Guide for Completing the Business Plan
Using the Template
Cover Sheet – the business template has a first page called the “cover”. Throw this page away when you print the business plan it is only a place holder so that the Table of Contents page numbers are correct. You can replace this placeholder with a picture and graphic, or add a heavy cover printed on specialty paper.
Inside Cover: You should put the contact information here. Replace the XXX with your company name in the disclaimer. You probably shouldn’t put personal information on the cover.
Table of Contents: Any text in the Heading 1 style is included in the TOC.
Before you get started in developing your business plan you should understand what the business plan is for, and why all financial institutions and investors insist on seeing the business plan as a fundamental due diligence before making any decisions. You can approach the business plan as a monumental hurdle to jump over on your road to success. If your view is that someone is “making” you or “forcing” you to complete a plan as one of the “hoops” to jump through, you will have a sour attitude as you start this journey. Of course there is some work to it, but it’s your plan and your future and the task should be an exciting learning experience.
People starting to write a business plan often worry about “doing it right” or they fret that they don’t know what the reader “expects”. For the most part a business plan is telling the story of how this business venture is going to work.
Realistically of course, execution is as important (or maybe more so) than just having a plan. No matter how elegantly written, the plan is just paper until you actually move on it. The person evaluating your plan looks at the written work as a game plan. The game plan has to be solid, but the person or persons leading the company must be capable leaders that can execute the plan and are willing and able to make mid-course adjustments and corrections as market conditions change. If you don’t have both sides of the equation nobody is going to back the venture.
Consider the end game, at some point everyone with money in the business will want to get their investment back out? Even if the only money invested is yours, you probably don’t want your money tied up indefinitely. Thinking about the exit strategy often changes how the initial business formation is structured.