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Business Plan Checklist

 

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Business Plan Checklist If you decide to launch a new business, first you need to develop a plan addressing key aspects of business planning and management, such as Market Analysis, Competition, Customers, and others. Use the following Business Plan Checklist to learn how to develop the key sections of your business plan. 


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1. Write the Executive Summary.

  • Overview. The first section of your business plan is the executive summary. It includes1-2 pages giving a concise overview of the business plan. The section should focus the reader on the key idea of why you believe your business initiative is successful financially. Do the following tasks to write the executive summary of your plan.
  • Document a statement of your company’s mission.
  • Specify date to start business activities.
  • Describe location and address of the company.
  • Make a description of your facilities.
  • Specify current number of employees.
  • Document names of founders and/or executives as well as their roles and functions in the company.
  • Describe products or services your business manufactures/offers.
  • Summarize potential of the business growth, including financial highlights.

2. Conduct Market Analysis.

  • Overview. This section determines a business opportunity your new company can take when having entered the target market. Complete these tasks to conduct analysis of you market.
  • Determine key characteristics of your target market including:
    • geographical location
    • size
    • cyclical trends
    • annual growth rate
    • market segments
    • secondary markets
    • Make a description of your marketing strategies meaning how your business intends to gain market share and what methods are used for this.
    • Specify the pricing structure of the business.
    • Determine financial dominants of your company operating in the existing market environment.
    • Specify profit margins and discount levels offered for purchases.
    • Summarize your market analysis by outlining any trends or changes that would potentially have an impact to your target market.

3. Define Customers.

  • Overview. This section of your business plan will describe people desiring to purchase your product or/and service. You need to investigate customer habits and determines ways to attract target audience. Take the following steps to define customers of your business.
  • Determine people who may be interested in your product/service.
  • Explain why customers need to purchase the product/service.
  • Determine reasons that force customers to change their present buying habits and start purchasing your product/service.
  • Define the value proposition of the product/service to your customers.
  • Outline customer retaining strategies that will encourage customers to repeat multiple purchases.
  • Describe a plan for customer service and support.

4. Investigate Competition.

  • Overview. This section outlines companies competing with your business as well as regulatory issues related to the competitive environment existing in your market. Complete the following tasks to describe competition.
  • Investigate the market and determine companies offering or manufacturing the same or similar products/services.
  • Define competitive advantages of those companies.
  • Describe competitive advantages of your business.
  • Compare the competitive advantages and find out if your business has the first mover (dominant) advantage.
  • Determine any regulatory issues (like licensing, taxation, legal matters, etc.) affecting your competitive advantages.
  • Plan for ways to solve those issues efficiently.
  • (optional) Describe a strategy for treating your business in international trade and under globalization trends – do this task if your business is sufficiently influenced by international competition and foreign markets.

5. Describe the Management Team.

  • Overview. There are some people who make strategic decisions and manage business operations. You need to define those people and form a management team of your new company. The following tasks will be helpful.
  • List names of people involved in managing your business. They are members of the management team.
  • Describe their experience, success and failure in the industry.
  • Identify roles and duties per team member.
  • Specify how much equity every team member has invested in the company.
  • Outline a leadership strategy for keeping the team motivated and enthusiastic.
  • Define the degree of confidence for you as CEO to keep the business successful.

6. Write about Intellectual Property.

  • Overview. This section of your business plan documents unique non-material assets that your company will use to manufacture its products. Do the following several tasks.
  • Refer to patents awarded to the company.
  • Describe patents defensible by the company.
  • Point at breakthrough technology (if any) that your business owns.

7. State Financial Projections.

  • Overview. The final section of your business plan describes financial expectations and trends for a 5-year period. It outlines finance planning indicators and analysis. Complete the following tasks to develop this section.
  • Determine any limiting factors to your company's growth.
  • Summarize the margin analysis, including:
    • EBITDA indicator (Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization)
    • Gross margin
    • Operating cash-flow projections
    • Explain both optimistic and conservative scenarios of the business growth.
    • List key investors and define their equity shares.
    • Specify main capital expenditures over the next 5 years.
    • Make a description of systems and tools to track and control costs.
    • Explain measurable benchmarks for business success in:
      • Revenue ...


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