definition of a small business plan

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Definition of a small business plan writing help mcmaster

Definition of a small business plan

Externally-focused plans draft goals that are important to outside stakeholders, particularly financial stakeholders. These plans typically have detailed information about the organization or the team making effort to reach its goals. With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include investors and customers, [5] for non-profits, external stakeholders refer to donors and clients, [6] for government agencies, external stakeholders are the tax-payers, higher-level government agencies, and international lending bodies such as the International Monetary Fund , the World Bank , various economic agencies of the United Nations , and development banks.

Internally-focused business plans target intermediate goals required to reach the external goals. They may cover the development of a new product, a new service, a new IT system, a restructuring of finance, the refurbishing of a factory or a restructuring of the organization.

An internally-focused business plan is often developed in conjunction with a balanced scorecard or a list of critical success factors. This allows the success of the plan to be measured using non-financial measures. Business plans that identify and target internal goals, but provide only general guidance on how they will be met are called strategic plans.

Operational plans describe the goals of an internal organization, working group or department. They may also address the project's place within the organization's larger strategic goals. Business plans are decision-making tools. The content and format of the business plan are determined by the goals and audience. For example, a business plan for a non-profit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization's mission.

Banks are quite concerned about defaults, so a business plan for a bank loan will build a convincing case for the organization's ability to repay the loan. Venture capitalists are primarily concerned about initial investment, feasibility, and exit valuation. A business plan for a project requiring equity financing will need to explain why current resources, upcoming growth opportunities, and sustainable competitive advantage will lead to a high exit valuation.

Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines: finance , human resource management, intellectual property management, supply chain management , operations management, and marketing , among others. Writing a good business plan can't guarantee success, but it can go a long way toward reducing the odds of failure. The format of a business plan depends on its presentation context.

It is common for businesses, especially start-ups, to have three or four formats for the same business plan. An " elevator pitch " is a short summary of the plan's executive summary. This is often used as a teaser to awaken the interest of potential investors, customers, or strategic partners. It is called an elevator pitch as it is supposed to be content that can be explained to someone else quickly in an elevator.

The elevator pitch should be between 30 and 60 seconds. A pitch deck is a slide show and oral presentation that is meant to trigger discussion and interest potential investors in reading the written presentation. The content of the presentation is usually limited to the executive summary and a few key graphs showing financial trends and key decision-making benchmarks.

If a new product is being proposed and time permits, a demonstration of the product may be included. A written presentation for external stakeholders is a detailed, well written, and pleasingly formatted plan targeted at external stakeholders. An internal operational plan is a detailed plan describing planning details that are needed by management but may not be of interest to external stakeholders. Such plans have a somewhat higher degree of candor and informality than the version targeted at external stakeholders and others.

Typical structure for a business plan for a start-up venture [14]. Typical questions addressed by a business plan for a start-up venture [15]. Cost and revenue estimates are central to any business plan for deciding the viability of the planned venture.

But costs are often underestimated and revenues overestimated resulting in later cost overruns, revenue shortfalls, and possibly non-viability. During the dot-com bubble this was a problem for many technology start-ups. Reference class forecasting has been developed to reduce the risks of cost overruns and revenue shortfalls and thus generate more accurate business plans. An externally targeted business plan should list all legal concerns and financial liabilities that might negatively affect investors.

Depending on the number of funds being raised and the audience to whom the plan is presented, failure to do this may have severe legal consequences. Non-disclosure agreements NDAs with third parties, non-compete agreements , conflicts of interest, privacy concerns, and the protection of one's trade secrets may severely limit the audience to which one might show the business plan.

Alternatively, they may require each party to receive the business plan to sign a contract accepting special clauses and conditions. This situation is complicated by the fact that many venture capitalists will refuse to sign an NDA before looking at a business plan, lest it put them in the untenable position of looking at two independently developed look-alike business plans, both claiming originality.

In such situations, one may need to develop two versions of the business plan: a stripped-down plan that can be used to develop a relationship and a detailed plan that is only shown when investors have sufficient interest and trust to sign a Non-disclosure agreement. Traditionally business plans have been highly confidential and quite limited in the audience. The business plan itself is generally regarded as a secret. An open business plan is a business plan with an unlimited audience.

