Your business plan is an important document for you and your business, even if you're the only one who ever reads it. Still, many companies create business plans to help them secure investors, and you might need to do the same some day. Even if you don't, an informal declaration of your business plan will help you clarify your operation’s goals, processes, budget and market.
Describe your business in a paragraph or two, including its legal structure and what type of services or products it provides. State whether you are a limited liability corporation (LLC) or a sole proprietorship, naming the partners or owner.
Characterize the customers your products or services will serve. This is part of knowing your audience and is very important for marketing your company later. Be specific about your customers' age ranges, incomes, locations, family situations and any other details that have a bearing on your business.
Describe your local and national competition, if any. Name the companies in your area and on the Internet who sell a service or product similar to your own and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
Define the location of your business. State where your goods are manufactured, your services are rendered and your office tasks are done. If these happen in multiple locations, name them all. If one or more is in your home, be specific about the space in your home reserved for your business.
Provide an overview of your financial forecast. This includes your start-up costs, if you haven’t yet begun your business venture, and all operating costs. It should, of course, include revenue estimates as well.
- The Well-Fed Writer; Peter Bowman; 2000
Laura Britton is a graduate of Indiana University and a former English teacher. She is the managing editor of "The Balefire" magazine, and her work has appeared in several magazines and journals. Britton has been writing professionally for 10 years.