What is a business plan?


Do you find your self asking exactly what is a business plan and why do you need one?

A business plan is a document that explains a business opportunity, identifies the target market, and provides details how it is to be pursued.

In order to start a business successfully a solid foundation is required. If you ask most business people “what is a business plan for" they will most likely tell you that it’s in order to get funding. While it’s true that’s its essential for any business seeking funding, it’s also the keystone of your business and with out one you are unlikely to succeed.

• The very act of writing a plan will force you to focus on the key elements of your business – which may well show that you have missed something important.
• Working through the plan with a trusted and experienced outsider will reveal weakness allowing you to fix the highlighted problems and improve your chance of success.
• Remember your business plan is the blue print for operating your business it pays to take time to ensure its right.
• A business plan is any plan that works for a business to look ahead, allocate resources, focus on key points, and prepare for problems and opportunities.

It is unnfortunate that if asked "what is a business plan" many people think of business plans only for starting a new business or applying for business loans. But it is important to understand that they are also vital for running a business, whether or not the business needs new loans or new investments. Businesses need plans to optimize growth and development according to priorities.

What is a business plan format like?

A simple business plan includes a summary, mission statement, keys to success, market analysis, and break-even analysis. This kind of plan is good for deciding whether or not to proceed with a plan, to tell if there is a business worth pursuing, but it is not enough to run a business with.

Is there a standard business plan?

A normal business plan (one that follows the advice of business experts) includes a standard set of elements, as shown below. Plan formats and outlines vary, but generally a plan will include components such as descriptions of the company, product or service, market, forecasts, management team, and financial analysis.

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