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If you have been in business for several years, chances are you have successfully developed business plans in the past and probably do not need to change what you have done. However, if you are just starting your first business, you may benefit from the following suggestions on how to develop a business plan. These are only suggestions - do not let these suggestions hinder your creativity!
A business plan is, in the simplest terms, a written plan of where a company is going, how it will get there and what it will look like once it arrives. Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are leaders. Investors, for whom many business plans are written, are followers. A well written business plan communicates the company's plan in a concise and disciplined manner to potential investors and other stakeholders so that they may follow the company leadership.
Most start-up and many development stage companies avoid writing a business plan until they are in need of money to finance the growth of their business. Motivated by the need to raise money from banks, business angels, venture capitalists, family, friends, etc., the entrepreneur begins this unique form of communication with the intent of convincing potential investors that they can make money along with the entrepreneur.
Regardless of the reason for writing a business plan, the effort is most beneficial, if you perceive both the business planning process and the growth of your company as evolutionary processes. A well-conceived business plan is not only an excellent selling document, but provides the company senior management with increased acumen which will allow them to effectively use the business planning tool to raise the funds required.
A business plan is only as good as the research and effort which precedes it. Therefore, the purpose of this brief document is to provide you with a generic business plan outline. We, at NCIC, want to help you prepare a well-developed business plan. The following is a generic business plan outline used by many successful small, medium and large sized businesses.