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As these templates show, any business plan should include several key elements.As you build your plan, the goal is to tell a story about your business, how it’s structured, the market you operate within, your sales and marketing plans, your product or service and any intellectual property you own (patents, etc.), and financial statements.Your business plan should include: Executive Summary.
If you already have a relationship with a bank, arrange a face-to-face meeting to learn more about the application process and what they look for in your business plan based on your business profile, funding goals, and the type of loan you’re hoping to secure.
While a business plan is a key ingredient in your loan application, a well-prepared plan, that you revisit often, can also help guide your business for years to come.
This section of the document – which should be located immediately after the title page – will help the reader decide if he or she wants to take the time to read the rest of the plan! Next, detail your specific business: what products/services do you offer? What are the market gaps that these other businesses are failing to cover – and how do you propose to step in?
A common question investors ask is what you feel is the “secret weapon” that sets your business apart – answer this in your description. Who has succeeded and who has failed to serve your market – and what will you do differently?
The Internet is awash with free online business plan templates.
SCORE, for example, offers two templates: one for start-ups and one for established businesses. This interactive online tool guides you through the process of creating a plan step-by-step.
Cap it all off with an executive summary (best written once everything else is on paper).
The summary should set the stage for your plan, tease the reader as to its contents, and succinctly touch on key targets (business and financial), and your plans to achieve them.
This is something that you’ll need to repeat on your loan application form, but it’s useful to work this into your business plan too.
What assets need to be purchased to help you achieve the goals of your plan? How will the funds be used (equipment or real estate purchase, refinancing debt to support growth, long term capital to pay operational expenses, etc.)?