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How to Write a Successful Business Plan

A business plan is an essential tool for a business of any size. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to grow a small business into a large business without a business plan. Your plan contains all of the ideas you have for your company and becomes your resource for making decisions. When you are presented with an opportunity, you would consult your business plan to see if that opportunity is in line with the vision you have for the company. The business plan becomes the roadmap that you use to take your company from a small operation to a large and successful corporation. In order for your business plan to be useful, it needs to cover the primary subjects involved with growing and running a business.

Budgeting

Your business plan will outline all of your budget needs from the start-up phase all the way out to the first three to five years of operations. In this section, you will create a detailed listing of every budget item that needs to be considered, including the start-up costs required to get your business off the ground. You will have recurring business expenses figured into this part of your plan, and you will have one-time costs that are essential for running your business. This is the section of your business plan that you use to determine how much money you will need to raise to get your business off the ground and keep it running until it starts to show a profit.

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Revenue Projections

You must project revenues for the first three to five years in your business plan in order to create accurate budgets. Revenue projections are not random numbers that are thrown onto a piece of paper. Good projections are based on researching the marketplace, the competition, consumer buying trends, and where your company fits into the market. Your projections need to have a solid foundation if you are going to use your business plan to attract investors. When you do talk to investors and lending officers at banks, they will spend a great deal of time discussing your revenue projections with you. That is why your projections need to be backed up by data and they need to show growth.

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Key Personnel Resumes

Your revenue projections are only solid if there is a competent team of executives in place to create that growth. It is common for new entrepreneurs to forget to include the resumes of key personnel in their business plans, but it is something that investors want to see. You will also need this section to help attract key personnel in the future. When an aspiring executive decides to take a position with a new business, they want to be sure that there is a solid foundation of leaders already in place.

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Business Description

It is important to remember that your business plan is for you and anyone you are trying to get interested in your business. New small business owners have a tendency to disregard the need for a detailed description of their business operations in a business plan because they feel that they will always remember their own business vision. The truth is that the business world moves quickly, and it can be extremely easy to lose focus on why you started the business in the first place. Your business description includes a very comprehensive outline of the products or services your company offers, how you will offer those products and services, and your company mission statement. Whenever you are faced with a significant decision for your business, you should be able to look at your business plan and be reminded as to why you started the company in the first place.

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Personnel Projections

For any business, payroll is one of the most significant expenses. When you write a business plan, you have to align your personnel needs with your revenue projections to determine how many staff members you will need to sustain your growth. Try to utilize outsourcing options such as independent contractors and professional outsourcing organizations to keep personnel costs down. For example, having an outside company do your payroll and accounting would save time and it would be much cheaper than hiring a full-time accountant.

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