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Business Plan and Start Up Newsletter Issue #1024-Design Your Plan To Fit Your Business
November 10, 2005

Business Plan And Start Up Newsletter
November 2005
Shaunta Pleasant
Writing Editor, TL Manage Inc.


Business Plan Pro... Everything banks; lenders and the SBA look for!  Produce your business plan quickly and easily... For entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Business Plan Pro 2005

Table of Content

Design Your Plan To Fit Your Business

How Can We Help You Write Your Business Plan?

Five Year Self-Employment Plan - The No Hype Way Into Business

A Few Cool Helpful Notes

Design Your Plan To Fit Your Business

By Palo Alto Software, Inc.


Business planning is about results. For every business plan, you need to make the contents of your plan match your purpose. Don't accept a standard outline just because it's there.

In the United States business market there is a standardization about business plans.

You can find dozens of books on the subject, about as many Web sites, two or three serious software products, and courses in hundreds of business schools, night schools, and community colleges.

Although there are many variations on the theme, a lot of it still falls into the same standard.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is any plan that works for a business to look ahead, allocate resources, focus on key points, and prepare for problems and opportunities.

Business existed long before computers, spreadsheets, and detailed projections. So did business plans.

Unfortunately, people think of business plans first for starting a new business or applying for business loans.

But they are also vital for running a business, whether or not the business needs new loans or new investments. Businesses need plans to optimize growth and development according to priorities.

What's a Start-up Plan?

A very simple start-up plan includes a summary, mission statement, keys to success, market analysis, and break-even analysis.

This kind of plan is good for deciding whether or not to proceed with a plan, to tell if there is a business worth pursuing, but it is not enough to run a business with.

Is There a Standard Business Plan?

A normal business plan, one that follows the advice of business experts, includes a standard set of elements.

Plan formats and outlines vary, of course, but generally, a plan will include standard components such as descriptions of the company, product or service, market, forecasts, management team, and financial analysis.

Your plan depends on your specific situation. For example, if you're developing a plan for internal use only (not for sending out to banks or investors), you may not need to include all the background details that you already know.

Description of the management team is very important for investors, while financial history is most important for banks. Make your plan match its purpose.

What's Most Important in a Plan?

It depends on the case, but usually it's the cash flow analysis and specific implementation details.

  • Cash flow is both vital to a company and hard to follow. Cash is usually misunderstood as profits, and they are different. Profits don't guarantee cash in the bank. Lots of profitable companies go under because of cash flow problems. It just isn't intuitive.
  • Implementation details are what make things happen. Your brilliant strategies and beautifully formatted planning documents are just theory unless you assign responsibilities, with dates and budgets, follow up with those responsible, and track results. Business plans are really about getting results and improving your company.

Can you Suggest a Standard Outline?

If you have the main components, the order doesn't matter that much, but here's the outline order we suggest in Business Plan Pro software:

  1. Executive Summary: Write this last. It's just a page or two of highlights.
  2. Company Description: Legal establishment, history, start-up plans, etc.
  3. Product or Service: Describe what you're selling. Focus on customer benefits.
  4. Market Analysis: You need to know your market, customer needs, where they are, how to reach them, etc.
  5. Strategy and Implementation: Be specific. Include management responsibilities with dates and budget.
  6. Management Team: Include backgrounds of key members of the team, personnel strategy, and details.
  7. Financial Plan: Include profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, break-even analysis, assumptions, business ratios, etc.

We don't recommend developing the plan in the same order you present it as a finished document. For example, although the Executive Summary comes as the first section of a business plan, we recommend writing it after everything else is done. It will appear first, but you write it last.

Business planning resources

Business Plan Pro

How Can We Help You Write Your
Business Plan?


Everyday we have people contacting us and asking for help with writing a business plan for their business.  It would be impossible for us to give everyone that asked personal help. 

So I have written a manual that will help you with writing your business plan.  

This manual is intended to aid you in the preparation and the writing of your business plan for your business. 

The first part of it is written to help you write your business plan.  There is plenty of note space for you to take notes as you move through it.  You can also take additional notes on other paper as needed. 

You should write your business plan as you go through this manual. Or, you can go to the Quick Start... Business Plan Work Shop.

This section is written for those of you that want to write a quick little business plan in a speedy amount of time.

This section also includes some worksheets in a printable form.  You can use these worksheets to help you figure out some of the financial information that your business will need to complete.

For More Information about; How To Write A Business Plan... Made Easy

Go To;

Five Year Self-Employment Plan - The No Hype Way Into Business
 by: Larry Eastman


First, allow me to explain that this article isn't about a get rich scheme that's intended to draw you into a scenario of spending your hard earned money on something. This article is intended to highlight some experiences of how I was able to become self-employed and hopefully can pass on some suggestions to you. Perhaps, you may find these suggestions helpful in reaching a goal you choose, whether it be for a part-time or full-time business.

I'm one of the two founders of and also own and operate another off-line wholesale business that was established in 1986. I mention these two businesses because they were both started with a five year business plan, in mind. Now, if you can bear with me, I'll pass on some self-employment business information to you and it won't cost you a cent.

Some people measure success only by monetary achievements, however, others, such as myself gain by how his work can effect an individual. For instance, my nephew (who is in his late 20's) told my wife that I was an inspiration to him in reaching a goal of owning his own business. Of course, I was certainly pleased to learn his comment and started to reflect back on ways that helped me get to where I'm at today. One of my thoughts was to try and help others with what I've learned through the twists and turns on the road up the steep mountain to owning and operating my own business. I'm not going to paint some pretty picture, just give you the facts!

