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What information goes into a good business plan?

When you're starting a business, one tool that you'll hear people mention is a business plan. It's a commonly used tool in financial circles and helps get everyone at the company on board with your overall vision, mission and direction. But what is it, what goes into it and how can you use it to get everything moving in the right direction? Here's a quick look at a good business plan's content.

  • Executive summary. This should be one of the last areas that is written, as it summarizes the rest of the plan. It will touch on each area below, but shouldn't be too repetitive of the later sections. You're giving the reader a taste, not an entire meal.

  • Products/services. Though many people think that this involves listing items, it actually entails telling how you're going to solve your customer's problems. Are you the only plumber in town who doesn't charge an obnoxious fee to come fix the pipes at midnight?

  • Market analysis. What is your target demographic? Are there any changes happening in that market? If you live in a town of 5,000 and there are already 23 plumbers, how are you different and what will allow you to compete with the existing companies?

  • Strategy implementation. This section will contain your sales and marketing plans as well as any other logistical issues or equipment that may be involved in running your company.

  • Company and management. Who are you and your management staff? This tells the reader about your company's history, organization and unique properties that will make it shine.

  • Financial plan. For an absolute minimum, this needs to cover profit and loss, cash flow and mention any assumptions you're making in your calculations for capital needs.

By having a solid business plan in place for your company, it becomes much easier to make headway in your market. But what if you're not sure exactly what to put in and what should be left out? At AccountRely, we've helped many entrepreneurs develop a business plan that helps them move their company out of their dreams and into the real world, and we'd be delighted to help you create a good business plan. Please feel free to contact us today to get started.

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