Share This Info:  

How To Create A Business Plan For A Small Business


How To Create A Business Plan

According to the Small Business Administration, a business plan is defined as: "A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals and serves as your firm's resume."

Source: sba.gov

By my definition, a business plan is a living document that should serve several purposes for your business.  When you are buying a small business, a business plan will assist you in obtaining business purchase financing by showing lenders, investors and other constituents how you plan to repay their investment by running a profitable company.  By going through the process of writing a business plan you greatly improve the chances that your business will survive and thrive as you've take the steps to understand the company and you will have an idea of what you need to do before you take over.

Once you become the owner, your business plan should act as a blueprint for how your small business will operate and it should clearly lay out your plans for growth.  It should describe your plans over the next three to five years and have goals attached to the plans.  You also need to provide details on how you plan to achieve those goals.  Having a good business plan and revisiting it often should be part of every company's strategic planning initiatives.  It will help guide your management team in working toward the same goal.

Online Services and Templates

Now that you understand the importance of a business plan you have to figure out how to write a good one that is actually going to be beneficial to your business. I've seen many business plans throughout my time in this industry and I can tell you, not all of them are created equal. There are a lot of business plan writing services online and templates available for purchase.  I wouldn't recommend hiring someone to write your business plan.  They don't know your business the way you do and this plan needs to be something you are behind and vested in.

A lot of people try to use a template and plug in relevant information.  Every business is different, so using a template and following it exactly probably won't give you what your business needs. You can certainly use a template as a guide but I recommend you take a closer look at your company and personalize your plan accordingly.

The Components of a Business Plan

With that said, there are several areas most business plans will address.  They include:

The Executive Summary
Company Overview
Business Offerings
Marketing Plan
Strategy
Management Team
Financial Projections

Let's Get Started

Before you dive in and get started, you need to clearly define what your goals and objectives are.  As I said, this should be a living document, meaning it changes as your business changes, so the plan you write today may end up looking completely different a few years down the road.   The first step is to think about your company and where it is today.  Are there areas that need improvement?  Is there an aspect of your company that you know has growth potential?  Take a critical look at your company and assess what you want and need to change, and then think about where you want the company to be five years from that point.  Use the answers to these questions to start writing your plan.  Now, let's dig into each section of a typical business plan and I'll give you some tips on how to create each section.

The Executive Summary

Even though the executive summary will be the first part of your finished business plan, I recommend you write it last.  The executive summary is meant to be exactly what its name implies, a summary of what readers can expect to find in your plan.  So, to write an accurate summary, create your entire business plan then read through the finish product.  Use highlights from the finished plan to create this section.

Company Overview

The company overview should provide more detailed information about your business.  Think of it similar to a business profile where you layout when the company was started and why.  Don't put too much emphasis on what exactly the company does in this section, as you will cover it in greater detail in the business offerings portion of the plan.

If the company has an established mission and vision statement, you can include it here.  You may want to include an organizational chart that shows how the company is managed.  If you have patents, trademarks or any other items like this that are unique to your business, this would also be the place to include information about them.   

Business Offerings

In this section, you should get more in depth as to why the company is in business by talking about the product or services you sell.  If you sell a product, get into detail about your role in the sales cycle.  Are you a manufacturer, distributor or retailer?  If you offer a service, give details about the services and how they are rendered to clients.  Whether you sell a product or service, this is the place to identify future growth opportunities.

Marketing Plan

Believe it or not, many business owners often overlook the marketing plan as a part of their business plan.  While many companies have separate documents that discuss their marketing strategy in greater detail, your business plan should include some sort of marketing strategy.  You can have the greatest products and services around but if you don't have a plan as to how you are going to let potential customers know about them, your business probably won't go far.  Use this section to also do an analysis of the market and your competition.

Strategy and Implementation

This section is where you pull it all together!  Marketing plans are great, vision statements are great and financial projections are great, but you have to have a clear plan as to how and when you are going to bring all these things to life.  In this section you should include as much detail as you can on how you to plan to achieve your goals.  If you are looking for financing, this is the section most investors will zone in on.  It is also a good idea to include a timeline of when you plan to do things and projected outcomes.

Management Team

So who is going to do all this work that you've just detailed in the strategy section?  Your management team.  Use this section to introduce your management team and to provide information about their qualifications.  If you are using your plan to obtain financing, including each team member's resume is a good idea.  From an investor standpoint, when they see a qualified management team, they may feel that there is less risk of the business not succeeding so detail how each person will contribute to achieving the business's goals.

Financial Projections

This section should be the last you write prior to the executive summary.  This is the section where you go through your plan and pull together an overview of everything you've stated throughout the plan and how it impacts your finances.    You should include a projected P&L, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement.  If you are buying an existing business you can use the financials that the current owner has provided as a starting point.  Take into consideration the changes you plan to make and create projected financials accordingly. Understand that these numbers are just your projections, not actual accounting figures.

While it is a time consuming task, writing a business plan is very important and should be easy if you are knowledgeable of your business.   Don't view writing a business plan as a daunting task that has to get done.  Instead, think of it as creating a blueprint for your business's success and get to work!

