Business Plans for Success

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You’ve heard the adage, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” The same can be said of businesses without business plans.

Successful businesses have one and five year plans that explain what their organization is about, what their goals are, and how they expect to attain their goals. If you are thinking of writing a plan, here is an outline that you can use as a guide. Obviously, use what fits with your business and discard the rest.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1. The company (Summary of Section I)
2. Management (summary of Section VII)
3. Product/service and competition (Summary of Sections III, IV, and V)
4. Financial history (Summary of Sections VI and VIII)
5. Action Plans (Summary of Sections II, VIII and IX

I. BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Purpose of the business • Description and uses of products and services • Design and unique features of products and services • Environmental Impact

II. OBJECTIVES
Short term (marketing, financial, personnel goals for the coming year) • Long term (strategic, long-term goals)

III. MARKET ANALYSIS

Industry Description (industry size, status, growth potential, geographic locations that define your trade area, trends and entry barriers, what is happening in your industry and how it impacts your business, profit potential, sales patterns and gross margins) • Target Market (Primary target markets, secondary markets, demographics & psychographics, customer needs analysis) • Product/Service Differentiation (unique Features, potential for innovation) • Competitors(Direct and indirect, market share, detailed description of who they are including their strengths and weaknesses, identification of potential competitors, list of products or services that can be used in place of yours?) • Competitive Advantage (Proprietary protection like patents and copyrights, other competitive advantages)

IV. DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION
Technical Description of Product/Service (Uses, design, prototype, issues of obsolescence) • Status of Development and Related Costs (Current status of development, tasks to be completed, time and cost of complete, potential difficulties, resolution, government approvals) • Manufacturing or Operating Requirements and Associated Costs (Manufacturing cycle, materials requirements, retail/wholesale inventory requirements, production requirements, labor requirements, maintenance and quality control requirements, financial requirement.

V. MARKETING PLAN

Pricing (Venture versus competitors) •Purpose of Marketing Plan (Target market, unique market niche) •Marketing tools (Advertising & promotion, what media to use and why?) • Media Plan (Uses and costs and total costs as a percentage of sales)

VI. FINANCIAL PLAN
Assumptions • Financial Statements (Cash flow, income, balance sheet) • Capital Expenditures • Break-even Analysis and Payback Period (if applicable).

VII. MANAGEMENT TEAM
Key personnel resources • Human resource management strategy

VIII. CRITIAL RISKS AND CONTINGENCIES
Deviations from the Original Plan and Solutions

IX. SCHEDULING AND MILESTONES
What and when things are going to be done • What actions demonstrate success in achieving the plan.

For more information you may reach Tim Hill at Central Oregon Community College, (541) 383-7712 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (541) 383-7712      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

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