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The primary value of your business plan will be to create a written outline that evaluates all aspects of the economic viability of your business venture. It will be valuable in number of ways. Here are some reasons not to skip this valuable tool and roadmap:

  • It will define and focus your objective, using appropriate information and analysis.
  • You can use it as a selling tool with lenders, investors, landlords and banks.
  • Your business plan can uncover omissions and/or weaknesses in your planning process.
  • You can use the plan to solicit opinions and advice.

Here is a checklist to help you get started:

  1. Write out your basic business concept.
  2. Gather all the data you can on the feasibility and specifics of your business.
  3. Focus and refine your concept.
  4. Outline the specifics using a "what, where, why, how" approach.
  5. Put your plan into a compelling format

Here are suggested topics you can tailor into your plan:

  • A Vision Statement: This will be a concise outline of your purpose and goal
  • The People: Focus on how your experiences will be applicable. Prepare a resume of yourself and each of your key people.
  • Your Business Profile: Describe exactly how you plan to go about your intended business. Stay focused on the specialized market you intend to serve.
  • Economic Assessment: Provide an assessment of the competition you can expect in your business.
  • Cash Flow Assessment: Include a one-year cash flow projection that will incorporate all your capital requirements.

The My Own Business Online Course and Textbook can provide you with business plan templates that will enable you to create a custom plan for your own specific business as you proceed through the 15 sessions. Each session includes a business plan section that can be downloaded from website and provide you with a single, attractively presented document. Two complete business plan examples are also furnished, one for a product business and one for a service business.

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