Peter Siegel, MBAAbout This Contributor: Peter Siegel, MBA is the Founder & Senior Advisor (ProBuy & ProSell Programs) at BizBen.com (established 1994, 8000+ California businesses for sale, 500 new & refreshed postings/posts daily) working with business buyers, owners/sellers, brokers, agents, investors, & advisors). Phone him at 866-270-6278 to discuss strategies regarding buying, selling, (or financing a puchase of) CA businesses.


Categories: BizBen Blog Contributor, Buying A Business, General Info, How To Buy A Business, How To Sell A Business


Comments Regarding This Blog Post


These are great points, Peter. Dealing with many business owners, I've found that the most successful ones are those that have their goals WRITTEN down and are made known to others around them to ensure accountability. I agree implementation is important and taking action is what helps the business owner connect the dots. The fact that, yes, the business plan is a living document, is also important, because I've known business owners who have great plans that exist either in a drawer or desktop computer but never are implemented in real life, because of the fear of failure by taking risk.


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Jim Saxton, Liquor License Broker & Consultant - SF Bay Area

With over 20 years experience of local governmental requirements, such as Police Departments, Zoning / Planning Departments, and ABC District Offices, my company Liquor Licenses of San Francisco Bay Area is very qualified to resolve all of your concerns during the liquor license transfer process.

Rob Hartman: Business Broker, SF Bay Area

Business brokerage services in the SF Bay Area. I bring skill, integrity and energy to all of my clients and our projects. I'm accustomed to working with a wide variety of clients and their businesses; large or small, simple or highly complex. Get a free consultation by phoning 650-279-3097.

Peter Siegel, MBA - SBA Loans, Non SBA Financing Assistance

For over 25 years I have provided niche business purchase financial advisory and loan placement services with SBA and Non-SBA Loans, Retirement Plan Conversions, Private Investors, etc. Financing amounts available: $20K to $7MM. Call today to get pre-qualified or receive financing: 866-270-6278.

Prabhjot Randhawa, Broker: SF Bay Area, Northern Central Valley

I'm a Business Advisor at Liberty Business Advisors of San Fransisco. I have over 20 years of experience in all phases of entrepreneurship. During the past 15 years my concentration has been in business of mergers and consulting. I have owned and operated over 10 businesses.

Bob Baumgarten, Business Broker: Orange, LA Counties

National Business Brokerage is a full service brokerage company that has been serving buyers and sellers of Southern California businesses since 1994. We are dedicated to providing the highest standards of professional service for our clients. Phone Bob direct at 949-588-8727.

Jack Oh, Business Broker - LA, Orange Counties

Business broker and real estate services in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. 10 years experience with great negotiating skills. To sell a business or buy a business in the LA or Orange County Areas phone Jack and his team at 562-787-4989.

Matt Sadati, Business Broker, SF Bay Area, Northern CA

I have Engineering and Law, JD degree, with over 30 years of experience in all phases of entrepreneurship. During the past 15 years my concentration has been in business of mergers and consulting. I have owned and operated over 33 businesses each having one to 30 branches.

Mike Brewer: Liquor License Brokers, ABC Consulting Services

Liquor license brokerage and consulting services. We provide: Alcohol License Transfers Application Consulting & Processing, Liquor License Purchases & Sales, City Zoning Permits & Land Use Entitlements, Public Convenience or Necessity Findings and Letters. Phone Mike Brewer direct at 800-437-1100.


  Related Articles, Events, Blog Posts, Discussions, Videos, Interviews
Laundry Expert Reviews: The Laundry Lease And Its Effect On The Valuation

Read why longer leases increase the value of a card or coin laundromat when buying or selling a laundry. Chuck Post (Laundry Broker, Consultant at 619-227-5711) expands on the topic of lease structures on the purchase or selling of a laundromat. Laundry sellers and buyers will want to read this.

Selling A Laundromat? Top Tips: Valuation, Pricing, Finding Buyers, Resouces

Laundrys are popular choices among business buyers as they often can be successfully run as an absentee run business. You need to be strategic about when you sell your Laundromat so you don't get taken to the cleaners! Peter Siegel, MBA (at BizBen) provides laundry purchase financing - 866-270-6278.

Laundromat Business Valuations: Could Buyers Of Laundries Be Overpaying?

Chuck Post (laundry buyer rep, consultant, due-diligence expert) discusses the factors of appraising laundries. Why such high purchase prices is baffling - many times the value is so misunderstood that it results in laundry buyers over-paying for a laundromat. Reach Chuck direct at 619-227-5711.

Why Restaurant Buyers Typically Fail: Best Pro Tips For Buying A Restaurant

Buying a restaurant (no matter what type) can have many pitfalls, and potential restaurant buyers should know how to avoid getting burned! Several restaurant intermediaries and advisors weigh in on this BizBen Discussion about the best way to find, purchase and run a restaurant successfully!

FREE Live Laundry Seminars For Buyers: See Our Upcoming Schedule Of Seminars

Looking to buy or start up a card or coin laundromat? PWS Laundry is presenting their schedule of upcoming Seminars for laundry buyers & entrepreneurs. These informative live Seminars will cover an overview of the laundry industry, selecting the right location, an overview of leases, Q&A, plus more.

