Writing a business plan is an important task that can be made a little bit easier if you could see examples of business plan formats to guide you. For a small business, a business plan may not usually be necessary unless you are planning to secure external financing from a venture capitalist, angel investor or bank. Business plan formats are meant to serve as usable framework, which you can then fill in with details for your own business. Below are some pointers that may help you find a business plan format for your business.
First determine your niche.
When looking for sample business plan formats, it helps if you can first determine your niche or industry, because the type of business plan you will be creating will depend on this. For instance, a plan for a web-design business would be different from a plan for a food-service business.
A good place to start looking for sample business plans is the Internet. Here are a few places where you can find sample business plans.
About.com's Small Businesses Information (sbinformation.about.com) website includes sample business plans, which you can easily adapt for use in your own business. The site also includes various helpful tips and guides in running a small business.
Entrepreneur.com has an entire page dedicated to writing a business plan (http://www.entrepreneur.com/businessplan/), which can help you find the right type of business plan, depending on your needs. For instance, are you planning to secure financing? Or do you simply need a plan to help you with your goal-setting? Entrepreneur's business plan page also gives tips on creating plans according to presentation, such as a ?mini? plan, ?presentation? plan, and the like. Entrepreneur suggests you secure the services of a business consultant in case you want to step up and go for financing, just to make sure you have a solid business plan that investors will agree with.
Bplans.com is a website dedicated to business plans. The site includes sample business plans for various types of businesses and industries. The site also lists guides on how to create a business plan from scratch, and links to recommended business plan writing software. If you only need a template, and can input the details yourself, bplans.com does have a directory of different business plan templates meant to be simply filled in.
HowStuffWorks, the website dedicated to dissecting just about anything under the sun has a section dedicated to businesses and business plans (money.howstuffworks.com/business-plans.htm). The section explores how to plan for the business plan itself, what elements to include, and resources that you can use in building your business plan.
Apart from creating your business plan from a template or format found online, most online resources would usually recommend that you check with a business consultant to see if you have created a sound business plan that's well-attuned to your business, your goals, and that's also attractive to investors and financiers at the same time.
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