How To Plan Your Business

[Back to top] This section provides a snapshot of your small business. It should include a mission statement, which explains the main focus of your business, as well as a brief description of the products or services offered, basic information such as ownership structure, and a summary of your plans.“They know what you can expect sales to be for that type of business in that market,” Allen says.

[Back to top] This is simply an explanation of what your marketing strategy is and how you will execute it.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

[Back to top] Now that you’ve written your business plan, here are some tips to help your hard work stand out: Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well.

Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.

[Back to top] List any supporting information or other additional information that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts, and personal and business credit history.

If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.“I always feel like if the person can’t even bother to proofread something that they wrote, how detail-oriented is this person in running their business? 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. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers, which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance. Appendix Business plan tips and resources This is the first page of your business plan.» MORE: Best loans for working capital [Back to top] Here, you’ll list your business’s legal structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — as well as key employees, managers or other owners of the business. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. " At Nerd Wallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. A business plan can make or break a small business. [Back to top] An objective statement should clearly define your company’s goals and contain a business strategy that details how you plan to achieve them. We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. It contains important information including its registered name, address of any physical locations, names of key people in the business, history of the company, nature of the business and more details about products or services that it offers or will offer.“It’s OK to be optimistic if you can justify it,” Allen says.“In general, you don’t want to stand out in a negative way by being too optimistic.” You want to show that your business can generate strong enough cash flow to cover the regular debt payments on a loan.To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. A strong, detailed plan provides a clear road map for the future, forces you to think through the validity of a business idea, and can give you much greater understanding of your business’s financials and the competition. It spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.A business plan typically looks out over three to five years, detailing all of your goals and how you plan to achieve them. If you’re looking for outside funding, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets.

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