When Buying A Laundry Why Buyers Should Have An Exit Strategy When Buying

Chuck Post (reach him at 619-227-5711) a laundry consultant, specialty broker, buyer representative & due diligence advisor starts this discussion on why it's important to have an exit strategy in mind while buying a laundromat! He & others explain why this concept is so important to serious buyers.

Laundromats: Are They Good Investments For Business Buyers? We Discuss This.

Are laundries good investments for buyers? Chuck Post, (at 619-227-5711 - California laundry consultant, due diligence services, and laundry buyer representation) discusses this topic with other advisors & brokers in this BizBen Discussion about laundry investments and if they are good investments.

Liquor License Assistance - SF Bay Area - Jim Saxton

Jim Saxton - 20 years experience of local governmental requirements, such as Police Departments, Zoning / Planning Departments, ABC District Offices, my company Liquor Licenses of SF Bay Area is very qualified to resolve all of your concerns during the liquor license transfer process. 925-787-0770.

See All News, Tips And Events


Business Purchase Financing SBA Loans
Golden State Laundry System Laundry Business Brokers
Rob Harman Business Broker SF Bay Area
SF Bay Area Business Broker
Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Google Plus You Tube
Vlogs and Podcasts


Auto Related
Business Services
Children Related
Communication Related
Computer, Internet Related
Construction Related
Entertainment Related
Financial Services
Health, Beauty Related
Home Improvement Related
Maintenance Related
Manufacturing Related
Media, Publishing Related
Pet Related
Photography/Video Related
Real Estate Services
Restaurant, Food Related
Retail Related
Service Related
Sports Related
Transportation Related
Travel Related
Wholesale Related

Auto Body Shops
Auto Repair Shops
Bakeries
Bars, Sports Bars
Cafe Restaurants
Car Washes
Cleaning Services
Clothing, Apparel Stores
Coffee Shops
Convenience Stores
Deli Restaurants
Discount, Dollar Stores
Dry Cleaners
eCommerce Websites
Fast Food Restaurants
Florists, Flower Shops
Full Service Restaurants
Gas Stations
Gift Shops
Gyms, Fitness Facilities
Home Health Agencies
Hotels/Motels
Ice Cream Shops
Juice, Smoothie Shops
Laundromats
Liquor Stores
Markets, Marts
Nightclubs
Pizza Restaurants
Postal, Shipping Stores
Preschools, Day Care
Print Shops
Salons, Beauty Shops
Sandwich Shops
Smog Test Only Shops
Smoke Shops
Spas, Med Spas
Sushi Restaurants
Tire Shops
Towing Services
Vending Routes
Wireless, Cellular Shops
Yogurt Shops

Alameda
Alpine
Amador
Butte
Calaveras
Colusa
Contra Costa
Del Norte
El Dorado
Fresno
Glenn
Humboldt
Imperial
Inyo
Kern
Kings
Lake
Lassen
Los Angeles
Madera
Marin
Mariposa
Mendocino
Merced
Modoc
Mono
Monterey
Napa
Nevada
Orange
Placer
Plumas
Riverside
Sacramento
San Benito
San Bernardino
San Diego
San Francisco
San Joaquin
San Luis Obis
San Mateo
Santa Barbara
Santa Clara
Santa Cruz
Shasta
Sierra
Siskiyou
Solano
Sonoma
Stanislaus
Sutter
Tehama
Trinity
Tulare
Tuolumne
Ventura
Yolo
Yuba

0 to $99,999
$100,000 to $249,999
$250,000 to $499,999
$500,000 to $999,999
$1 million to $2 million
over $2 million



BizBen - Where California Deals Get Done! 888-212-4747
7172 Regional Street #364 · Dublin, CA. 94568
BizBen · Copyright © 1994 - 2019, All Rights Reserved

               Vlogs and Podcasts  
Join Us On Social Media - Content Updated Daily
Sign Up Today - For Our FREE BizBen Weekly Email Newsletter
Includes The Best Info On Buying, Selling, Valuing, Financing California Businesses:
Articles, Blog Posts, Podcasts, Videos/Vlogs, Discussions, Q&A, Workshops, Webinars,
Resources. Watch For An Email Confirmation After Signing Up Above. Thank you.
Clost Login


Please confirm your registration by clicking the link we've sent to .

If you can't see it, please check your junk mail folder.

If you have any problems registering, or need assistance with your new BizBen User Account please phone BizBen Customer Support at 888-212-4747.



First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email Address:*
Confirm Email:*
Create Password:*
Confirm Password:*
Phone:
(   
 


You Are A:
Individual
 
Intermediary
 

Email Address:
Password:
 
Search BizBen.com

500 New & Refreshed Detailed Postings Daily
Over 2500 Resources Available On BizBen
Since 1994. Where California Deals Get Done!
Laundromat Business Valuations: Could Buyers Of Laundries Be Overpaying?...
Read More News
Interview: With Chuck Post On How To Buy A Laundry Business Successfully...
Read More News