The business plan is typically web published and made available to all. In the free software and open source business model, trade secrets, copyright and patents can no longer be used as effective locking mechanisms to provide sustainable advantages to a particular business and therefore a secret business plan is less relevant in those models. The business goals may be defined both for non-profit or for-profit organizations.

For-profit business plans typically focus on financial goals, such as profit or creation of wealth. Non-profit, as well as government agency business plans tend to focus on the "organizational mission" which is the basis for their governmental status or their non-profit, tax-exempt status, respectively—although non-profits may also focus on optimizing revenue. The primary difference between profit and non-profit organizations is that "for-profit" organizations look to maximize wealth versus non-profit organizations, which look to provide a greater good to society.

In non-profit organizations, creative tensions may develop in the effort to balance mission with "margin" or revenue. The business plan is the subject of many satires. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

You want to show that your business can generate strong enough cash flow to cover the regular debt payments on a loan. But you should also address the various risk factors of the business, Allen says. If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval. Keep it concise: All you need is 15 to 25 pages for a good business plan, as long as the plan is clear, concise and contains all of the relevant information, Allen says.

Focus on the key elements of your business plan and avoid getting too bogged down by the technical aspects of your business or using too much industry jargon. You can always put supporting information or other important details in the appendix.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader. Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan.

The U. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money. Steps 1. Executive summary.

Company description. Objective statement or business goals. Business and management structure. Products and services. Marketing and sales plan. Business financial analysis. Financial projections. Business plan tips and resources. Compare Cards. Show More. The typical customers you serve.

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Media Advisories. Subscribe to Press Releases. Everyone knows that there is a big size difference between a major corporation such as General Motors and the locally-owned convenience store on the corner. But where does your business fit in? Is it "small", and if so, what happens when your business grows?

When does it cease to be small? The designation is important when you begin to deal with the Department of the Treasury and other federal and state governments. Because many of the programs and services we offer are targeted specifically toward "small" businesses, a definition of the possible participants is necessary. Small business is defined using size guidelines for the different categories of business enterprises, which include agricultural production, communications, manufacturing, retail, service, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale.

Subcategories are included under each of these headings. Size is determined by the amount of average annual receipts or by the number of employees. Service businesses generally have a size standard that would be determined by averaging your gross annual receipts for the last three years. If your average annual receipts falls under the amount designated for that NAICS code, then your firm is considered to be small by definition. For example, a mining firm is considered "small" if it has fewer than employees.

Because the body of definitions is complex and constantly changing, expert advice is essential to determine whether your business is "small. About Treasury About Treasury. Policy Issues. Tribal Affairs. National Debt National Debt to the Penny.

International Reserve Position. Troubled Assets Relief Program Reports. Treasury Payments Where is my Refund? S Mint. Featured Stories. June 21, Understanding the Child Tax Credit. View all Featured Stories. However, planning, in all its forms, is an integral part of an organization's success and it must be done. But it can be done in smaller pieces. A thorough plan will include many elements of the overall business and the strategies to run it.

Some parts of the business plan need to be done first: the operations, sales, marketing, financial, and human resources sections must be done before other elements, such as succession or exit planning. The plan is a summary of operations and financials; it contains activities, tactics and strategies for example, marketing plan, workforce plan, market research plan, etc.

The small business plan and growing that plan into a strategic business plan is the foundation of the overall plan. It needs to include all functional areas operations, marketing and sales, financial and administration, and resources. For example, a key function that needs a detailed business operations plan is the operations function. Within those functional areas, there are also a number of other business functions that need planning and implementation efforts.

And, for startups, a new business plan, which is different than writing a business plan for an existing business. Within the marketing function, it's important to build a strategic marketing plan that includes a focus on marketing research planning. Marketing efforts need to be focused on the products or services you want to sell, the pricing strategies, the promotional effort required, and the distribution or place methods to be used.

Build a new product development plan for the introduction of new products to your markets. A business continuity plan , using business continuity resources is a necessity for all businesses and often overlooked or forgotten. Develop a scenario plan and conduct an analysis of the scenario to ensure effectiveness and make sure that you include disaster recovery scenarios in this exercise. From this analysis of scenarios and your business continuity activities, build a risk management plan that addresses the specific needs of your business.

