Creating A Business Plan That Makes Tracks

Great tips to help you write your own roadmap to success in the business world.

Creating a business plan is an important step. Often it is the step most often missed by new business owners that don't want to be bothered with paperwork. However, consider this: for those entrepreneurs that create a solid business plan, success in business nearly doubles. With new business failures so statistically high in the first five years, why wouldn't you want to increase your odds of success?

So why does a business plan matter? It's your road map to the future. Would you get in a car to go on vacation without a map to get you to your desired destination? Not unless you'd gone the route a few times previously, right?

And since this is your first go around with your new business, it's wise to create a business plan to increase your odds for success and give you a definite direction.

A business plan is also used for securing capital from banks, venture capitalists, investors and the like--none of whom will give you the time of day unless you've done your homework. If you don't care about the future of your business, why should they?

So, as they say, "Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan ." Beginning the business plan is often the most intimidating part, so let me help you along. It's not so difficult and can even be quite fun. Imagine that? Building your business plan is a little like building confidence in your future--and that always feels good.

Let's start with the elements of a business plan.

1. Executive Summary: This is a quick description of everything you will be outlining in detail below. A swift summary of the company, its products, services, and outlook for the future based on simple statistics.

2. Table Of Contents: Just like a book, the Business Plan has a Table of Contents for quick perusal.

3. The Company: This is a more in depth outline of the company, what it does, how it's organized, it's goals, direction, history, tasks, profits, etc.

4. Products and Services: An in depth description of the product or service. Basically, exactly what your business will be offering for sale.

5. Production: What is necessary to produce your product or deliver your service. This includes raw materials.

6. Marketing: A detailed marketing agenda including what and how you will advertise. You can take this straight from your marketing plan outlined in the Marketing Section.

7. Competition: A complete evaluation of your competition and how your business will meet the need in a different or better manner.

8. Obstacles: What hurdles will your business be met with? How will these hurdles be overcome?

9. Finances: Cost of the set up of your business as well as the day-to-day financial needs for overhead and marketing.

10. Milestones: This is the future time line of your business.

These are the basic elements of building your business plan. Begin by making a rough outline for each section and then build to a finished product. There are many books that offer guidance for these important planning steps. When you take the time to plan your business your business will reward you with a long future of financial stability. So jump in and make your future happen today.

Roger Kramer is the owner of AlphaServices. Alpha Services is designed to assist you whether you are just starting a business, wanting to fine tune your bottom line, planning to expand or are in serious trouble with your internal operations or suppliers. Developing business plans is his specialty; visit the Business Plan Center at

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