If you are starting a new company, or working to turn around a major enterprise, a business plan will help you organize all the items that have to come together to create a winning business. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail! The business plan process serves many purposes:

A reality check for you and your business
A strategic model that allows you to determine the key factors to success
A communication vehicle for recruiting employees, customers, investors and suppliers
A benchmark to gauge performance

The following guidelines come from experience:

Be Honest: Any misstatement will lead to immediate loss of confidence.

Be Positive, but Realistic: Share your dreams, but do not exaggerate expectations. Your business will be measured on its milestones, and failure to achieve them will lead to loss of credibility and financing. Show both your strengths and weaknesses; have remedial plans to address the areas for improvement. Identify potential risks and plans to mitigate them.

Know your facts and figures: Every person in the top management team has to know the details of the business as if the company depended on it, because it does. Research extensively your marketplace and competition. Survey potential customers to test your idea's value. Double-check every expense for reasonableness.

Use Professional Help: Get professional assistance from graphic designers for the look of your presentation. Hire a business communication consultant to edit the written content. Take the business plan to a printing center for professional copy and binding.

Format Standards: We have yet to see two identical business plans, but suggest the following formats

Twenty to Thirty pages (absolute maximum). You may use an Appendix to provide detail for market, operations and financial data.
Electronic document in either a Microsoft Word document, or preferably an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. The 12 point font size is preferred, but it should not be lower than 10 point.
Maintain a small file size for easier transmission. Use graphics where applicable, but keep picture content to a minimum or lower their graphic resolution to 100 dots per inch. We will not accept documents over 1MB in size.

Confidentiality: You should provide as much information as possible in your submission. But you may want to refrain from including in your Business Plan or the rest of your initial submission any truly proprietary ideas, processes, data or sensitive personnel information. We make great efforts to protect the information sent to us, but we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of any information submitted to this or other Sites.


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