You have an idea. Now what? You need a business plan. Your business plan is your dream, idea, plan, product or service on paper. Not all business owners have them, but to be a success your vision should be in print. If you are looking for funding from a financial institution, a business plan is a must. The lender will need to know if concept is valuable and profitable. There is no standard content for a plan, however there are a few topics the plan should cover.

*Executive Summary–The basics. What is your vision?
*Company Summary–A detailed description of the company. Include a short history of your industry
*Business Description–What do you offer? What makes your idea stand out?
*Market Analysis-This is your market size, how the business will grow, your profits and more
*Strategy and Implementation-How will you make money with your product or service?
*Management Summary-Who are you? What is your background
*Financial Plan-Your budget and financial statements.

I know this seems like a lot, but the internet has an abundance of beneficial information. Sites such as http://www.score.org offer business plan templates for several business types in PDF, Word and Excel versions. Bookmark SCORE.org. SCORE offers free online and in-person advice to entrepreneurs.

A business plan takes time, but this is essential for your business even if you are not seeking financial help.

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.
–Denis Watley

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