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Starting a Business

1. Refine your idea

❶While all business plans share the common objective of describing a businesses purpose and structure, analyzing the marketplace, and creating cash flow projections, the types of plans differ. Describe your product or service.

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Many people agonize endlessly over dreaming up the perfect company name. Instead, at least for now, forget branding and unique selling propositions and all the business-identity stuff. Remember, your business can operate under a different name than your company name. A "doing business as" form takes minutes to complete. And you can change your company name later, if you like. An EIN is the federal tax number used to identify your business. Instead, apply online at the IRS website.

Your county or city will require a business license. The form takes minutes to fill out. Use your EIN instead of your Social Security number to identify your business for privacy reasons if nothing else. You may be asked to estimate annual gross receipts. Businesses are taxed on "personal" property, just like individuals. Where I live, no form is required for the year the business is established. If you are required to file a business personal-property tax form and you plan to work from home using computers, tools, etc.

If you purchase tangible personal property during your first year in business, you will list those items when you file your business personal-property tax form the following year.

Every locality has different requirements. Starting a business requires a lot of time, effort and hard work, and many would-be entrepreneurs end up failing. Refine your idea 2. Build a business plan 3. Assess your finances 4. Determine your legal business structure 5. Register with the government and IRS 6. Purchase an insurance policy 7. Build your team 8. Choose your vendors 9. Brand yourself and advertise The concept, brand following and business model are already in place; all you need is a good location and the means to fund your operation.

Now that you have your idea in place, you need to ask yourself a few important questions: What is the purpose of your business? Who are you selling to? What are your end goals? How will you finance your startup costs? These questions can be answered in a well-written business plan. A lot of mistakes are made by new businesses rushing into things without pondering these aspects of the business. You need to find your target customer base.

Who is going to buy your product or service? Conducting thorough market research on your field and demographics of potential clientele is an important part of crafting a business plan. If you lack business or financial education, it is never a bad idea to enlist the help of an accountant to assist with the financial analysis portion of the plan. The above sections are the broad components of the business plan. These sections in turn break down into the following seven sections, which we will, in order, focus on writing next: Company description, market analysis, organization structure and management, products and services, marketing and sales, and request for funding.

Format your document correctly. Format section titles in Roman Numeral order. Write your company description as the first section. To do this, describe your business and identify the marketplace needs for your product or service. Briefly describe your key customers and how you intend to succeed.

Write your market analysis. The purpose of this section is explore and demonstrate knowledge of the market your business is operating within. You should be able to answer questions like, who is your target market? What are their needs and preferences? How old are they, and where are they located? Make sure to include a competitive analysis that provides research and information on immediate competitors.

List your main competitors strengths and weaknesses and the potential impact on your business. This section of the business plan focuses on key personnel. Include details about the business owners and its management team. If the owners and managers and have extensive backgrounds in the industry or a track record of success, highlight it.

If you have an organizational chart, include it. Describe your product or service. What are you selling? How will customers benefit? How is it better than your competitors products or services? Do you currently have or anticipate developing a prototype, or filing for a patent or copyright? Note all planned activities. For example, if you are writing a plan for a coffee shop, you would include a detailed menu that would outline all your products.

Before writing the menu, you would include a short summary indicating why your particular menu sets your business apart from others. Our wide variety will be a key competitive advantage as we can provide a diversity of product offerings that our main competitors are currently not offering". Write your marketing and sales strategy. In this section, explain how you intend to penetrate the market, manage growth, communicate with customers, and distribute your products or services.

Will you use sales representatives, billboard advertising, pamphlet distribution, social media marketing, or all of the above? Make a funding request. If you will use your business plan to secure funding, include a funding request.

Explain how much money you need to start and maintain your small business. Provide an itemized summary of how start-up capital will be used. Give a timeline for your funding request. To accurately complete this step, in some cases it might be necessary to hire an accountant, lawyer, or other professional. For one full year, provide monthly and quarterly statements. Each year after that, yearly statements. These documents will be placed in the Appendix Section of your business plan.

Include projected cash flows for at least 6 years or until stable growth rates are achieved and if possible, a valuation calculation based on discounted cash flows. Write the executive summary. Your executive summary will serve as an introduction to your business plan.

Remember to place this section at the beginning of your document. When was the business first conceptualized? What are some notable growth benchmarks? Start-ups will focus more on industry analysis and their funding goal. Existing businesses and start-ups should highlight any major achievements, contracts, current or potential clients and summarize future plans. Potential investors might want to see this information before making a decision.

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A business plan is a written description of your business's future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've .

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If you are a small business owner who is struggling to write a business plan, help is here. Planning is one of the most important, yet often underestimated, parts of starting a business. In fact, many businesses fail from lack of research, goals and a thorough plan. The business planning process requires a lot of time, work, and effort, though. The following pages will describe in detail the seven essential sections of a business plan: what you should include, what you shouldn't include, how to work the numbers and additional resources you can turn to for help.

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Oct 23,  · First, you want your business plan to be read (and no one is going to read a page or even page business plan). Second, your business plan should be a tool you use to run and grow your business, something you continue to /5(). Jul 11,  · To write a business plan for a small business, start by writing an executive summary that briefly outlines your business. Follow that with a company description that explains your business in more detail%().