Friday, May 9, 2008

Writing Business Plan Basics For Successful Funding

The two most important reasons for writing a business plan will help you succeed. The first is so you can convince a lender or a potential investor your business is worthy of investing in or lending money to. The second is to develop a good marketing plan.

To get started, you'll want to conduct preliminary research. You'll discover: your competition, and how they're promoting and and marketing their products, services and business. You'll quickly find how much easier writing a business plan becomes when you've done this type of research. That said, here's a very quick way to start.

Use a Free Business Plan Template

You can download a free business plan template.(Be sure to go to the resource box and click the link to get yours.)

Review it and begin by doing some simple research.

Complete these basics and include them in your finished plan.

1. Describe your Business - What you do, what products you sell

2. How will you sell your Business,Products or Services- What's your marketing approach?

3. Competition- Who is your competition? How does your approach or business vary from theirs?

4. You Operating Procedures - Describe your approach to business

5. Insurance- Make sure you are covered for liability

6. Financial Information should include: A 3-Year Proforma (Projections of earnings and expenses), A Balance sheet, A List of Your Equipment, A Break-even Analysis

7. Your Resume

Remember why you're writing a business plan...Keep this close in mind as you compile your information and research data.

Are you writing a business plan to present to a banker?...Or will you use it to raise startup money from an investor. If so, you'll want to create a compelling reason for someone to invest in you, your ideas and your business.

Bear in mind, they will also be looking for how much of your own time and money you have invested prior to seeking them out.

A banker will be looking at how this business is going to generate enough cash flow to pay back the money you are seeking. You are writing a business plan to sell him on you and your ability to

sell your products or services and make a profit. An investor is looking at how much money he'll be able to make in return for his investment.

As you work with your financials, make sure you project sales and profits, so you can show your potential investment partners (the banker, private investors,etc.) your cash flow.

(Remember this: Cash flow and profits are two different things.) Cash flow pays your expenses...profits are what's left over after you've paid your bills. Your banker will be looking at cash flow, investors will be looking for profits.

Be Thorough...Be Convincing...

But be sure you put some of your own money into the picture. You should consider at least 10%, but an investment of 25% is better. Remember, you are asking someone else

to take a risk on you. Ask yourself, why should they take such a risk, when you haven't...Think about it. They will.

Writing a business plan should be one of the first tasks you take on when starting your business. If you look at it as a way to discover more about your chosen business, you'll see it as fun and exciting.

You may find some surprises along the way, including opportunities you never considered before, ways to market, or even new products. Using a business plan template can ease your task.

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