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CVB

the small business resource center

Writing a Business Plan

One of the most important steps to take when starting or expanding a business is to write a business plan. A business plan is a description of your business, including your product or service, your market(s), your people, and your financial needs.

To convince a banker or investor of the merits of a loan request, a borrower must present complete, well-organized information. It is important to remember that the proper packaging of a loan proposal can be an important step in getting it approved. Business plan resources and advice can be found at the following web sites:
www.sba.gov
www.bplans.com
www.entrepreneur.com/businessplan/index.html

Business Plan Outline

This is an example of what a business plan outline should include.

 

I. Cover Page

     A. Name of Business
     B. Name of Principals
     C. Address and Telephone Number of Business

II. Table of Contents

III. Executive Summary

IV. Mission, Goals, and Objectives

V. The Business

     A. Overview of Industry
     B. Description of the Business
     C. Legal Entity
     D. Location of the Business
     E. Management
     F. Personnel
     G. Professional Services

VI. Marketing Analysis

     A. Your Products/Services
     B. Life Cycle/Seasonality
     C. Market Analysis
     D. Customer Profile
     E. Competitive Analysis
     F. Market Potential

VII. Marketing Strategies

     A. Location/Distribution
     B. Price/Quality Relationship
     C. Business Image and Packaging
     D. Public Relations and Advertising
     E. Customer Service

VIII. Books, Records, Controls

     A. Record Keeping Checklist
     B. Other Operational Controls

IX. Financial Data

     A. Sources and Applications of Funding
     B. Capital Equipment List
     C. Balance Sheet
     D. Break Even Analysis
     E. Income Statements
     F. Monthly Cash Flow Projections
     G. Start-up Budget
     H. Notes of Explanation
     I. For an Existing Business:
          1. Historical Financial Reports
          2. Balance Sheets for Past Three Years
          3. Tax Returns

X. Supporting Documents

     A. Personal Resumes and Financial Statements
     B. Job Descriptions
     C. Credit Reports
     D. Letters of Reference
     E. Letters of Intent
     F. Copies of Leases, Contracts, Legal Documents