Business Plan Software

Starting a business is the most difficult aspect of building your business. There are many business tasks to be performed, often few resources with which to accomplish these tasks, and the entrepreneur may not yet have the benefit of being business savvy. Additionally, starting a new business requires financial resources that owners of established businesses may find easier to obtain. Determining the direction you want your business to take and obtaining financing for your new or existing business will be far easier once you have developed a comprehensive business plan.

Organization is key to the success of any business. A business plan is a customized blueprint describing why you are creating your business and detailing exactly how you intend to make your business succeed. While business plans may differ somewhat due to factors such as size and scope of the business, in general, your business plan should possess the following key elements:
  • Executive Summary - A succinct description of the other sections of the plan, highlighting key points;

  • Business Description - A strategic overview of your company, including
    • Its organizational structure,
    • The goals of your business,
    • The business opportunity you seek to exploit,
    • Products or services you intend to deliver,
    • Unique qualities that make your business likely to succeed;

  • Competitive Analysis - Evaluation of the market(s) in which your company will be competing, including
    • Size, both in units and currency, of each target market,
    • The demographics of your target market,
    • Demographic, economic and industry trends that affect or may affect your target market,
    • Number and size of competitors and how aggressively they target your market,
    • Barriers or incentives to entry into your target market,
    • How your company is favored or hindered by its competitive position;

  • Marketing Plan - Strategy for penetrating your target market(s)
    • Product specifications,
    • Product pricing as it relates to consumer acceptance, final cost of product and competitor pricing,
    • How you plan to introduce your product or service into the marketplace,
    • How your company can position itself to penetrate target markets,
    • How you plan to drive long-term sales,
    • How you intend to generate recurring income,
    • Advertising campaigns, product promotions and service exchange agreements;

  • Design and Development Plan - Methodology for taking idea from concept to reality
    • Description of work,
    • Cost assessment,
    • Resource requirements - Expertise, manpower, equipment, materials, software
    • Your current development status,
    • The expected completion date,
    • Factors that could delay or compromise completion,
    • Procedures for protection of proprietary information and technologies.

Authored by Kenneth L. Anderson.   Original article published 15 January 2004, updated 21 January 2006.

Follow links to the right to learn more about business plan software and small business planning resources. At the left margin, Related Links address topics of interest pertaining to business planning and other small business resources available to entrepreneurs and business owners.

Our Business Center provides tools for small business proprietors and business startups. We have amassed a collection of resources and services that should be included in every entrepreneur’s arsenal. Here you will find resources to help get your business off the ground, finance it, make it grow, manage your own resources and maintain a safe and beneficial environment for your employees. View the Business Plans SiteMap for a complete list of business and business-related topics.

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