Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Complete Your Business Plan in 30 Days

Getting started on the business plan is often the biggest hurdle in the whole process of business planning. The project can be overwhelming. While the concept of business planning has tremendous merit, the actual implementation of the process can be daunting, even if you have written a business plan before. One of the most effective ways of completing any project, is to break it into smaller more manageable segments.

Business Plan Calendar
Develop a calendar for the target dates for completion of the business plan by segment. 30 days is a reasonable amount of time to complete your plan. Most business plans take between 40 to 120 hours to complete.

You can work on more than one part of the business plan at the same time. You can research say, competition, while you write the industry section.

Assuming you start the business plan on July 1, your calendar could look something like this:

July 1-Day 1 Start Business Plan and Business Plan Accomplishments Calendar

Day 2 Begin Industry and Economic Review Research

Day 4 Complete Historical Background of the Company Section
You already know most of the information about the historical background of your own company, it should be a matter of consolidating the information, editing it and then polishing. You can probably write this in just a few hours.

Day 5 Complete Industry and Economic Review

Day 6 Begin Goals, Objectives and Strategies
This task is rather comprehensive and will take a few days to complete. Think of it as a brainstorming exercise that determines the future of your company.

Day 7 Begin Competition Analysis Research

Days 8-12 Work on Goals, Objectives and Strategies

Day 9 Complete Management Section
Most entrepreneurs know who their management team will be, or what gaps they have in their management team, so this section is relatively easy. Remember the objective of this section: Show how your management team is uniquely qualified to make this business a success.

Day 12 Complete Goals, Objectives and Strategies

Day 13 Begin Research to determine pricing, costs, and processes for the product section

Day 14 Complete Business Model Section
Again, you should have this pretty well defined just by having determined that you're going to start the company.

Day 15 Complete Product/Service Segment
The product section is usually one of the easiest for entrepreneurs.

Day 16 Complete Competition Section
This is the first section that may be a bit of a challenge.

You're halfway through the 30 days and you've completed seven sections of your business plan.

Day 17 Begin determining the Market and make a first attempt at financial projections.

Day 18 Complete Operations, Production and Facilities Section
This section is pretty cut and dried and shouldn't be difficult to complete.

Day 19 Continue Market determination, start Marketing Strategies

Day 20 Complete the Market Section
Another section that can be a challenge but there's time for revision if necessary.

Day 21 Begin Marketing Strategies and start refining revenue assumptions for financial projections.

Day 22 Complete the Ownership Section
This is one of the easier sections of the plan.

Day 23 Begin seriously working on the expense assumptions for financial projections

Day 24 Complete the first draft of the marketing strategies section.

Day 25 You now should have all the pieces in place to have a realistic first run at financial projections.

Day 26 Complete the Marketing Strategies Section Refine projections

Day 27 Complete the Financial Structure Section Refine projections

Day 28 Complete Strengths and Weaknesses, Final proofing of all sections

Day 29 Final Financial Projections

July 31 -- Day 30 Completion of Business Plan

You can write a business plan in 30 days.

Free business plan format. Dee Power is the author of Business Plan Basics on how to write a business plan and several other nonfiction books, as well as the novel, "Over Time" Money, love, and football: All the important things in life. Her other nonfiction books include "The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success," "58 Ways to Find Money for Your Business, "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital" and "Attracting Capital From Angels."

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