Guide to Starting and Operating a Small Business | 2018 Guide to Starting and Operating a Small Business - Page 68

MI-SBDC Business Plan Overview Cover Page Table of Contents Executive Summary Section 1 – Company Introduction Section 2 – Market Analysis/Marketing and Sales Section 3 – Management and Operations Section 4 – Financials MI-SBDC Business Plan Outline Section 1—Company Description/Introduction Introduce and describe your company. How/why was your company formed? How long has your company been in operation? Where is the company located and what is its legal entity? As you write your business description and the entire plan, think of ways you might make each section more interesting to read, especially if the plan will be used to acquire funding. A business plan should tell a story as it defines your business goals and actions. You may want to highlight the following elements within this section: • Overview of company history/capabilities • Location and hours, legal entity • Product or service description, present state of development (if applicable) • Mission and vision • I ntellectual property status (patents, copyrights, etc., if applicable) • Commercialization strategies (brief summary, if appropriate) • SWOT analysis (your strengths, weaknesses, how you will overcome those weaknesses) Section 2—Market Analysis/Marketing and Sales Industry Analysis Paint a picture of what is happening in your specific industry overall so you can plan how to take advantage of market opportunities. Similarly, industry awareness will help you determine if your sales projections are realistic. For example, is the industry large enough to support another supplier; how fast is your industry growing (sales $, number of customers, profits); are there some segments growing faster than others? You may want to highlight the following elements within this section: • Current industry size, status, and trends (to understand how to position your company for market opportunities and to identify areas of growth or decline) • New products or services in the industry • Trade associations that support your product/service (potentially a great source of industry and market information) • Opportunities and threats affecting the industry (and how you will capitalize on the opportunities and handle the threats) Market Analysis Provide a good description of your market (all who might buy your product or service), then group them into primary and secondary markets. Your primary market is the group that is likely to buy the largest quantity of your product, or that is likely to buy more of your most profitable product. Secondary market includes those customers who will buy, but probably not at the same volume level as your primary target. Next you should estimate how large your target markets are (number of potential customers, how much are they likely to spend in a given year). Then, predict how fast your target markets will grow. Be realistic. Even if every customer loves your product, they all have limits on their ability to spend. 66