Business Plans

The 4 Pitfalls Small Businesses Face
Business Optimization

The 4 Pitfalls Small Businesses Face

Launching and running a company is no walk in the park. Be aware of these challenges before you jump into starting a business.
JT Ripton
Your Mission Statement May Be Utterly Useless or a Gold Mine
Business Optimization

Your Mission Statement May Be Utterly Useless or a Gold Mine

Make yours meaningful by defining goals and specific strategies for customers, the enterprise and owners. Or skip one if there's no business purpose for it.
Tim Berry
What Happens to Your Business If You Die?
Business Optimization

What Happens to Your Business If You Die?

What happens when you want to retire and stop running your business? Here are a few tidbits of advice on how to keep your company growing, even when you are no longer the boss.
Melanie Spring
The Lie Entrepreneurs Tell Themselves and Others
Business Optimization

The Lie Entrepreneurs Tell Themselves and Others

Entrepreneurs often seem like they are so put together – their plan is on target, they are doing amazing and life couldn't be better. But many times that couldn't be further from the truth. And that is okay.
Tom Kulzer
How Do I Build a Business Plan? (Infographic)
Business Optimization

How Do I Build a Business Plan? (Infographic)

Take a look at this infographic for tips on how to write a great business plan.
Nina Zipkin
Don't Be a 'Pividiot.' Follow These Tips.
Business Optimization

Don't Be a 'Pividiot.' Follow These Tips.

Constantly changing directions can harm your business. So how do you know when it's a good time to pivot?
Matthew Toren
Lessons From the Boston Red Sox That Can Help Your Business in the New Year
Business Optimization

Lessons From the Boston Red Sox That Can Help Your Business in the New Year

As 2014 approaches, consider these three important lessons gleaned from the World Series baseball champions.
Trevor Turnbull
When Planning for the Future, Keep Your Past in Perspective
Business Optimization

When Planning for the Future, Keep Your Past in Perspective

In order to grow and improve your startup, it helps to take a close look at hidden and existing assets.
Debra Kaye
A Business Plan for the Startup Economy
Business Optimization

A Business Plan for the Startup Economy

Access to capital is key in helping high-growth startups get off the ground and running. Here are two ways to help get them there.
Karen Mills
Business Optimization

10 Business Plan Benefits You Might Be Forgetting

If you think creating a business plan is not for you, think again. Here are ten ways your business plan can help you be a better entrepreneur.
Tim Berry
Do Angry McDonald's Franchisees Have a Leg to Stand On?
Business Optimization

Do Angry McDonald's Franchisees Have a Leg to Stand On?

If you're thinking of becoming the owner of any franchise someday, there's an important lesson contained in what's currently going on with this fast-food giant.
Joel Libava
Why You Shouldn't Send Your Business Plan to Investors
Business Optimization

Why You Shouldn't Send Your Business Plan to Investors

Creating a business plan is important. But the trick is in learning how to leverage it to best get funding.
Dave Lavinsky
Good Entrepreneurs Borrow, Great Ones Steal
Business Optimization

Good Entrepreneurs Borrow, Great Ones Steal

Fabrice Grinda expands on International Idea Arbitrage and how to execute existing ideas in emerging markets.
Dave Lerner

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.