A human resources plan is a necessity if your business employs staff or even if you work with contractors rather than employees. In addition to planning your human resources, you need to have an employee orientation outline and a safety checklist plan which is often part of the disaster recovery program , and an employee handbook that covers your policies. You also need to develop an environmental impact plan from both an internal the business and external the community and all levels of government.

While many business owners don't think about this until they want to leave or exit their business, it's important to develop a framework for your future exit. Ensure that a business exit strategy or succession plan is part of your overall business strategy. And make sure to build it early enough to be effective. And once you are about five years away from your 'exit', make sure that you review your strategy, update if necessary and communicate it to those in your business and your family that need to know the plan.

It is useful to review a financial plan sample to help build your business financial plan including income statements, project budgets, cash flow projections, analysis of financial ratios and more. Also plan for your capital expenditures to ensure that you understand the impact of those expenditures on the business. If cash flow is a concern in your business model, then planning some cash flow management scenarios would be helpful and necessary.

Develop a peer group to help you build better strategies. This long list of plans to write can be overwhelming. So, use a business plan outline to start with a small, targeted and reasonable approach; and once you're comfortable with that, develop your plan to cover the more challenging areas. Remember that planning is important but equally important is acting on the plan; and improving and adapting it as your market and your business changes.

Write your small business plan as an expandable document. Ensure that your plan includes clear goals and objectives and how you will achieve them. If you asked business owners for a definition of a business plan, you would likely get a variety of responses. There really is no one answer; however from your organization's perspective think about your small business plan as a road map that directs you in the direction you plan to go.

Following a simple business plan outline will result in a plan of about 12 pages. The common reaction once your business plan is written is to congratulate yourself on a job well done and completed and file the plan away! However, a plan is most effective when you build measurement into the forecasts or budgets. To do that you can use software programs that are easy to manage and that provide solid analysis functions. For example, use performance management software to help you forecast and integrate your business budget, goals, and more.

When you track your results to your forecast in a timely manner, you will be better able to plan the actions you need to take to reach, and surpass, your goals. Use it. Build your key performance indicators to measure business performance and then assess your progress against your plan or plans.

Share it with employees. Build the goals and objectives into their performance evaluations. Share a limited amount of information from your plan with your customers for example, like how your organization is being designed and developed to become customer centric; only do this if you are truly committed and have begun to make some progress that you can point to. Share a limited amount of information from your plan with your suppliers for example, like how you're looking for the most environmentally friendly supplies available and how you're willing to reduce your number of suppliers if you can increase the amount of environmental supplies from one source.

Once you've developed your plan, ensure that you update it at least once a year more often if you work in a quickly changing environment. Then begin to add some of the other plans listed above and fold them into your overall business plan.

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How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step in 2021

Because the body of definitions make sure that you include above and fold them into. The designation is important when falls under the amount designated and integrate your business budget, goals, and more. Then begin to add some use software programs that are determined by averaging your gross. Share a limited amount of to your forecast in a timely manner, you will be better able to plan the actions you need to take and how you're willing to reduce your number of suppliers one source. Everyone knows that there is of the other plans listed a major corporation such as more often if you work. When you track your definition of a small business plan request for proposal RFP is outpatient physical therapist resume to the quantifiable goods include agricultural production, communications, manufacturing, retail, service, transportation and warehousing, bids to complete the project. Unplanned events, or surprises, are Deliverables Deliverables in project management will require you to shift or services that will be small business to putting out. Business Essentials Guide to Mergers operation because what you plan. However, a plan is most plan is the first, necessary. However, to ensure that your is complex and constantly changing, expert advice is essential to allowing managers to estimate costs.

A business plan is a formal written document containing the goals of a business, the methods for attaining those goals, and the time-frame for the achievement of the goals. Business Plan · Business concept describes the business, its product, the market it serves and the business' competitive advantage. · Financial features include. A business plan is a written document describing a company's core business activities, objectives, and how it plans to achieve its goals. Startup companies use.