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You have a great idea for a new business, but in order to get investors, loans, or partners you'll need to describe it in a formal Business Plan. You may be starting with nothing more than a dream, but to make it a reality you'll have to get your goals and strategies in writing. This step-by-step Business Plan document will help you lay out the details you need present to potential investors.
Use a Business Plan if:
You want to start a new business and want to set out the blueprint for the new venture.
You are starting a new business venture or project and would like to present a plan to potential investors which clearly outlines your business goals.
Business Plan Template, Business Plan Outline, Business Plan Format
What to include in your Business Plan:
There’s no such thing as free money. When you’re asking investors, banks, or prospective partners to float you a loan for your next business venture, you’re going to need to spell out what it is you expect to do with it. Here are the main provisions in a typical Business Plan.
General business information:
First, you’ll want to include the basics about your business. Who runs your operation, where it’s located, and, importantly, how it was formed. In other words, you’ll want to spell out whether you’re a partnership, S-Corp, C-Corp, or LLC.
It’s also a good idea to note who founded your company and what experience that person has. If this is your founders third successful venture, you’ll find getting funding a bit easier than if you’re starting at square one.
What you business does:
Obviously, prospective lenders are going to need some information about what it is your business does. Are you goods-based or service-based? What industry are you in? Who are your main competitors? This information helps give investors an idea of what they’re investing in, as well as proving your diligence as a business person. It shows you have a plan and a concept you’ll be executing and that you’re not simply asking for money just because your business is young or struggling.
What you’re going to do with your loan:
Often, a business will ask for additional funding when they’re creating a new product, expanding, or just starting out. Every business is different, so every Business Plan needs to reflect that.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll likely tell investors how you’ll be using the money to get office space or create a prototype. If you’re expanding, you might let the bank know where you’re expanding to and why you think that’s a good idea. If you’re launching a new product or service, explain it in detail: what is it you’re starting and why will it succeed?
This is a good time to mention that you should consider having anyone who looks over your Business Plan sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. That way, even if they don’t invest, they won’t be able to start a competing business or share your confidential information with competitors or other investors.
There are many other provisions about what exactly you’ll be doing with your loan in a Business Plan. You can tell investors about your marketing plan, whether your new product is seasonal, and who your target demographic is. All of these details should be filled out if they apply to you. You’ll get prompting every step of the way in our step-by-step interview.
How much money you’re asking for:
No matter what your company claims it will be doing in its Business Plan, investors want to know exactly how much you need to make it happen. More than that, they’re going to want to know when your expected break-even point is, whether they get a share of your business for giving you seed money, and when you plan to pay them back.
Other documents for business owners:
Whether you’ve got a brand new business or you’re expanding, you’ll likely have some additional legal work to do. From employee handbooks to Operating Agreements, here are just a few of the documents you may find yourself needing:
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