Business Plans

The Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Starting a Business
Business Optimization

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
Business Optimization

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
Business Optimization

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
Business Optimization

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.
When Angel Investors Reject Your Plan
Business Optimization

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
Business Optimization

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 Optimization

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
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

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.