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Business Plans

How to write a business plan

Section 1 – Overview and Plan Objectives

Objectives of business plan / current situation analysis in the marketplace

What the business wants (in terms of time goals, profit goals, productivity goals, and required financing) Break financing into large segments – startup, pilot testing, operations, progress monitoring, etc.

Brief description of business opportunities (including overview of client/customer needs to be served)

Obstacles to be overcome

How client/customer needs (in detail, hopefully, based on research described below) are to be served by the business.

Brief Description of business resources (all, including human, financial, and intangible)

Be sure to answer these questions at the outset:  where is your seed money? What is it for?  Then, where is the collateral? If you don’t have this funding, do not continue with this plan until you raise it.

The following section requires you to write a paragraph summary for each succeeding topic.

Section 2 – Experience and Capabilities


Partners, Community Partners

Current Business Accomplishments
Related Past Businesses, their accomplishments
Work Force Experience and Capabilities
Business Assets

Create summaries for each topic here.

Section 3 – Marketing Plan and Forecast

Statement of marketing objectives
Market research (must demonstrate need for proposed services)
Description of opportunity in the marketplace, including building the case for why
people will say, “I would be an absolute fool to do business with anyone but you, regardless of price.”

Analysis of competitive environment – Exactly how is this business better?
This must be seen through the eyes of the potential client/consumer

Develop Marketing Strategy In Terms of Major Variables
Personal Selling

The focus of this section is strategy, but your spirit matters, too.  You must have the burning desire to make all your communications in the appropriate variety of media come alive, reach out and grab prospects and make them want to listen to the message.  Simply do your best to create the following forecasts.  This is best done with numbers and narratives from your marketing plan. Your narratives will be critically analyzed, so pay heed to the first two sentences of this paragraph. This effort will be finalized in the pro forma financial statements in Section 6.

5-year Sales Forecast

Matching 5-year Resources Forecast (divided into variable expenses-those that vary with sales and fixed expenses-those that  do not change over long periods)

Matching 5-year Operating Budget (sales, variable and fixed expenses monthly over the first 12 months, quarterly over  years 2 and 3, and annually over years 4 and 5.

Contingency Plan and Budget Ramifications

Financing Requirements

These are mechanical variables that must reflect the marketing strategy and some realistic assumptions about its impact in the marketplace.  You really need to make your case here.

Section 4 – Development Plan ( Execution of Marketing Strategy)

Expected growth of demand and how your business will meet it
Detail of expenditures
Describe new facilities
Describe new personnel
Describe new product line or services
Describe new anything else
Advertising and promotion

Advertising and promotion provides the means for the marketplace to buy the product or service.  It must involve a systematic process that continuously nurtures prospects and gives them enough information on a consistent basis so that, when they finally become ready, they instantly, automatically choose your product or service.

Other expenditures to execute marketing strategy

Section 4 must be based on realistic projections about marketing the product or service and the acquisition of the resources that will make it possible.

Section 5 – Plan of Action

Create your detailed Plan of Action here, complete with its financial implications. The plan of action details the resources (intellectual, research, human. and physical resources you will use, in your business development, in a specified, phased order. The phases usually involved initial market research and marketing plan, gathering of potential resources, determination of pre-operation activities costs and financing, determination and sourcing of all resources needed for operations and their cost and financing, the incurrence of revenue and the cost of operations, the cost of monitoring and special maintenance, and the cost of new product or service research and development.  The plan should be written out in a stepwise manner in chronological order.  It should include a timetable for your progression.

Section 6 – Pro Forma Financial Statements

The Pro Forma Financial Statements are constructed on a spreadsheet that Wolfsons provides.  They include, in line item form: Your marketing plan costs, adding all of the support necessary to execute it. Sales forecasts (from above), Variable expenses, fixed expenses, and profit or surplus monthly for 12 months, quarterly for years 2 and 3 and annually for years 4 and 5)

Cash Flows, and Balance Sheets) for at least 3 years

Present detailed notes to support each statement’s line item (from Plan of Action)


Make available all Relevant Past or Ancillary Financial Statements and Tax Returns
Develop and present a Sensitivity Analysis on all critical input factors (sales, costs, expenses, interest rates, debt characteristics, equity characteristics)

Section 7 – Valuation of Business Assets

Present appraised values of tangible and intangible assets
Present evidence of contracts and covenants

Section 8 – Appendices

Narrative Appraisals
Statistical Analyses
Detailed Market Studies
Ancillary Information (media articles, references)

The final step is to match your needs to the appropriate financing source. Wolfsons is available for counseling on that issue. Writing a business plan is, of course, of indispensable value in its own right, but the usual objective is to obtain financing.