Business Plans

Write a Winning Business Plan With These 8 Key Elements
Business Optimization

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
Business Optimization

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
Business Optimization

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 Optimization

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
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

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.