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How To Prepare a Business Plan

How To Prepare a Business Plan

A formal business plan can be invaluable. It will be needed for obtaining financing, and it can serve as a guide for the policies, strategies and tactics needed for running your business. It can be shared with potential key employees, it can serve as a key document if you sell your business, and the process of preparing it will force you to focus on the issues that are essential for the success of your business.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.”

If you think you need to start preparing a business plan for your own organization, but you aren’t sure where to start, this may help. Whether you’re preparing to launch a new business or perhaps rebrand or sell an existing one, a detailed plan can keep everyone on track.

SBA.gov shares the various pieces and documents your plan should include and how to keep everything organized.
  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Organization & Management
  • Service or Product Line
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Funding Request
  • Financial Projections
  • Appendix
They also offer some tips on How to Make Your Business Plan Stand Out and how to help your business stand out against the competition. Part of that includes identifying your organization’s niche or specialty, which you may develop in part by conducting a survey of consumers in your market to understand how you might fulfill their needs and wants.

During your research process, the SBA suggests you identify the following:
  • Which areas your competitors are already well-established
  • Which areas are being ignored by your competitors
  • Potential opportunities for your business
Check out detailed information about creating every aspect of a solid business plan here.

It can seem like a lot of work, but taking the time to research and plan before making a big move can really pay off in the end. By making your business plan a living document that is constantly updated and used as a guide for making operational decisions, it will be an invaluable and integral tool for running your business more effectively and more profitably.

*Did you know Clearview offers business loans, products and services, in addition to consumer accounts? For information on business services, products and other resources from Clearview, visit clearviewfcu.org.

Plus, get the conversation going on Facebook or Twitter where you can ask questions or share your own tips for creating the best business plan. 
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