Whether you are looking to grow or maintain your business, a well-researched business plan is an essential roadmap that outlines goals and details how you plan to achieve these goals. It is also a great tool in communicating your business’ potential to investors and financial institutions.
Writing a Business Plan - Step by Step Guide to Success
If you are thinking about writing a business plan you probably have a lot of questions. And that’s a good thing. You want to succeed in your business and feel competent and confident about what you’re about to do.
That is why we developed this tool for you!
This easy-to-use guide is simple, concise, and includes information on each of the most important elements of a business plan. Whether you are writing your plan for operational purposes or to obtain financing, this guide can help! It includes a ton of helpful information such as what you need to include in your business plan, what lenders are looking for and tricks of the trade!
What a Bank looks for in a Business Plan
Since your business plan may be submitted to a bank, it is important to realize how a banker analyzes a business plan and what questions a banker asks during this analysis. A banker’s job is to assess the degree of risk in each proposed loan and to be satisfied that the loan can be repaid by the borrower while still allowing the business to operate profitably. A banker does this by analyzing a number of things including:
- the nature of the business
- the purpose of the loan
- the amount of the loan
- the ability to repay the loan
- the collateral available to secure the loan
- the character and management skills of the business owner
To convince a banker (or any other investor) of the merits of a loan request, a borrower must present complete, well-organized information which addresses these and other concerns. It is important to remember that the proper packaging of a loan proposal can be an important step in getting it approved.
Use the above guidelines which provides a suggested outline of the material that should be included in your business plan. The final product should be tailored to fit the circumstances and personality of you and your business.
Financial Data Templates
Financial statements are an important part of your business plan. If you are applying for a loan, your banker will be looking for this information to make their decision.
Maine SBDC has compiled some financial templates including a cash flow statement, balance sheet, profit/loss statement (P&L), schedule of liabilities and break-even tool. These can all be viewed in our Tools & Templates section.
AgPlan Business Planning for Rural Business Owners
AgPlan was developed by the University of Minnesota and provides a platform to develop your own business plan, learn what you need to include in your plan, view sample business s plans and share your plan with reviewers (or your business advisor!). Visit the site for more info.
SBA’s Business Planning Resources
The Small Business Administration has a wealth of information available for businesses who are writing a business plan, including a helpful business plan template. Click here to visit their site.