Business Plan Writing Plan

A well structured business plan can provide in-depth understanding of your existing or proposed business. A wide vision will be provided, showing your own goals, objectives and information regarding your available finances and additional funds you will require. When drafting your own business plan, there are four key areas that require specific attention:

- The nature of your business /niche market

- Management of the business and entrepreneurs involved

- Market conditions in which the business operates

- Financial management, planning; risks and rewards associated with the total investment in the business

A professional business plan should incorporate a cover page which will include an executive summary and a business overview which identifies the business’ profile and the product or service associated with the company. This is then followed with a management section which presents any entrepreneurs involved and the management structure, after which comes the Market section made up as follows:-

- Industrial and marketing analysis

- Sales and marketing strategy

- Financial Statements and Projections

- The Legal and Regulatory environment

- “SWOT” analysis and risk/reward assessment

- Appendices with documentation in support thereof

An Executive Summary is arguably the vital part of any business plan. It is the media by which your strategy will be sold to the investor and is an overview of the entire business plan which should highlight the main objectives and provide summaries of each section associated with it. Therefore, even though it is set at the beginning of the document, it is presented at the end to rehash the essentials of the plan.

The business overview will require a business profile with thorough information on the background and history of your business, i.e: how was it formed and whether it is a new business or not. A mission statement must be also presented, as well as the long and short term objectives relating to the business’ growth. Development and possible exit strategies, such as going public or buying out investors are listed among these options. The second part of the overview will describe in detail, the product or service marketed by the business and any innovative features offered that give an advantage over the competition. Include the key technologies being employed, together with any current and future research and developments. The location and premises particulars are important factors and if applicable, any production facilities. These should be fully presented, with any relative and associated information.

All aspects related or associated directly or indirectly, are to be listed and an organizational chart should be included. Payment, incentives, share options, and conditions of employment relating to key management and directors, together with any management deficiencies, should form part of the presentation. A further highlighted aspect for inclusion, relates to the situation concerning current levels of employment, labor relations and union membership. All other pertinent facts involved with the operation of the business should be revealed and explained comprehensively.

The Market presentation should summarize the industry in which your company operates. Most of the facts you will present, may be researched from government statistics and trade organizations. Your summary should describe current trends and developments within the industry, including the major influencers and any industrial problems. You should also review influencing events, nationally and globally, together with the effects of legislation on the industry generally. The Market analysis and Sales Strategy will be given a full and in-depth presentation. Show future growth potential, with a complete analysis as to the overall trends and expectations. Your existing customer base must be listed and any orders or letters of intent must be shown in support. A comparison should be presented with your competitors, as to pricing structures, product quality, their service delivery and expectations regarding their reaction to your business activity in the marketplace. Adding to this is your strategy to increase and develop the present customer base, advertising and targets.

Your financial statements and projections should be summarized within the body of the business plan. A detailed analysis as an appendix should also be attached. This should show a historical finance performance with at least three sets of audited annual statements in support. It would be advisable in this respect, to consult your accountant or auditor. Legal and Regulatory Environment should display all legal documents, including licenses, copyrights and certificates associated with your business. “SWOT” Analysis and Risk/Reward Assessment, will provide definite information on possible strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Review the strategies carried out in respect of the risk factors and end your Business Plan document with Appendices and Support.

In order to get your business off the ground and see it reach its full potential, a professionally drafted and presented business plan is a must. In a society where competition within business is fierce, it is important that we do all we can in order to get our business off the ground and thriving as soon as possible.

How to Start an Ice Cream Business – A Simple Guide to Would-Be Entrepreneurs

Starting with a small business is indeed a good idea if you want to venture into being an entrepreneur. However, one of the most common dilemmas of many people is the type of business that you want to start with. If you want to start with something small, putting up an ice cream business may be one of your best choices.

If you are interested in an ice cream business, you can start by learning everything you can about the business. To help you have a good start, here are a few things that you may find useful in learning how to start an ice cream business.

- Decide on your product. Yes, an ice cream business sells ice cream but you have to create a product that can make your ice cream business stand out from the rest. You may want to put some distinguishing style, taste or packaging to your ice cream so you can offer something different to the market. Of course, one very important thing is to decide on a product that people would surely love.

- Research and study your target market. If you want your products to sell, you have to make sure that it is what your target market wants. Of course, putting a product for sale with only very few demands of it may make your business not so lucrative. A simple market research could be of great help especially if you are just starting. Competition is already there and getting into the picture without any preparations can be disastrous to your business.

