Business Plans

5 Schools That Offer Serious Cash for Business Plan Competitions
Business Optimization

5 Schools That Offer Serious Cash for Business Plan Competitions

These only thing bigger than the prize money at these schools is their entrepreneurial spirit.
The Princeton Review Staff
The Essential Guide to Writing a Business Plan
Business Optimization

The Essential Guide to Writing a Business Plan

Here's the no-nonsense guide on how to write a business plan that will help you map success for your startup.
Carolyn Sun
Want Success? All You Have to Do Is Dream -- and Organize, Validate and Execute.
Business Optimization

Want Success? All You Have to Do Is Dream -- and Organize, Validate and Execute.

Use the D.O.V.E technique, and watch your great idea transform into a viable business for the long term.
Ken Dunn
Vision Statements: Why You Need One and How to Create One
Business Optimization

Vision Statements: Why You Need One and How to Create One

To create a marketing plan that delivers the lifestyle you want from your business, you need a clear vision of what your ideal lifestyle would be. Find out how to write one that spells out who you are.
Robert W. Bly
9 Reasons Why Your Business Growth Has Plateaued -- and How to Fix That
Business Optimization

9 Reasons Why Your Business Growth Has Plateaued -- and How to Fix That

An outdated business plan and a lack of drive are just a couple of reasons why you might be stuck.
Chelsea Berler
Don't Wait for a Disaster to Interrupt Business. Prepare Now.
Business Optimization

Don't Wait for a Disaster to Interrupt Business. Prepare Now.

Forty to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. Make sure yours isn't one of them.
Ted Devine
10 Signs Your Company Has Outgrown the Startup Phase
Business Optimization

10 Signs Your Company Has Outgrown the Startup Phase

You're no longer a startup when investors inquire about your company without you begging.
Peter Daisyme
4 Books Your Timid Entrepreneurial Heart Wants You to Read
Business Optimization

4 Books Your Timid Entrepreneurial Heart Wants You to Read

Fearful about taking those first steps? Others have felt the same way. They've written whole books about it.
Sarah Vermunt
Here Are 6 Considerations When You're Thinking of Selling Your Business
Business Optimization

Here Are 6 Considerations When You're Thinking of Selling Your Business

Incredible opportunity, both personal and professional, can come from a sale. But you've also got to be prepared for what lies ahead.
Nellie Akalp
A Simple 6-Step Process to Starting a Small Business
Business Optimization

A Simple 6-Step Process to Starting a Small Business

It can be easier than you think if your break it down in small moves forward.
Matthew Toren
5 Common Business Plan Mistakes That Torpedo Startups
Business Optimization

5 Common Business Plan Mistakes That Torpedo Startups

Your business plan isn't a romance novel, so don't depend on just your passion to get investors interested in reading it.
Larry Alton
5 Signs You Are Ready to Start Up Even If You Don't Think So
Business Optimization

5 Signs You Are Ready to Start Up Even If You Don't Think So

Past a certain point, more preparation is just stalling.
Michael Noice
The Power of Planning: NASA's Pluto Flyby Was Epic and Amazing
Business Optimization

The Power of Planning: NASA's Pluto Flyby Was Epic and Amazing

The mission, which is still underway but looking ever more promising, marks an unparalleled display of patience and coordination.
Geoff Weiss
New Study Finds Rats May Plan for the Future While Dreaming
Business Optimization

New Study Finds Rats May Plan for the Future While Dreaming

Researchers from University College London found that when rats dream, their brain activity suggests that they are trying to work out different ways to get to the things they want, like food.
Nina Zipkin

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.