This guide to writing a business plan will outline the most important parts and what should be included in an effective plan.
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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 written a plan, or at least the germ of one.
Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities. And you want to get to there, a point in the future (usually three to five years out), at which time your business will have a different set of resources and abilities as well as greater profitability and increased assets. Your plan shows how you will get from here to there.
You can visit our small business encyclopedia to learn more about business plans or our FormNet area to get the necessary forms to get started.
Before writing your plan
Writing your business plan
Business Plan Tools
Business Planning Videos
Video: What Investors Really Think About Your Business Plan. At our Entrepreneur magazine Roundtable, financial pros offer tough talk about the business plans of first-time entrepreneurs:
Video: How Can I Hire Someone to Help Write My Business Plan? In the video below, Tim Berry, founder and president of Palo Alto Software Inc., responds to a reader seeking advice on finding a low-cost writer to help with a business plan: