Writing an Effective Business Plan

To ensure you’re approved for government business grants, a business plan is one of the most important factors. Government grants for small businesses are allotted to the well prepared future business owners. This detailed paper is what all lenders will use to decide whether it is a good idea to invest in your company. A business plan will provide lending bureaus and granters with information outlining your goals, expected costs, marketing plan and exit strategy. Below is information on how to format your business plan, along with things to consider in the process.

Business Plan Format

1) Executive Summary
This is a one- or two-page document highlighting your basic business concept, goals, and company vision.

2) Management Team
This section will include brief biographies of owners and all key management team members. You will also want to provide details of your company’s organizational structure and history.

3) Business Profile
This will be the largest section where you describe what you are selling product or service to be offered and an in-depth outline of goals. Be specific. Include management responsibilities with dates and budgets. Make sure you can track results.

4) Economic Assessment
Even if all other parts of your business plan are sound, if there is no room in the market for your product or service, your grant application will be refused. So, show them that there is market potential for your service or product.Write about your contribution to the market, customer needs, where they are, how to reach them, etc. You will also want to make sure to include your projected Profit and Loss and Cash Flow tables.

Key Considerations

Does your plan include…

1) A Sound Business Concept?
Are there other successful businesses like yours out there? If not, why is that? Talk to industry professionals and make sure that the business idea you have in your head can translate into a sound business in reality.

2) A Consistent Business Focus?
Try to focus in on a small specialized area of your sector. So many budding entrepreneurs make the mistake of selling everything, yet specializing in nothing. Narrow your idea down to a single product or service and then branch out once your business is established and profiting.

3) Proven Ability to Maintain Financial Control?
This is a biggie. Even though a grant is a cash donation to your business that never has to be repaid, granters still want to make sure that their money is going to good use. They will want to see that your organization is qualified and capable to do regular accounting and cash flow management. So show them!

4) A Healthy, Growing, and Stable Industry?
There are certain industries that just aren’t profitable or perhaps too much of a risk for granters and lenders to invest their money in. Provide proof that your product or service fills a void in today’s economic market and that there are real profits to be made.

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