If you're thinking about developing a marketing program, you need to begin with a marketing plan. Having been in marketing for more than a decade, I have seen my share of marketing plans. Some are short and to the point, others are hundreds of pages thick and cost thousands of dollars to produce. The irony is that many of the expensive marketing plans end up on a shelf and rarely get implemented. The simple plans, if researched and implemented effectively, have the greatest impact.
Need a Roadmap? Here's How to Write a Business Plan You'll Actually Use
Five Essential Items To Include In A Business Plan
The financial section of your business plan determines whether or not your business idea is viable and will be the focus of any investors who may be attracted to your business idea. The financial section is composed of four financial statements: the income statement, the cash flow projection, the balance sheet, and the statement of shareholders' equity. It also should include a brief explanation and analysis of these four statements. Think of your business expenses as two cost categories: your start-up expenses and your operating expenses.
Write a business plan: step-by-step
As a start-up, developing your business plan is no easy task. While you may never have developed a plan before, it's crucial you start now because your business plan will not only guide your actions as you get your business off the ground but will keep your business on track as your business grows. The key components to include in your business plan are a description of your organizational structure including your management and human resources capabilities philosophy and needs, the number of employees you intend to hire, how you will manage your employees, and your estimated personnel costs. Begin your plan by outlining your own managerial experience and skills as well as those of your team, the roles of each member of your team, and any particular areas of strength or deficiency in your personnel lineup.
Now that you understand why you need a business plan and you've spent some time doing your homework gathering the information you need to create one, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get everything down on paper. The following pages will describe in detail the seven essential sections of a business plan: what you should include, what you shouldn't include, how to work the numbers and additional resources you can turn to for help. With that in mind, jump right in. Within the overall outline of the business plan, the executive summary will follow the title page. The summary should tell the reader what you want.