- Make your business plan. Put into writing everything that you need to carry out for your business. From your budget to your marketing, it is important to put them in one document called your business plan. You also have to put your vision and goals in there to help you set the direction that you would want to bring your business to. Remember that this is one of the very important elements on how to start an ice cream business and make a good start as well.

- Decide on your budget. You can actually make a feasibility study as well and jot down everything you need for you to put up the business. If your financial resources won’t suffice, find ways to raise the needed budget for your business. You can apply for a small business loan, borrow from friends, or you can also opt for partnership in your business where you can share the cost as well as the profit with you partner.

- Plan how to market your business. Marketing is one very important element of any business and if you want to make your business grow, you have to plan and focus on your marketing and find ways on how you can reach out to your target market. If your plan does not work, find other strategies in marketing. Keep abreast of the competition in the industry. This will help you make plans and strategies that will allow you to make your business grow.

These are just a few of the things that you need to keep in mind on how to start an ice cream business. keep in mind though that in any business, there are risks and uncertainties that are involved and you must also prepare to face them as well.

ALL Businesses Need an EXIT Strategy

To suddenly realize you are at the point of wanting to exit your business, without really taking the time to prepare for the sale can be a huge and costly mistake. ALL businesses regardless of their size or type must have a competent EXIT STRATEGY! Some successful entrepreneurs choose their business carefully and plan an exit strategy from day one so when it is time to sell their business, they can make a profit.

Here are 14 various options to operate a business until the end:

1. Pass the business on to a family member

Did you know that more than 65% of family owned businesses do not survive to the second generation? This is why planning ahead is very instrumental. Family members are good starting point when you are looking for potential successors. To consider family in an exit strategy, make sure all intra-familial jealousies and rivalries are resolved since these will undermine any smooth transition and ensure the eventual demise of the company. Don’t just look into your immediate family, choose the best candidate regardless.

2. Sell the business to a partner

A partner typically knows the business the best and will most likely continue to grow and operate the business. When choosing this option, you may have to be flexible with your terms and in some cases even carry seller financing. This should not scare you since you believe in your business and your partner’s ability to continue operating the business successfully.

3. Merge with another company

Rather than selling your business entirely, there is always a possibility of merging with another company in the same business (Horizontal approach) or with your supplier or competitor (Vertical approach).

4. Sell the business to your employee

A current employee knows the business and more likely to preserve the business. To prepare for this, you may start selling shares in your company to your employees. One advantage of this is that regardless of number of shares you sell, you can still run the company as long as you desire even if you are no longer a majority shareholder. There are also tax benefits with this option, since you can defer capital gain taxes if you sell at least 30%.

5. Sell the business to a competitor

This might sound terrifying but when it’s time to sell, selling to a rival might be the best option since they are in the same industry and are aware of the growth potential of your business.

6. Take the business public

Offering company stock to the public is certainly a great wait to raise capital. Your business may need some reorganization before going public.

7. Sell to a qualified buyer

Having a qualified, able, ready and willing buyer who has prior employment or managerial experience is essential to a successful sale. A knowledgeable Business Broker can be invaluable in this process.

8. Sell to your trusted friend

A trusted friend similar to a family member has known you for years and appreciates the time and effort you have put into growing this business and would like to see its continued success and growth.

9. Sell your business to your accountant or lawyer

Both your accountant and lawyer are aware of true facts and figures and assets about the company and can put together a fair deal.

10. Sell your company assets

Rather than selling your business entirely, you may want to restructure and sell portions of your business and its assets.

11. Give your business to a charity and take a tax write-off

This will give you a great degree of personal satisfaction. Please consult with a financial advisor prior to choosing this option to ensure no negative fall-outs.

12. Run the business until the end

If you choose this option you are allowing fate to decide when you should quit.

13. Take a loss on your investment

In some cases, taking a loss on your business and letting it go bankrupt might be the best option.

14. Take on an advisory role

Consider a merger or acquisition that will allow you as the owner of the business to take an advisory role to ensure a smooth transition to a new buyer. Advisory roles offer a company owner a way to exit gracefully when it’s time to retire or due to a sudden illness.

Regardless of which option you choose, never simply just close the doors and walk away. Just remember that even if your company is losing money, YOU CAN STILL SELL YOUR BUSINESS AND MAKE A PROFIT!!!

For additional information, please contact Azi Manoussi, Business Broker at Prudens Business Advisors 310.622.8777 or [email protected]