My tips won't apply to those who are seeking a "get rich now scheme." This isn't the article to gain any ideas on how to create a business overnight. You must first figure out what's going to make you happy, and what you consider being successful. Be sure to create business goals in your mind that are realistic. Then, take steps towards those goals. I believe there are two important factors, among many others, that a business minded person should have, and they are to "believe in yourself" and be "persistent."

I also believe that having an independent nature within one's self is a key point to succeeding in business. I've always believed that if I had the know-how to do something, of course, also having the tools and means to do it with always helps, I could achieve a set goal I was after. This brings us to a brief story of how another person can effect and improve on your way to succeeding in business. I'm going to pass on a proven tip that a successful business man informed me about. Two times that I know of, this tip has worked for a retail furniture maker and myself. Both of us have that independent character and the willingness to succeed as a goal. Please bear with the following because there is an important point to make.

After coming home one evening and discovering our television wasn't working, my wife and I decided to take it to a nearby repair shop the next morning. While the television repairman was trying to figure out what was going on with it, we browsed around the furniture section and checked out the new televisions available. Soon the repairman told us the problem with the set and how much it would cost to repair. He showed us the unit within the set that had to be replaced, which would have cost hundreds of dollars by the time he was done. My first thought was, "ya right!, you saw us checking out the others and you're trying to sell us a new one instead!." I guess it's a reasonable first reaction. After pondering and discussing the situation with my wife, and reviewing the other sets with the now "salesman," we decided to go down the street and have some lunch and discuss this dilemma further.

Can you guess who decides to also get some lunch and join us? If you guessed the television salesman, you're absolutely correct! Actually though, it was a nice meal, very friendly and informative. To be fair, the salesman was/is a nice guy and we was pleased with the purchase of the "new" television. It turned out that the television lasted many years and we returned to purchase a new one from the same place after it quit functioning. Okay, now back to the lunch time conversation.

It so happened that this gentleman apparently left his salesman's hat in the furniture store and didn't try any sales pitches on us during our lunch. Our conversation soon turned into his and his brother's business life, as both were partners running the furniture store. From what I recall of the opening of the conversation, I mentioned what nice furniture they offered within the store. He said, his brother made some of it and that they purchase from another furniture maker that is located in Massachusetts. As a fellow woodworker and a wannabe self-employed, this certainly sparked my interest, so the first question came out automatically, "How did you guys get your business to where it's at now?"

This gentleman soon explained that they worked in the nearby factory full-time while also making furniture. They moonlighted creating the furniture and began selling to individuals, which helped with extra income in order to invest in the business. He explained about the quality of the furniture they made over large manufacturers, which brought them repeat business. Although this statement stuck with me, it was his next statement that helped my mind's conditioning towards my own business. He mentioned that his brother and himself set a goal of working in the factory full-time for 5 years while they worked on expanding their furniture business. Within that 5 years, they made enough extra furniture to create an inventory to supply and open their own outlet store. This gentleman also went to school to learn television repair, which helped to enhance their business. Once the goal of 5 years was completed, these two entrepreneurs had one goal in mind, to quit the day jobs and work that newly available time in their own developed business. By this time they had acquired all the tools needed to create fine furniture, an outlet store, another sideline with television sales and repair business, a couple delivery vehicles, and most important for any business, a very satisfied clientele of repeat customers.

The non-working television and that lunch with the repairman/salesman/gentleman ended up effecting my life tremendously. After that lunch-time conversation, my life took on an approach that I probably never would of thought of before. As I was already working full-time for someone else and starting a business on the side, my new thought was to set goals for the following 5 years and certainly had incentive to meet them. Going to work full-time for someone else had a new meaning, especially when you start to see your extra hard work through the part-time sideline business start to pay off and you have a feeling that someday your going to say to the boss, "I'm taking my talent elsewhere."

Those 5 years of working for someone else and running my own part-time business passed many years ago. I'm just pointing out, that an idea such as working full-time and part-time for 5 years has worked in the past for those previously mentioned furniture makers and myself. Of course, there are pros and cons to everything. Being self-employed doesn't mean that you give up your day job and so goes the boss right along with it. Now that you've created a new full-time self-employed business, you're taking on many new bosses, such as your customers. Each of your customers are actually your boss in one way or another. So now you've taken on many bosses, which are your customers or clients and they are now paying your income, and if you don't produce a quality product that they find useful, you may find yourself back working for someone else.

In my opinion, those previously mentioned furniture makers were successful because they created their own quality furniture and was able to gain a market through retailing their products. However, they may not have been so successful if they hadn't taken the five years to introduce their quality products, build their own outlet store, and have their already established clientele.

Again, my intention of this article wasn't to paint some pretty picture of you being able to be self-employed. There certainly are pros and cons in gaining some type of independence through self-employment. The point of this article is, if you want to be self-employed and don't expect things to drop into your lap, you can succeed if you work at it and give enough time for your business to grow. So, take your time and proceed towards a business if you desire. With a five year business plan, two things you might be able to avoid, one is developing burn out, and another is keeping yourself from taking out a huge bank loan and becoming financially in debt in the process of business development.

© 2005 by Larry Eastman - Courtesy of at We specialize in how-to related CDbooks and eBooks. Also provides a "How To Do It" - Resource Directory at where there's FREE self-help Art, Automotive, Cooking, Crochet & Knitting, Drinks, Games, Health, Home, Music, Pets, Recreation, Sewing, Website, Woodworking and more.

A Few Cool Helpful Notes


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Business Plan Pro 2005 includes:
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- Most Preferred Format to give banks, lenders, and VCs what they are looking for.
- Most Complete with everything you need to define your business, compare industry ratios, set schedules, create personnel and mini-marketing plans, and find funding.

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All the best,

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