Importance of a Business Plan
Have a clear plan for how your business will operate and make money before applying for your business license. A business plan will serve as a road map for how to prepare for the rest of the business setup process. It is not a required document, but it is helpful.
Business Plan Elements:
Every business is a little different, but here are the pieces of a typical business plan:
Executive Summary: A short paragraph that gives an overview of your business and a description of the product or service you’re offering. Include your goals for the next year or two. This is the most essential part and is required if you are applying for loads through the bank.
Market Analysis: This section should answer questions like: Who are the target customers for the business? Are there any businesses providing the same service that might be in competition with your business? Would a particular location in the city be important for your business to succeed?
Organization & Management: Think about what it will take to run the business each day. Will you need employees? What will the hours of the business be? Will you close for weekends and holidays?
Service or Product: Each product that you sell costs something to make, and each service that you provide takes employee time. Carefully calculate your costs so that you know how much you need to charge customers in order to make money.
Marketing & Sales: Every business needs a way to get customers. Write about how you plan to advertise and sell. Make sure to note what those marketing and sales activities will cost and how long they will take.
Using your estimates of what it will cost to open your business,
operate, do marketing, and sell to customers, calculate how much money
you need to start. Keep in mind that there may be a gap in time between
when you start on the path to opening your business and when you receive
the first profits. Have a plan to help finance your business. A
business plan is required if applying for funding through a bank. Make
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Create a Timeline: Gauge when you would like to open.Create a realistic timeline that shows the number of days for tenant improvements and other construction related work including inspections by the city before the occupancy permit is issues. Also, you should consider extra waiting time if your business requires special permits like alcohol sales from other non-city agencies.
Consider appropriate locations: Do you need a brick and mortar location or could you have a home-based business to start?
Take a class on writing a business plan at SBDC
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) helps entrepreneurs realize the dream of business ownership. The SBDC advisors provide a variety of FREE business consulting and low-cost training services. Call, email, or visit their website to see a schedule of upcoming classes.