What is a business plan: A business plan is a living document that helps you to think through the different parts of your business concept or project. Thinking through your concept/project helps you to position yourself to make the best decisions that will lead to success. The business plan can also be used to help inform and influence a group of people (investors, business partners, bankers, employees).
What are the parts of a business plan?
1) Product/Service: This section of the business plans outlines the products and/or services you will bring to your customers. Why do customers want the products/services you are offering and why would they choose your products/services over others in the marketplace? Explain the features and benefits of the products/services. (i.e. a feature of a ipad or a device like it is the gigabytes but the benefit of the gigabytes is that it can store your music, pictures, videos and other things in one device. )
2) Target Market: Who are your customers (Demographics, psychographics, values)? What problems have you identified that your target market has that you are looking to solve (i.e. I am opening a sit down restaurant in bayside, queens because there are no sit down restaurants for families in a 10 mile radius in the neighborhood)? How big is your target market (How many people have you identified that has the problem that you are looking to solve)?
3) Industry: What industry do you operate in (i.e. food, trucking, education)? How big is the industry (in dollars)? Who are the major players in the industry? Is the industry growing, mature or declining? Where is the industry headed? What are the current trends in the industry?
4) Competition: What other companies or institutions are trying to solve the same problem you are trying to solve? What are their strengths and weakness? Why will customers buy from you and not them?
5) Marketing/Sales: How will customers access your products or services? Will they buy your products/services online, at a store, via sales associates or catalog? What strategies and channels will you use to get customers to learn about you and buy what you have to offer?
6) Team: Whom do you have on your team to help you execute the business? What are their backgrounds? What role will they play in the business?
7) Financials: How much money do you need for your business project? How much will it cost you to operate the business on a monthly and annual basis? How much money do you anticipate on making monthly over the next three years? How will you finance the business?