Business Plan Advice from the SBA

Learn Business Plan Tips from the Experts

crowdfunding expert tipsBusiness plans are crucially important to the success of your company – especially in the online crowdfunding realm. This is your one chance to clearly explain the current state and future projections of your company to the investing world. Writing a business plan may be a challenge, but with the right advice, you can create a masterpiece to help achieve your funding goals.

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a variety of educational materials to help entrepreneurs and small businesses get off on the right foot. Within these resources is the section Create Your Business Plan with articles on specific topics of a proper business plan. If you find yourself scratching your head and not knowing where to begin; take a deep breath, prepare your preferred note-taking method and get ready for some solid business plan advice.

Here are seven business plan topics in ascending order as instructed by the SBA:

Company Description

As a new business or startup, you don’t have a lot of information to share about your company. An established business would start their business plan with an Executive Summary, but in your case, we will begin with a Company Description. In this section it is important to highlight your background, experience and market analysis. Your Company Description should include:

  •      –  the nature of your business
  •      –  the needs you will satisfy
  •      – how your product/service will satisfy those needs
  •      – the market you plan to serve
  •      – your competitive advantages

Market Analysis

Your Market Analysis must be in-depth and informative. The research for this section may be time consuming, but in order to prove your competency in your market, you must put it in writing. The SBA lists eight individual topics to cover which can be found here: http://www.sba.gov/content/market-analysis

Organization & Management

Once you have shared your Market Analysis, it is time to highlight your organizational structure and management team. The SBA recommends entrepreneurs “create an organizational chart with a narrative description” and this is certainly a wise approach. Let your investors and potential employees know exactly who does what in your company. You will also be discussing your Ownership Information and the qualifications of your Board of Directors.

Service or Product Line

Now is the time to really WOW your readers with the benefits of your product or service. The structure of this section will vary on what you are selling, but some universal topics include a description, the details of the life cycle, intellectual property and research and development activities. This section of your business plan is certainly a breaking point for consumers, so please, be sure to share all of the amazing attributes in a clear and concise manner.

sba expert crowdfunding tipsMarketing & Sales

Next you will explain how you are going to create customers and actually sell your product. An equally precise marketing strategy and sales strategy are a winning team for any business plan. From market penetration to training your sales force, let each potential investor or employee know you have a plan for success that is ready for action.

Funding Request

Here it is – the meat and potatoes of your business plan. Your investors will want to know how much you want now, how much you want in the future and how long each round of funding will be. In equity crowdfunding you will want to disclose what percentage of your company you will be giving up as well.  Investors will want to know how their money will be used right away and what your strategic financial situational plans are for the future – so be specific.

Financial Projections

According to the SBA, “all businesses, whether startup or growing, will be required to supply prospective financial data.” A general approach would be to include forecasted income sheets, cash flow statements, balance sheets and capital expenditure budgets. The SBA also recommends your projections match your funding requests to maintain a consistent financial approach. A short financial analysis accompanied by infographics may be a great way to drive your message home and leave a lasting image in the minds of your audience. When it comes to finding the best advice, it is always wise to go to the source. This article may have been a briefing on what the SBA recommends for your business plan, but if you follow their detailed instructions step-by-step you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. And, you may learn a thing or two about your own company you didn’t know before. [hs_action id=”811″] Thank you for reading and feel free to comment below!

Posted in Business Plan, Entrepreneurs, Equity Crowdfunding, Start-ups

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