We all need a plan

I have a number of clients that are brick and mortar that I have been helping with the creation of a business plan. I have been using a really simple template to help guide them. This is really an easy to configure for almost any type of traditional business, it does not really translate well to more Internet centric business ideas.

I hope that you find this helpful.

a. A statement of the goals of the company
b. A list of specific objectives and when they will be accomplished

a. Description of the product line. If the company anticipates developing more than one product, how will the promotion and manufacture of one affect the other?
b. Proprietary position: patents, copyrights, trademarks and other legal and technical considerations.
c. Requirements of regulatory agencies
d. Comparison to competitors’ products
e. Break even analysis by product

a. Management experience or skill
b. Product superiority or price advantage
c. Market advantages, such as a large contract with a major customer or supplier
d. Other advantages, such as proximity to a large market or proximity to labor, supplies, raw materials, energy, transportation or cheap land

a. Description of the target market and an approximation of its size and growth potential
b. Site selection for the retail outlets: traffic count, disposable income and other demographic characterizes of surrounding area.
c. Industry trends
d. Competitors and an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses

a. Specific goals and timetables for market penetration.
b. Overall strategy and how this will be affected by the reactions of competitors
c. Relationship with suppliers and distributors and any distribution of licensing agreements.
d. Pricing policy: whether it will be determined by competition or by cost of goods, and how market forces will affect pricing.
e. Selling policy: selection between sales and leasing, credit and payment terms.
f. How products will be distributed: Licensing, franchising, agency contracts, wholesaling, retailing or direct sales.
g. Service arrangements, product support and customer training, and warranty terms.
h. Promotion and advertising plans.


a. Materials and components required for products.
b. Sources of supply and alternatives if materials become unavailable.
c. Productions methods.
d. Conditions of the productions facilities and equipment
e. Environmental factors restricting use of chemicals, disposal of wastes, pollution and noise control. Potential impact?
f. Labor requirements and effects of strides, collective bargaining and turnover. How will changes in compensation structure or productivity affect the business?
g. Availability and cost of transportation, energy and other utilities.
h. Quality assurance procedures.
i. Plant capacity and long-term alternatives.

a. Form of business organization.
b. Board of Directors composition.
c. Detail of stock ownership, names of stockholders and shares owned. Potential ownership – warrants, rights and options should also be discussed.
d. Organization chart and responsibilities of officers.
e. Experience and background of principals and key employees and any potential problems, such as agreements not to compete.
f. Investment involvement of principals.
g. Staffing plan/number of employees. Include, plans for additions of employees, when they will be needed and the qualifications that will be required.
h. Space requirements, facilities plan and planned capital improvements.
i. Opera ting plan and schedule of upcoming work for next one to two years.
j. Internal control, accounting, inventory and management reporting systems.

a. Current audited financial statements, if available.
b. Five-year financial projections (first year by quarters, remaining years annually) including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, cash flow statement and capital expenditure estimates.
c. Explanation of projections (assumptions).
d. Start-up and research and development costs.
e.. Analysis of capitalization decisions, such as whether to lease or buy equipment.
f. Analysis of fixed costs versus chose chat vary niche business or production levels.
g. Key business ratios with comparison to industry averages.
h. Access to funding sources, such as industrial revenue bonds and government land grants.
i. Analysis of cost alternatives, such as subcontracting for production of components rather than producing them in-house or contracting with outsiders for financial or other services.
j. Explanation of use and effect of new funds.
k. Potential return to investor compared to competitors and the industry in general.

If the business plan will be used for presentation to potential lenders or investors, it should be prefaced with an executive summary. This summary is to give the reader an overview of the business plan. It must be well written, brief (two to five pages at the most) and to the point. It should include these items:
a. Purpose of the business plan: for example, to attract investment from venture capitalists.
b. Business description: name, location and plant description, product, market and competition, and management expertise.
c. Business goals and timetable
d. The market and competition, both current and anticipated, and a discussion of market share.
e. Summary of your market strategy.
f. Listing of key management personnel and their experience.
g. Summary of the unique advantages that will contribute to the success of the business.
h. Summary of financial needs and application of funds
i. Payback period, earnings projections and potential return to investors.

Remember that although the summary should ideally catch the reader’s eye and induce them to read more, it will be the only thing that some of them read. As a result, it should present your company to potential lenders and investors and not only clearly and concisely, but also completely.

If you use your business pan as the basis for applying for a loan from a bank, you may be required to provide additional information about yourself and your personal financial situations. Such additional items might include credit references, income tax returns and personal financial statements.