Continued from Marketing Your Product or Service: Business Plan Part Four.
Funding: The Funding section sets forth the amount of funding necessary to start or expand your business. A strong business plan doesn’t merely ask for a fixed amount of money. It sets forth the company’s funding requirements in detail and includes different funding scenarios. It describes how the money will be spent, whether future funding will be necessary and how the current and/or expected future financial condition of the business will accommodate the debt. What does the five year horizon look like? Is the company seeking equity investment or a loan? What terms will best fit with the company’s financial strategy? The funding section should also specifically state how an injection of capital will benefit the company’s bottom line, and should delineate best and worst case scenarios. Tell the prospective investor or lender the company’s long range financial strategies, how profits will be used and what the return on investment will be. In addition, describe precisely how the funds will be used including whether some or all of the funds will be needed to pay off debt or for capital expenditures. Be sure to tie your funding needs to the company’s strategic goals. Lenders want to know that you will be able to repay your debt and investors want to know that there will be a positive return. Show them that the company has a plan to allocate resources efficiently and effectively.
Financials: The Financial section of the business plan is the dollars and cents section. It tells the reader about the company’s current financial health and its projected financial health over the next five years. This is where you crunch the numbers and it is your opportunity to show the prospective lender or investor just how sound your business plan really is. The financial data backs up the funding requests. The financial sections should include historical financial data (typically three to five years back or for as long as the company has been in business if shorter than three years). Provide the company’s accounting records including income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements for each year, and identify any collateral. The prospective financial data should project the company’s finances for the next five years including forecasted income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements. It is helpful to provide monthly projections especially for the first year, and quarterly projections thereafter. It’s important to discuss assumptions made to support projections. If you project increased revenue for year two based on increased advertising in the third quarter of year one, say so. Be sure your assumptions make sense and are consistent with your overall business plan. Don’t expect that the reader will make these connections for you. It’s also important that your funding requests are consistent with the financial projections. Finally, the Financial section should close with a brief analysis of the company’s financial information including an analysis of historical and prospective trends. Use of excel spreadsheets and graphs are great tools.
Appendix: The business plan should conclude with an appendix that lists all of the supporting documentation such as: resumes and letters of reference; marketing materials; supporting data for market analyses: licenses, permits, trademarks or patents; leases, contracts, and other legal documentation; corporate, partnership or LLC documentation; and list of professional advisors such as your accountant, business attorney and banker.
For more information on starting up a new business see Starting Your Own Business. If you are considering purchasing an existing business, check out Purchasing an Existing Business Offers Benefits Often Overlooked and Considerations When Purchasing a San Diego Business.