Whether a company was started with more enthusiasm than planning, was planned from an operational standpoint without the need to present a plan to investors, or just changed significantly in the course of its creation, there is often a need to create a business plan once a business is already operational. This plan should include both current and historical data, as well as projections for the future. Existing businesses are often more credible to investors because much of the financial data in the business plan has already been proven accurate.
Create an outline of the business plan. Include sections on explaining your business, growth strategy, environment and competition, target market and marketing, operations, finances, and an executive summary.
Write the “About the Business” section. This is a one-page explanation of who you are, what your business is about, where you're located, your offices and so on. In this section, spell out the management structure and give bios of the principals and any particularly impressive members of the Board of Advisers. This is also the time to toot your own horn about your past successes.
Describe your target market and your marketing efforts toward them. Speak in terms of the size of your potential market base, the percentage of the market share you have, and how you reach these customers. Describe how the market is growing; investors would rather work with a small company in a growing market than a large one in a stagnant market.
Explain the business environment. Include an analysis of your current and upcoming competitors, how you compare to them, how you work with or around one another, and the regulations that govern your business. Current or anticipated changes in your industry are important to highlight here.
Detail your operations, including your product or service, how it is made or delivered, and how you manage your products and operations as efficiently as possible. In currently existing businesses, this section is often larger and more detailed than the other sections. It should emphasize the aspects of your product or service that make your business unique and compelling to customers, and should also define the scope of what you do and do not do.
Include your financial statements. You should be able to include three to five years worth of historical financial statements, a current analysis of profit and loss and cash flow, and at least one year's pro forma statements based on historical records.
Plan your growth strategy. This section tells the investor what you are using the investment funds for, how your business will grow to capture new market opportunities, and how your business is changing to meet new market opportunities.
Write the executive summary. This is not a summary of your business plan. Your executive summary is your 30-second elevator pitch. It should be one page or less and be a persuasive and exciting piece of sales writing designed to entice investors into looking further.
Evangeline Marzec is a management consultant to small high-tech companies, and has been in the video games industry since 2004. As a published writer since 1998, she has contributed articles and short stories to web and print media, including eHow and Timewinder. She holds a Master of Business Adminstration from Thunderbird School of Global Management.