Most people wouldn’t embark on a long, complex journey without some planning. This goes for entrepreneurs, too.
The adventure of starting something new and owning your own business can be long and complex, but a good business plan will help convey your idea and the work you have put into it, as well as serve as a guide to reference and update for internal use.
Building a relationship with your trusted advisors early is equally important. Don’t get hung up on shiny three-ring binders before talking with your local banker, CPA, attorney, etc. Those relationships are key and will help you formulate some components of your plan, which should include:
- Cover Sheet. Displays your firm’s name, address and telephone number, along with contact information for owners and executives. Other information includes the plan’s date and preparer’s name.
- Table of Contents.
- Executive Summary. Addresses and summarizes your plan’s key points. These include a company overview (e.g., location, products and “unique” characteristics), market opportunity, financial projections, leadership, competitors and your firm’s market edge. Your company’s mission statement goes into the executive summary, too.
- Company Description. Explains the nature of your company; specifies consumers and organizations you will serve; and details the needs of your targeted demographic and how you will fulfill those needs.
- Product/Service Description. Illustrates benefits unique to your product or service, competitive advantage and current/future development status. This section also addresses intellectual property issues, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and confidentiality and nondisclosure/non-compete agreements.
- Market Analysis. Addresses market characteristics in a wide range of areas, including your industry’s history, trends and consumers; definition and characteristics of your target market; gross market targets and pricing; and regulatory affairs.
- Organization and Management Team. Describes your firm’s organizational structure, including administrative roles and responsibilities; education, professional background and achievements of company ownership; management team profiles; and board of director members’ bios. List your firm’s legal structure here, along with information on owner shares and forms of ownership, such as partnerships.
- Operations. Details day-to-day functions of your company, as well as responsible personnel and process management systems. In this section, include current production/service goals and projections, quality control measures, supplier information, zoning requirements and risk management measures.
- Financial Analysis. Covers financial history, as well as the status and future of the company. Make sure to provide a sales forecast, expenses budget, cash flow statement, profit and loss statements, income projections and a break-even analysis. Also address company assets and liabilities here.
- Implementation Plan. Provides a timeline and methodology for completion of all tasks listed in the business plan. Components can include objectives, actions, target dates and progress records.
For more information about small business services or the Arvest Business Engagement Center:
- Schedule an appointment for a business advisor to call you.
- Call (866) 314-0315
- Or contact your local Arvest banker