Developing a business plan is the process of putting the key ideas of your business into a concise written document. Business plans vary depending on the nature of the business and the goods, services, or products being sold. All business plans, however, should contain some basic information about the business.
The tool below is designed to assist you in putting together a complete business plan. Each section of the plan should be detailed, thorough and well written. All of the critical aspects of your business need to be addressed in the appropriate sections.
Welcome to the Business Plan Wizard which will walk you step-by-step through the process of creating your business plan.
A plan helps you find hidden business flaws and makes you think carefully about each phase of your business. By writing the plan yourself, you will gain in-depth knowledge about your business which will make it easier to answer any questions. Most importantly, the process of writing your business plan will clarify what is involved in making your business work successfully.
This wizard is designed to give instructions, hints, and a template to aid in developing your business plan. Any action taken based on the information obtained herein is done so at the user's own risk and should not be considered, or construed as a guarantee for future funding.
The wizard is organized by business plan sections. At the bottom of each page, you can click on whether to go to the next section, return to a previous section, or return to this home page.
The instructions provided are designed to compliment a Microsoft Word template for your business plan. This template needs to be downloaded and saved on your pc. To retrieve the template, click the link below.
Download The Microsoft Word Business Plan Template (requires Microsoft Word)
Now you are ready to begin your business plan. To begin, click "Next" below.
Developing a business plan is the process of putting the key ideas of your business into a clearly written document. You'll need a written business plan if you are:
A business plan is the roadmap for your business goals. It's essential for obtaining outside funding or credit; it helps you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your approach; helps you develop a marketing strategy and organizes your financial information; and works through creating your business goals and objectives.
Business plans vary depending upon a number of factors, including the nature of the business for which the plan is developed. All business plans, however, should contain some basic sections:
A well organized business plan is essential to making a professional first impression. All business plans should be organized with the following:
Make sure that you read through your entire business plan once you're finished writing and edit any errors or parts of your plan that are unclear. Once you're done, make copies for your lender and for others who are interested in your business. Make sure all the copies you submit are readable and include original signatures. Lenders keep your presentation even if you are rejected, so make copies for yourself of everything you submit.
The first major section of your business plan is the business information section, which provides written details about the way your business is organized and will conduct operations. The business information section lets someone who is unfamiliar with your business understand the basic concepts that are critical to your success. The Kentucky Business One Stop template breaks the Business Information Section into several subcategories:
The Kentucky Business One Stop template will walk you through a series of questions for each section. As you answer the questions in each category they will provide the text for your business plan. Remember that the questions are used only as a prompt for each section and will not appear on the final printed version of your business plan.
The financial information section is very important to your business plan. Having the ability to read, understand, and even create the basic information in your business financials will empower you to protect and grow your business. There are five sections to the financial section of the Kentucky Business One Stop business plan.
You will need to complete a Personal Financial Statement for each person listed in the business plan who will be guaranteeing the loan (partners, officers, stockholders). At the end of your business plan, in the Supporting Documentation Section, you will need to add details supporting the figures you have entered here. A complete list of suggested documents can be found later in this wizard.
The Balance Sheet is like a snapshot of your business, at a particular moment. The numbers change every day. The Balance Sheet measures what you own, what you owe, and cash on hand is the last variable; when taken together this information is crucial to understanding the financial health of your business. Your Balance Sheet will include the following:
Current Assets - Can be converted into cash in one year
Non-Current Assets - Takes one year or more to turn into cash
Total Assets - Add Current Assets and Non-Current Assets
Current Liabilities - Liabilities due within one year
Long-Term Liabilities - Due for more than one year
Total Liabilities - Add the Long-Term and Current Liabilities
Total Liabilities & Capital - Add Liabilities and Capital Equal to Total Assets
The Income Statement evaluates your company's financial performance. Expenses are subtracted from income, which gives you the business' net profit (or loss) over a period of time. Other names for the Income Statement are Operating Statement, Earnings Statement, or Profit and Loss Statement. Your Income Statement will include the following:
The Cash Flow Statement shows the money that comes into and out of the business. Profits do not guarantee positive cash flow. You need to know or estimate income and expenses based on the direct and variable costs of your products or services. Cash must be available to pay bills on time and for day-to-day activities.
The five items shown at the bottom of the Cash Flow Statement can be kept separately and included at the bottom of your monthly cash flow projections. They are important planning and cash flow projection tools.
When a company has neither a profit nor a loss, it is the breakeven point. It is important to determine your breakeven point so you know the sales needed for your business to be profitable. The numbers for this formula come from your Income Statement.
The Kentucky Business One Stop Template will walk you through the steps in the calculations below.
The Supporting Documentation Section comes at the end of your business plan, and contains the details and documents that support or further explain your business plan. The Kentucky Business One Stop business plan template contains a placeholder for several key sections of your supporting documentation. The sections and the suggested content are listed below.
For the Owners:
For the Business:
Research and Estimates
A lender will be looking at the basic information about you and your business in determining whether you qualify for financing, in general the lender will look at what are called the "C's Rules" in making their decision:
Before you start the process of formally completing a business loan application you should consider the following general questions, and keep them in mind as you're writing: