Business Plans

How to Anticipate Cash-Flow Problems
Cash Flow

How to Anticipate Cash-Flow Problems

Do advance planning to avoid a crash course in the lesson you don't want to learn the hard way.
Tim Berry
The Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Starting a Business
Startup Mistakes

The Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Starting a Business

Sure, you're idea is unique but how businesses survive, or don't, is the same for everybody.
Robert Tuchman
Dress Well and Leave the 'Umms' at Home -- 5 Ways to Ace an Investor Pitch
Pitching investors

Dress Well and Leave the 'Umms' at Home -- 5 Ways to Ace an Investor Pitch

There's one thing worse than watching an entrepreneur crumble under a fatal barrage of questions.
Eric Schiffer
How to Build a Business in Just 10 Days
Starting a Business

How to Build a Business in Just 10 Days

Get a thriving company off the ground with this plan.
Nina Zipkin
How a Family-Owned Firm Can Beat the Odds and Pivot
Family Businesses

How a Family-Owned Firm Can Beat the Odds and Pivot

Use a leadership change as a catalyst for a shift in the business model to keep up with trends.
Sabrina Parsons
When Angel Investors Reject Your Plan
Angel Investors

When Angel Investors Reject Your Plan

If those you've approached for money say no, try to figure out why. Maybe it will lead to some good news.
Tim Berry
How to Evaluate Your Startup Like a VC
Startups

How to Evaluate Your Startup Like a VC

The are six factors that investors will focus on when evaluating your business. Know them by heart.
Steve Tobak
3 Questions Every Business Owner Needs to Ask Themselves In July
Business Plans

3 Questions Every Business Owner Needs to Ask Themselves In July

With summer in full swing and the start of the third quarter, it's time to take an honest look at your progress.
Matthew Toren
What a Teen's Summer Job Can Teach Us About Good Business Practices
Lessons

What a Teen's Summer Job Can Teach Us About Good Business Practices

Lessons come from everywhere -- even that kid selling ice cream from a boat.
Jonathan Long
Write a Winning Business Plan With These 8 Key Elements
Business Plans

Write a Winning Business Plan With These 8 Key Elements

Before you launch your company, create a document that will serve as its foundation.
David Ciccarelli
Richard Branson on Why Compassion Is a Competitive Advantage
Doing Good

Richard Branson on Why Compassion Is a Competitive Advantage

Business used to be a cutthroat world where the only thing that mattered was profit -- but that's changing quickly.
Richard Branson
Business Plans

5 Steps for Creating a Long-Term Plan for Your Startup

Having a clear vision of your company's long-term trajectory is essential to ensuring its success.
Georgia Travers
Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec on Great Business Pitches and Why Sales Reps Need to Be Chameleons
Leadership Qualities

Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec on Great Business Pitches and Why Sales Reps Need to Be Chameleons

The serial entrepreneur and investor explains how company plans should be framed around customer needs -- and his sartorial choices.
Robert Herjavec
Facing Startup Uncertainty? Try 2 Different Ways to Plan for the Future.
Business Planning

Facing Startup Uncertainty? Try 2 Different Ways to Plan for the Future.

New business owners often rely on prediction or creation logic -- and sometimes use both.
Peter S. Cohan

For any entrepreneur planning to start a business, writing a business plan is a helpful way to clarify what service or products the company provides, as well as your business goals and how to to reach them. Business plans are considered a mandatory step for entrepreneurs seeking funding from venture capitalists or banks.  

What to include: Business plans vary in length -- anywhere from 20 to 50 pages -- but typically cover the same topics, such as: Cover Page (essential contact information); Executive Summary (what your business does and what market need it solves); Company Overview (profile of company and successes); Industry Analysis (details about the market); Customer Analysis (who are the customers); Competitive Analysis (identify key competitors); Marketing Plan (your brand and how do you plan on getting it in front of customers); Operations Plan (daily and yearly operational processes for success); Management Team (identify key company personnel); and Financial Plans (revenue projections for three to five years).      

Helpful resources: For guidance on how to write a business plan, read “Business Plans: A Step-by-Step Guide” and Write Your Business Plan from the staff of Entrepreneur Media.

 
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