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What elements should you include in your business plan?

Having an idea you can build upon and the motivation and drive to actually pursue that idea can be great starting blocks for forming your own business. However, these factors are not enough to completely get a company off the ground. In fact, you will need to take several steps before you even consider opening your doors for operation.

Among those first steps is creating a business plan. You may think it is obvious to have a plan in order for your venture to prove successful, but business plans often consist of specific elements. Exploring these elements may allow you to consider aspects of your proposed business that you had not considered before and allow you to delve deeper into your business interests.

What should you include in your plan?

Your plan will, generally, describe your business and help you estimate where your company will go in the future. These plans commonly include elements like the following:

  • An executive summary essentially gives an overview of the business plan in a shorter format.
  • A company description that details what your company will do, but that description needs to go into further detail than something as simple as "sell products."
  • Your market analysis will include information regarding the industry you hope to enter, the market to which you want to target your product or service, and how the competition compares.
  • You may also want to include an organizational structure that gives an overview of management positions and other roles.
  • It is also important to include a description of the product or services you plan to offer.
  • Your plan can also detail your intentions for marketing your company and what you intend to move forward with in terms of sales strategies.
  • Because money is important to businesses in many capacities, your plan may also include requests for funding, how much funding you may need for a certain period of years and what your financial projections for your company are.

You may wonder about the benefits of putting this information into a plan, but a business plan can go beyond simply helping you get your ideas organized. You can present your business plan to potential investors, bankers, employees and others to give them a thorough but not overly detailed look at your business proposal.

Creating your plan

If you hope to get started on creating a formal business plan, you may want to discuss this step with a business law attorney. This legal professional can help you understand the importance of having a plan as you work to fully form your business and assist you throughout the formation process.

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