How do you write a business plan for a startup?
I wrote a business plan but I'm somewhat unsure whether it confirms to the accepted standards to go in front of a VC or a SBA-approved bank. Could you please show me how to write a business plan through a website, or give me some pointers from personal experience? Thank you in advance.
- imisidroLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
According to the book “The ABC's of Writing Winning Business Plans: How to Prepare a Business Plan That Others Will Want to Read -- and Invest In” http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446694150/... by Garrett Sutton, below are some tips to make a winning business plan that can get funding:
- Money follows management. Investors look first at the people involved in the company. If you are just starting out and don’t have relevant experience, investors expect to see that you have an experienced team of advisors and employees helping you in the business.
- Make sure you “sell” the one reason your business will become profitable.
- State clearly the strategies you will employ to get the word out about your business. Your business plan must show how you will leverage the Internet, public relations, viral marketing, and other strategies to attract customers.
- Present realistic estimates of the time, energy and costs of building a successful business. Do not underestimate or overestimate revenues. While investors know your numbers are simply guesses, they want to see that your numbers are within the “range of reality.” Be careful of your financial statements: this is one area where you can easily lose credibility if presented poorly.
- Benchmark similar companies to show that you’ve done your homework and researched the market.
- Your Executive Summary is your calling card. If it is not a winner, investors may not even read your entire plan. Emphasize your own as well as your team’s track record in the Executive Summary.
- Before sending your business plan to lenders and investors, send it out first to a few in order to get feedback. You’d want to correct your plan if someone tells you that you’re way off mark, rather than have a potential investor tell it to you and lose the chance to get the funding you need.
Here are some resources that can help you write your business plan:
- SBA Business Plan Basics http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basi...
- PowerHomeBiz.com Creating a Business Plan section http://www.powerhomebiz.com/startup/businessplan.h...
- Entrepreneur.com Writing a Business Plan section http://www.entrepreneur.com/bizplan/0,7253,,00.htm...
You may also want to review some sample business plans to see how it actually looks like:
- Bplans.com http://www.bplans.com/sp/businessplans.cfm
- MOOT Corp Business Plan competition winners
- VFinance - View hundreds of real business plans in pdf format. http://www.vfinance.com/home.asp?bps=1&ToolPage=bp...
- Business Owners Toolkit Sample business plans and information on how to create a plan. http://www.toolkit.cch.com/tools/buspln_m.asp
- PlanWare Planning software and information. http://www.planware.org/
- Virtual Business Plan Walk through the design of a business plan. http://www.bizplanit.com/vplan.html
- SBA Business Planning Guide http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basi...
- Small Business Advancement Center http://www.sbaer.uca.edu/business_plan/businessPla...
- Sample Business Plan General planning guide created by the Canadian Business Service Center. http://www.cbsc.org/servlet/ContentServer?pagename...
- Business Plans Index - A subject guide to sample business plans and profiles for specific business types from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. http://184.108.40.206/subject/business/bplansindex...
Some recommended books are :
- Business Plans Kit for Dummies
- The Complete Book of Business Plans : Simple Steps to Writing a Powerful Business Plan
- Writing Business Plans That Get Results : A Step-By-Step Guide
- Business Plans For Dummies®
- Your First Business Plan : A Simple Question and Answer Format Designed to Help You Write Your Own Plan
- 1 decade ago
If you're not sure than you business plan is incomplete or ineffective. The object of a business plan is to articulate your idea for a business to those who you're asking to give you a large sum of money even thought they know absolutely nothing about you.
The basics of a business plan can be found on the websites below and there really is not "approved standard" for the SBA. There are some common components of business plans but for the most part, it should make sense and portray your business as a workable plan. They want to be able to ask you questions and see that you have the answers without referring to your written plan. That means you've done your homework and your research.
Typically, bankers will look at your summary and then skip right to the financial section. If your numbers work, then they'll look at your marketing strategy and the rest of the plan to see if it justifies the numbers. This means you need to be able to make sure that your projections and assumptions make sense. The local small business development center or chamber of commerce will help you with putting together an effective business plan. Whatever you do, DON'T BUY A BUSINESS PLAN. Good luck.
small business administration sba.gov
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- 1 decade ago
Here are some pointers:
Sec 1. Description of business. Include product lines and goals for company.
Sec 2. Marketing: Describe marketing plan, current customers (with level of current business), potential customers and the amount of business you think you can get).
Sec 3. Capital Needs: List all fixed assets needed for business (include costs and timetables for acquiring).
Sec 4. Financial Statements: Need financial statements for years 1 - 3, year 5, year 7 and year 10.
Sec 5. Management Biographies: Who ever is going to invest/loan money to the company wants to know about the people running the company.
A huge part in securing funding is being able to sell yourself along with your plan. You need to be able to explain how you are going to be able to attract customers and what differentiates you from the competition. VC is tighter with money than banks. Bankers want to lend you money as that is how they get paid. Be prepared to answer how much money you are going to infuse into the business. In my experience, nobody will 100% finance your venture.Source(s): My experience as a consultant that helps clients refinance and infuse additional cash
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