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A Business Plan Check-Up - Are You On Track?

Starting a business requires a great deal of effort, money, and time. That's why it's such a good idea to have a business plan in place. Having a documented, well thought-out plan will help you to see if your plan is actually feasible or not. In addition, it will help you map out the steps you need to take in order to set up a profitable business.

When starting a business, most banks or investors will require a business plan, which is a detailed written summary of how a business or entrepreneur plans on organizing and then effectively running a potential business in a way that will allow it to succeed. These are often required so the investor knows the plan is well-planned for and well thought out before investing money into it.

Your business plan should include a number of things that will help you map out your business. There are many resources available to assist you in developing an effective business plan and include books, websites, and software. The following points should be included in your business plan:

Executive Summary. Generally, this is designed for those reading your business plan. If it's just for you, an executive summary may not even be necessary. If you opt to include an executive summary, it should explain the basic business model and the reasoning behind why this strategy will result in an effective business.
Mission . This section contains the purpose and mission statement of your company. It will also help you determine what you want to accomplish with your business.
Keys to Success. This section will include the tools your company will use to set itself apart from the competition and succeed in the industry.
Company Summary. For a brand-new company, the company summary should include expected number of employees, projected location, etc.
Services Provided. This is a basic run-down of what services your company will be providing to its customers.
Market Analysis Summary. This section should include the industry, product and pricing strategy, promotion and distribution strategy, and production information.
Management Summary. The management summary will contain the background information of key personnel, their business achievements, and experience in the industry.
Financial Plan. A detailed financial plan is crucial. Included in this section is source of funds, existing loans and liabilities, a monthly cash-flow analysis, and projected sales and costs. This will help you see the real costs associated with your business and how much you can really expect to earn.

Once you have your business plan, it's important to stay on track in order to finish it in a timely manner. If your business's funding is dependant upon your plan, it's important to get it done soon, but in a quality manner as well.

In order to stay on track, it's a good idea to make up a schedule. One thing you could do is set a time period for each section. Let's say you have 8 sections in your business plan. It is a reasonable goal to plan on writing 2 sections a week. That way, you know that within two weeks, your business plan will be completed and ready to go. Make sure you have someone proofread your plan to make it as professional as possible.

You can help stay on track with your business plan by purchasing software or books designed to help make the process easier. Purchasing tools to help you draft your business plan is a good investment and will help you to stay on track.

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