Who Needs A Business Plan?
By Laurie Decosse

We can't stress enough the importance of developing a business plan.  It tells everyone involved that you've done your homework, and that you know where your business is heading.  It helps you communicate to lenders precisely why you need money if seeking funding, and it tells investors why they should consider your business as a viable investment opportunity.  

A good business plan models what your business will be, using financial statements and projections alongside verbal descriptions of broad strategic issues and short-term tactical moves.  

The business plan should include descriptions of your: products and/or services; markets; list employees; technology; facilities; capital; revenue & profitability.     

Your business plan should accomplish three things:  

1. Convince others to help you  

2. Act as an operational guide for your business  

3. Provide direction for your management team and focus your efforts  

Your business plan will take some time, up to 80-100 hours of work.  In addition to using a marketing consultant, we highly recommend using other professional resources including an accountant, a lawyer, an insurance agent and banker - are all key resources in developing your business plan.   

What are investors looking for? Investors will look at four major factors:    

1.  Products and services  -  Describe your products, including what makes them unique, how customers react to them, and how you plan to or currently do deal with customer service. Explain how your products have evolved over time. Include tests and case studies. Detail and demonstrate the benefits customers receive.   

2. Your management team - Be ready to include details on the expertise, experience, and special relevant skills of you, your partners, your Board of Directors and your Management team. You want to convey experience in management, marketing, finance and operations. If you're weak in any areas, consider adding expert blood to your Board of Directors.   

3. Current and projected financial statements -Determine your cash needs. Project your expenses and review your sales and profit objectives. Your reports should compare actual income and expenses to your budgeted income and expenses on a monthly basis.  

Prepare a preliminary balance sheet, listing your assets and liabilities. Include projections on your profit and loss statement, and your cash flow statement   Your financial projections should be well considered, and well presented. Illustrate monthly figures for the next two years and annual projections for years three through five.   Talk about the next stage of your business, and what you plan to do to succeed.   

4. Marketing Plan - This is a plan within a plan - it will take time, but it is a critical element in your business plan. The marketing plan provides an analysis of the market, including product features and benefits, prospect profiles, and outside factors that affect sales.   List strengths and weaknesses of your products or services. 

Compare your product to the competition, and show where you shine, as well as where you can improve. strategy, including what key advantage of your product or service you'll push, how you'll position your product and brand, how you'll find your prospects, and how best to reach prospects (advertising, direct mail, trade shows).

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/ask-an-expert-articles/who-needs-a-business-plan-814387.html

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As the founder of LYNK Marketing Solutions Inc., Laurie is accountable for the overall performance of LYNK’s various business functions.  She is devoted to ensuring vision and strategic objectives are achieved in bottom-line performance, quality service and creative design.

Laurie’s insight and exposure to corporate structure and business administration combined with education in marketing, advertising, communications, public relations and corporate event management has been instrumental to her success.

Her range of expertise covers all sizes and levels of business in various sectors.  In addition to providing consultation and project management services for LYNK clients and other various business development firms, she has worked for well known Canadian corporations such as Polygon Homes, Labatt Breweries and OK Tire Stores.

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