Business Plans: A Step-by-Step Guide
A business plan is a written description of your business's future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've written a plan, or at least the germ of a plan.
Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities. You want to get to a there, a point in the future (usually three to five years out) at which time your business will have a different set of resources and abilities as well as greater profitability and increased assets. Your plan shows how you will get from here to there.
You can visit our small business encyclopedia to learn more about business plans or our FormNet area to get the necessary forms to get started.
Before writing your plan
- How Long Should Your Plan Be?
- When Should You Write It?
- Who Needs A Business Plan?
- Why Should You Write A Business Plan?
- Determine Your Goals and Objectives
- Outline Your Financing Needs
- Plan What You'll Do With Your Plan
- Don't Forget About Marketing
Writing your business plan
- How To Write A Business Plan
- How to Start A Business
- The Ingredients of a Marketing Plan
- Updating Your Business Plan
- Enhancing Your Business Plan
Business Plan Tools
Business Planning Videos
At our Entrepreneur Magazine Roundtable, financial pros offer tough talk about the business plans of first-time entrepreneurs.
Tim Berry, president of Palo Alto Software Inc., responds to a reader seeking advice on finding a low-cost writer to help with a business plan.
Related: More business plan articles