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  • Gather your basic financial statements
    • Provide documentation Financial statements are ;formal records of your business’ financial activities. There are four basic statements:
    • Income statement: Your bottom line subtracting costs from revenue to come up with net profit
    • Balance sheet: A financial snapshot that shows what you own, what you owe, and what your company is worth
    • Cash flow statement: A cash monitor that follows the flow of cash in and out of your company
    • Budget: Your financial forecast that indicates where you plan to make and spend money
  • Determine your audience
    • Identify customers and the competition This is a critical part of a successful business plan. ;Incorporate research on both groups.
    • Ask these questions of customers: Who is buying, what do they buy, and why ;do they buy?
    • Ask these questions of competitors: How big are they, which customers are they after, and what is their strategy?
  • Incorporate these elements
    • Executive summary
    • Company overview
    • Business environment
    • Company description
    • Company strategy
    • Financial review
    • Action plan
  • Consider these topics
    • Plans: Company mission, vision, goals, and objectives that all work together
    • Organization: A structure for your company that makes sense
    • Procedures: Efficient and effective ways of doing things
    • Leadership: An ability to influence and encourage others around you
    • Skills: The talents and expertise your people need to succeed
    • Culture: Beliefs and attitudes that lead to doing the right thing
  • Consider the other factors on this list of business-planning essentials:
    • Get everyone involved in setting goals and objectives
    • Learn all you can about your customers
    • Understand who your competitors are
    • Identify your strengths and weaknesses relative to opportunities and threats
    • Determine which capabilities you absolutely need to succeed
    • List all the things you do that add customer value
    • Make sure that you do your financial homework
    • Imagine several different versions of your company’s future
  • Avoid business failure
    • Do your research, and prepare If you’re not prepared, your business will likely fail.
    • Establish a long-term company vision Be sure to establish and follow clear goals and objectives to meet the vision.
    • Prepare for change Stay flexible and you will succeed.
    • Focus on the customers And whatever you do, don’t underestimate the competition.
    • Be a strong leader Communicate well, and often.

A well-developed business plan is critical for any start-up business. To develop a thorough business plan, research your customers and competition; avoid mistakes that lead to business failure; and know how to implement a business plan and make it work. Your business plan should include a basic financial statement, all major pieces of a business plan, and information from your business-planning checklist.

Tips

  • Keep your focus on these three things:
    • Cut costs to the bone
    • Offer something unique
    • Focus on one customer group
Business Plan Checklist
  Jake R Brady


on December 22, 2011

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