identifying potential problems, and summarize how you intend to take a share of the target market.  The executive summary is the first thing the reader sees.  It is your first bite at convincing prospective investors and/or lenders of the business’ viability.  

Table of Contents:  Include a Table of Contents after the Executive Summary to allow the reader to easily locate specific sections.

Continued in The Market Analysis: Business Plan Part Two

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