Host: What are the elements of a business plan?
Fred Glave: Basically, a business plan is a bunch of narratives that describe all the elements of your business and then add it to a lot of financial statements as we talked about before and they make the road map that we describe as describing your business, your objectives and how you are going to get there. Business plan typically, will include an executive summary, it will include a description of your product or your business, how you are going to market it, what market you are addressing. It will include an operations plan, it will include a management and human resource plan and then a list of capital assets and investment required to start your business and a set of financial statements. The business plan overall, is a fairly standard document and there are many commercial programs available. However, if you want one that is easy to access and easy to understand, we again suggest you go to the SCORE website, click on business resources and templates, you will find all of the narrative portions of the business plan in Word format and the financial charts in Excel format. So it is an easy process. Each of the narrative formats ask a bunch of questions and so you can write your business plan as a set of short, narratives trying to respond to those questions. Now you don't need to answer all of them or include everything in a business plan that is laid out in that template, only the things that matters to your business and are important to it. When you are done, you can take all those narratives and write them into one a complete, smoothly flowing narrative and then attach the financials. The important thing is the business plan is for your use. It forces you to answer the hard questions. Many of the questions we have dealt with here today are in this series of videos, but unless you sit down and force yourself through the discipline of thinking them through and writing them down, it will be very tempting just to forget it and carry on with the excitement of starting your business. We recommend strongly that you don't do that and that you use these templates or other similar resources in order to complete that document. One of the features on the website that we recommend and is right at the end is called refining the plan. It gives you tips on what you need to include or maybe don't need to include depending upon the nature of your business. So read that and be guided accordingly as you lay out the total scope of your business plan. We do recommend that if you are planning to seek a bank loan that you pay attention to your writing style because a bank will want to see a copy of your business plan and obviously, the better it is written, the better the presentation you will make to the bank officer and it will increase your chances of obviously of getting professional and well-prepared and therefore, improve your chances of securing a loan. So business plan is important for a number of reasons and don't neglect any of them. 1