Developing a Good Business Plan

With so many free business plans and software package solutions available, it is tempting to just grab the first free solution that comes your way. However, is it really going to help you succeed? Instead, ask yourself these three questions to decide whether a free business plan or paid business plan software (whether a free template or paid) is right for you. These tips will help make your decision a lot easier.

A. Does use a free business plan template to help your professional business plan development? The answer is most definitely yes. However, this doesn’t mean that you should grab the first one you find. Make sure you are not only using the template correctly but also getting expert advice from someone who knows how to properly customize and fine-tune a professional template to fit your particular needs.

B. Why is it important to understand your target market? When writing a business plan, it is important to clearly identify your target audience as well as know what type of services or products you will provide them. This includes understanding who your target market is, what kind of industries they come from, and how they think.

C. What type of information should you collect from your sample plan? Your target market analysis will require you to collect contact information as well as any number of other data that could prove helpful in your startup. What you collect is going to be critical to your overall startup success. Some of the information you might want to consider collecting are demographics, competitor analysis, geographic location, geographic coverage, customer characteristics, and other important information regarding your target market.

D. Do not skimp on this section. Every section of a business plan is critical to the startup and growth of your business. You will want to identify all funding sources needed as well as which companies you will approach for assistance. In your startup research, identify every segment of the population that could provide funding for your company.

E. Do not overlook this section. The financial projections are critical to your startup. This projection should include everything from monthly and long-term costs to help determine whether your business has the potential to break even or generate enough revenue to pay back your start-up fees as well as your investors. A well-crafted financial projection will go a long way toward convincing your startup team and potential investors that your company has the ability to run profitably right from the get-go.

F. Finish with your company overview and executive summary. These are the final sections of your free business plan. These final sections will lay out the details of your services to potential customers as well as detail what steps you will take to grow your company. The executive summary will give an in-depth look at your company’s business model as well as highlight some key personnel, goals, and achievements. If you are planning on raising financing then the executive summary will be essential to convincing a potential funding agency that your business has the potential to achieve the goals you laid out in the startup plan.

A good business plan is fundamental to a successful business startup and expansion. If you have trouble developing one, consider using templates or online services to develop this important document. Have someone that is well versed in this process review it for you and offer suggestions and amendments. Remember, your financial plan, marketing plan, and executive summary must be solid and well laid out in order to get the ball rolling so start writing.

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