Writing a business plan for your prospective publishing company is one of the most important tasks related to starting your business. The plan can not only help you obtain necessary financing, it outlines your strategy for success in writing.
Before you begin writing your plan, it is necessary to do extensive research on your industry, target market and competition.
If you plan to start a magazine publishing company, you will need to know what the state of the magazine industry is. What are the problems facing magazine publishers? How will your company thrive in spite of current industry challenges?
It is also important to research your target market. In the magazine publishing example, this would be your prospective advertisers and subscribers. What needs will your company need to meet in order to satisfy advertisers? What information need can you satisfy for your readers?
Finally, you will need to examine existing companies offering similar products. Make a chart of each competitor's strengths and weaknesses, then do the same for your prospective company.
Writing the Plan
Although there is no exact formula for developing a business plan, most plans contain three main sections.
The first function of your business plan describes your business in detail. This includes a detailed outline of the products your company will offer, whether it is magazines, books or websites. How your business will function daily is also a part of this plan. Will you have employees? Who will you use for printing and distribution? The description of your business will also outline your company's competition and its marketing plan.
Financial data is very important for every business plan, especially if you are seeking funding for your business. This is the most difficult part of the business plan for many would-be publishers. A good financial section should include a current balance sheet, three-year sales and cash flow projections and a break-even analysis.
A business plan also requires a host of supporting documents. Tax returns for all company principals from the last three years and current personal financial statements are usually required. Resumes from all principals should be included. Letters of intent from potential advertisers or suppliers can be included if you have them.. In addition, if you have proposed contracts or media kits you can include them in your supporting documents.