Making Your Dream a Reality: How to Prepare a Business Plan

By: Nina Padolf, PhD - Associate Faculty, General Education Department

January 23, 2018

Business Plan, man at desk

Are you thinking about starting your own business and you just are not sure what you should do first? Well, there are many experts out there that can give you great tips and templates that offer business plans for your type of business but, the bottom line is, you need to have the drive and commitment to organize and plan accordingly. Having an idea is just part of the picture. Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself to see if you have what it takes.

  1. Are you a self-starter? Procrastination can stop even the best ideas, so do you have the ambition and drive to do things on your own?

  2. What are your expectations? Do you think that you will work less if you own your own business? This is not the case.

  3. What are your financial goals? Experts say that you should be prepared to work more for less money.

  4. Can you plan and organize? These skills are required to make your business a reality. 

While some will tell you that 95% of businesses fail within the first five years, obviously some must be successful. How can you be one of those success stories? There are some steps that you should take to be one of the ones that succeeds The offers these key points:

  • You should have an executive summary: This is a snapshot of your business.
  • You should have a company description: This describes what your company does.
  • Customize a market analysis: Research on your company, the market and its competitors.
  • Organization and management: What is the structure of your company?
  • Service or products offered to your customers.
  • Marketing and Sales: What is your business sales strategy?
  • Funding requests: How much money you will need for the next 3-5 years?
  • Financial projections: Provide financial information like balance sheets.
  • Appendix: Optional but includes things like permits and résumés.

Now that you are beginning to see that there are plenty of things to do before you start a business, having a business plan is a good place to start. Here are some other steps to take:

1. Do plenty of research, really get to know the market, review other business plans, and go to others that have been successful.

2. Determine the purpose of your plan—determine the nature of your business marketing strategy and a projected profit and loss statement.

3. Create a company profile—this should offer a history of your company, what products or services you offer, your target market and audience, your resources, how you’re going to solve a problem, and what makes your business unique. The profile is often found on websites and helps to attract customers to your services and products.

4. Document all aspects of your business—you need to keep records of all transactions—this is essential, especially if you plan on getting investors or other funding. It also will help you keep track of how you are doing and projected sales. Seek advice from a business accountant.

5. Have a strategic marketing plan, with marketing objectives, things like new products, new territories, new sales, just name a few things.

6. Make it adaptable based on your audiences—bankers will be interested in cash flow statements and balance sheets.

7. Explain why you care—show how you are passionate, dedicated and actually care about your business plan.


There are places that you may want to check out to get a free template. Here is one of them that offers plans for different types of businesses and it is free!

Here is a link to small business facts that may help you do some more research.

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By: Nina Padolf, PhD - Associate Faculty, General Education Department

January 23, 2018