Hey Guys, I just wanted to take a minute and show you guys the proper way of structuring your business plans. I have seen a lot of post on here about what one should look like and how it should be structured for loans, grants, subsidies, and general info for a business owner to know! it's long, but I think you guys will appreciate it. (I hope) Step One: Rules of a business plan. -They are always written in the 3rd person, No I's, We's. Ourselve's Etc. -They are always written in an essay type form, no quest/answer. -All business plans have 7 sections to them in a particular order. -They should be double spaced and written in size 11 font. -An average business plan is 35-45 pages long. -A business plan is like an owners manual to YOUR business and not shared with all. Step two: The 7 Sections of a business plan. 1) Executive Summary 2) Products & Services 3) Marketing 4) Facility & Operations 5) Sales Forecast 6) Management Summary 7) Financial Projections Step three: 7 Section Break down. Sect 1: Executive summary: This section is written last!! This is a few paragraph summary of the other 6 parts of the business plan. highlighting the important parts of each section. this section will be 2-4 pages long roughly. Sect 2: Product/Services: This section outlines crystal clear all of your different services in a technical manner. Describe what you do, how you do it, where you will be doing, hours of operation, days open, holidays observed, seasonal packages, anything and everything your business offers, it is also where you locate your NAICS code,(North American Industrial Classification System) especially if you are looking for bank funding. Sect 3: Marketing:In this section you will break down the elements of your market, 1st-Primary market-what is the sqaure mile radius you are travelling from your home? XX mile radius. 2nd-Total market, how many people (total body count of home owners over 18) live in your primary market? 3rd-Target market, who are the customers you are trying to reach and how many are in your total market? 4th Competition-outline your comp's in your primary market, list them all with address, name, phone numbers, etc. The best resource, look in the yellow pages for help. probably 10-15 pages. Step Four: The facility & Operations:This section breaks down your facility. (the garage) and give the reader an drawn out sketch of the floor plan of your business, so get a sharp pencil and graph paper. This is also where you list your Capital Equipment. A break down of all your shop equipment, office equipment/supplies. Vehicles, storage, inventory etc. You will also highlight the unemployment rate for your area in this sect. go to www.census.gov for that info. Probably around 4-8 pages. Step Five: Sales: In this section you describe your advertising, pricing, distribution of services etc. are you market skimming? (thats low balling) Entering the market cometetively? Market penetration? Also describe in detail your forms of advertising, cost and times break down. (500 for may, 250 june etc etc) where and how you will do it. (door hangers from goprint.com, advertise int he penny saver) etc. probably 1-3 pages. Step Six: Management: This section is much like a resume, what qualifies YOU to do this business, if you have no experience and you are looking for funding, then you better find someone who does! Not a lot of mechanics get start up funding to open a plastic surgery business! you need to identify yourself to the readers as being capable of running this business, list any relevant experiences, management skills, awards you may have won, etc. Also, list and identify your support group of advisors... lawyer, accountant, insurance company any employees etc. Show a break down chart of who is ontop and who is under who. usually 2-6 pages long. Step Seven: The Financials: This is the section were you layout your financial projections etc. usually 3-10 pages long and will need to have the following elements. If you dont read this and know what it means, then you need an accountant. - 3 yr pro cash flow projection - 3 yr profit & loss Statement - 3 yr Break even anaylsis - 3 yr Balance Sheet - Key bsuiness ratio's Use charts & Graphs, they are easier to read and are easy to make! Besides, funding sources love charts and graphs. So thats it..... A business plan in a nut shell right? Well they are not easy and take a lot of work and effort, but much like anything else, the more you put into it, the better off you will be and more prepared you will be! Busioness plans usually take somewhere between 30-45 days to write out, so plan the time to do it and do it right. I hope this post will help a few of you out there and please feel free to email me with any questions, concerns, etc. if you just need someone to look at what you have so far, send me an email and we can discuss your plan and what you need to do. Hope this helps!