Small Business Plan Outline

Small Business Plan OutlineAn entrepreneur trying to start their own business needs to begin with a small business plan outline.

The small business plan is a guide that helps business owners stay focused on their goals/objectives and serves as a tool to solicit investors and lending institutions to finance the business.

To write an effective small business plan, you need to complete several steps to ensure that the final plan includes the necessary elements.

Small Business Plan Outline: 6 Steps to Success

1.) Small Business Plan Outline – Setup

Use the outline format of any word processing program to create a small business plan. An outline format makes the plan easier to read and easier to fill in any details you need to add later.

2.) Small Business Plan Outline – Business Description

Describe your business in the first section. Explain the kinds of products or services your business will offer, how you plan to manufacture the product or administer the service and what materials you will need. Include details about the kind of facility you will need and the types of equipment required.

3.) Small Business Plan Outline – Budget

Create a business budget and break it down into three parts: start-up costs, ongoing operating costs and a breakdown of the overhead into sections such as manpower and materials.

Provide as many details as possible in the budget section. Forecast your budget needs for ongoing operating costs for at least three years. Break the budget down by department, including sales, marketing, production and support.

4.) Small Business Plan Outline – Profit Projection

Develop a profit projection that shows the percentage growth you expect for the next three years. Cite reasons for your forecast and give examples of how you intend to grow your company.

5.) Small Business Plan Outline – Sales and Marketing

Present a sales and marketing plan that includes detailed analysis of your competition, how you intend to address the competition and a detailed explanation of how you will bring your product or service to the marketplace.

6.) Small Business Plan Outline – Biographical

Create a biographical section that features information about all executives and partners who will be involved in the company. Include compensation plans, detailed job descriptions for each person and resumes that outline past experience within the industry.

Tip:
Have a business lawyer and accountant review your small business plan outline before you consider it finished.

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Resource: U.S. Small Business Administration: Write a Business Plan

How to Buy a Small Business

How to buy a small businessStarting a new business can be a long and drawn out affair for most people, with the fruits of your labor not paying off until the business becomes profitable.

If you buy a small business that already exists, there are many advantages for entrepreneurs who want to avoid the time, effort and expense of starting a new business (either a franchise or an independent unit).

One of the most important factors to consider before you buy a small business is your familiarity with the business you plan to purchase.

The more familiar you are with the type of business you’re interested in buying, the better your chances for success.

Factors to Consider Before You Buy a Small Business

Once you have found the type of business you feel comfortable running, a number of other considerations should be taken into account. These include:

  • ~Has the business you intend to buy been profitable, or are you buying a business in trouble (distress sale)? Find out as many details about the business as you can – as well as the current owner. Why are they looking to exit the business?
  • ~Review the business’ financial records (past 3 years preferably), contracts and leases (if a brick/mortar unit). Tax returns for the last five years should also be reviewed to determine what kind of tax liabilities could be incurred. What is their cash-flow like? Is it a seasonal business? How much of the business is labor cost? What type of Labor are you dealing with? Is there any re-curring business?
  • ~In addition, a thorough review of the business’ bank accounts, sales records, customer lists, payroll benefits and employee pension plans, as well as an employee roster should be taken into account before committing to purchasing the business.

Before You Buy a Small Business, get Professional Assistance

Purchasing an existing business may save a lot of time versus starting a business on your own. Nevertheless, unless you are a business lawyer or an accountant, reviewing all of the documents of an existing business before making an offer could be overwhelming.

Enlisting the services of a competent attorney and CPA/Business Appraisal company could save you considerable time and expense. Depending on the size and nature of the business you plan to buy, other professionals may also be needed to consult.

After doing all the preliminary work, you can then make an offer through a letter of intent, followed by a formal offer of cash or other assets. You should have all your bases covered before you make a formal offer.

To buy a small business takes considerable effort before the sale and after you launch as the new owner. In many ways, treat it like a new business with planning, marketing and customer service taking priority.

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Business Emails: Benefits for Small Business

Business emails are a virtual communication system that have transformed the way companies conduct business.

The Many Benefits of Business Emails

Small Business EmailsEmail helps with the exchange of information, across town or around the globe, is inexpensive and allows business people the flexibility to access their messages from anywhere in the world (webmail or desktop based).

As such, companies benefit from the many advantages that email offers. Too many small business owners have not yet adopted email for business – and are missing out.

Faster Communication

Business emails are a fast way to communicate and share business documents. With email, business people are not held up by delays commonly experienced when sending documents/correspondence in the mail.

Emailing documents is faster than faxing ever was (remember the 90’s). Hitting the send button, businesses can send time-sensitive information to anyone in the world and the recipient gets the message almost instantaneously (in some cases, even password protected).

This type of fast, effective exchange allows people to stay on top of projects, respond to communication requests with customers/vendors more efficiency and be more productive.

More Accessibility

Email eliminates time as an issue. When business people use email they can send and receive information at any hour, day or night, in any timezone.

Since email is Internet-based, advanced communication technology makes it possible for individuals to access email from anywhere in the world, through an Internet connection from their computers, smartphones or tablets. This allows business people who travel for work to stay connected wherever they are.

Advertising

Email offers businesses a cost-effective way to advertise. Email ads reach mass audiences immediately and without the cost of stamps or envelopes.

One advantage of email marketing is that recipients can forward the original ad to their friends and family, carrying the information on through word-of-mouth marketing.

Email marketing is an effective way to make your company a little greener, since you do not have to print out brochures.

Companies like Vertical Response and Constant Contact have made it very easy to reach out and touch customers. I use a system called WrapMail to use my business emails as a way to promote my business and services.

Customer Service

E-Marketing Journal states that business emails offer customers a quick and easy way to provide a company with feedback on products and services.

Customers can even contact company customer service representatives by email (support@companyname.com), and often have their concerns addressed via email.

Business emails provide customers and companies with documentation in writing, which can be useful when certain issues need to be verified.

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Insurance for Small Business

A Guide to Insurance for Small Business and Startups

Wayne interviews Stewart Nelson, Senior Risk Advisor at Kapnick Insurance Group. Stew discusses property and casualty insurance for small business owners. Learn about worker’s compensation, general liability and umbrella policies including expert guidance on how to protect your business.

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