Part 1
*This information is taken from the Small Business Center Network (SBCN), part of the North Carolina Community College System, and full packet, entitled “How to Develop a Business Plan” can be viewed here.
*This blog is Part 1 of a series on small business guidance. Stay tuned for more blogs.

First, what is a business plan? Do you need one? Do you already have one?

A business plan is a detailed outline that shows the trajectory of your business, how your business will be successful, and the resources needed for your business. Business plans can help you raise capital for your business, attract potential investors, and will help you, the owner/manager, stay on the right course for your business’s success.

Basic Points for Financing Proposal

  • What is the business?
  • The legal structure of the business (Limited Liability Company, corporation, etc.)
  • Who is involved in the business? Manages? Owners? Principals?
  • Total amount of funding needed and how will it be used?
  • If using a loan:
    • How will the business acquire funding?
    • How will the business repay the loan?
    • What are the risks for using the loan?

General Business Information

This section contains general bullet points that are needed in your business plan. Some of these might seem like “durr, of course this information is needed,” but it never hurts to reemphasize things.

  • Mission Statement that explains the company’s guiding principles
  • Company Goals and Objectives
    • FYI: goals are where you see your company in the future; objectives are progress markers that occur on the way to your goal
  • Who are you selling your products to? Who is your target market?
  • Describe your industry, include where the industry will be in the short-term and long-term
  • List and describe your company strengths
  • Explain your company’s product/service
  • What type of business is this? (retail, service, manufacturing, or wholesaler?)
  • Is the business a start-up, an expansion of an existing business, or the acquisition of an existing business?
  • Business’s legal structure (LLC, corp, non-profit, etc.)
  • Summarize the ownership of the business (managers, owners, members, etc)
  • When did or will the business open?
  • What are the supply sources and materials? Methods of production? How will orders be received?
  • Why will your business be successful? What differentiates you from other businesses?
  • Reasonable, achievable financial projections

Part 2 of this blog series will cover the specifics of what to include in your marketing plan.


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