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Jan B. King
Business Woman
Jan B. King currently leads a consulting practice primarily devoted to helping traditional publishers, writers, and educators with content development and curriculum design for print publications and innovative web sites. In addition she teaches small business management topics and writes and speaks extensively on employee-ownership and participative management.
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Top 10 Questions about Business Plans Answered - Jan B. King Top 10 Questions about Business Plans Answered (part2) - Jan B. King

Continued from Part 1..
Part 1 - 10 Business Plan Questions


How will I know what information to put into my business plan? 6. How will I know what information to put into my business plan?

There is a standard format for a business plan. It generally includes the following, in this order:
• Cover sheet
• Table of contents
• Executive Summary (1-3 pages)
• Business Concept or Description (including major business goals) (2-4 pages)
• Product/Service Description (4 pages)
• Management Team (4 pages)
• Industry Analysis (2-5 pages)
• Market Strategy and Tactics (3-5 pages)
• Financial Projections (5-10 pages, including basic spreadsheets)
• Operations (5 pages) (Manufacturing Plan, if applicable)
• Appendices (supporting documents)

Where will I get the information for my business plan? 7. Where will I get the information for my business plan?

Much of the information you need will come from your own thoughts, but you must also validate your thinking with hard facts about your business environment to make a convincing argument about why you should open your business.
Look around and pick up all the written material you can about the types of business you want to start: their ads, brochures, and web site information. Write down everything you already know in the worksheets that follow, and then set up a plan to find the rest of the information you need to round out your plan. Don't forget to check the telephone book to find your competition. Besides local data, you will need both marketing data and financial data for your industry. We will cover where to find that in detail in the marketing segment of this course. For an existing business you will also use your own business records (financial statements, operational reports, and sales reports).

What is a Business Plan? 8. What financial documents will lenders and venture capitalists expect me to provide as part of my Business Plan?

New businesses:
.. Proforma Balance Sheet (snap shot of the day you open for business)
.. Proforma income projections (income/profit and loss statements) for three years. Give detail by month the first year and by quarter the 2nd and 3rd year)
.. Breakeven analysis
.. A List of assumptions and other notes
.. Personal Financial Statement

Existing businesses:
.. Balance Sheet (3 years)
.. Income statements (3 years)
.. Cash flow
.. Breakeven Analysis
.. Income Tax Returns (3 years)
.. Capital equipment list
.. Personal Financial Statement

If I have a great business plan can I be certain of getting funding through the SBA or investors or a bank? 9. If I have a great business plan can I be certain of getting funding through the SBA or investors or a bank? And how quickly can I get funded once I have a business plan?

You can't be sure of getting funding no matter how well you do your business plan, but one thing is for sure: you are virtually guaranteed that you will not get funding if you don't do a business plan.
In doing a business plan you may find that you are not ready to become an entrepreneur yet, that you need to save more money to be sure that you can be successful, that you need additional training or preparation, or that the timing just isn't right to start your company and that you may need to wait a year or two. These are not bad things! Much better to wait and be successful than face disappointment and financial problems for starting too soon.
The SBA and your bank will look first at your personal credit. If your credit history is good, it will still take a bank about two months to approve or disapprove your application. It can take many months to get venture capital financing. Expect several interviews over this time, and many questions about how you will make the business succeed.

KEY MISTAKE: Appearance counts. Make your business plan easy to read and understand, but most importantly, make it look professional. Typos make you look as if you didn't take the time to do the job right, and might give others the indication that your work is done halfway as well.

What are the steps to start the business planning process? 10. What are the steps to start the business planning process?

This is NOT in the order that it will appear in your business plan, but approaching these issues
step-by-step is the best way to develop your plan.
Business Description
Setting Goals and Objectives for your Business
Product or Service Description
Management Team
Industry and Market
Marketing Strategy
Financial Projections and Considerations
Operational Considerations
Wrapping it all up with an Executive Summary


Continued from Part 1..
Part 1 - 10 Business Plan Questions

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Jan B. King , views on business and on publishing have been widely quoted in Working Woman Magazine, the American Bar Association’s Bar Leader magazine, Small Business USA, Business Finance, the Los Angeles Business Journal, and on business web sites such as webhire.com, office.com, ybn.com, portera.com. She has also appeared on Making It! a small business television program on KTTV Los Angeles, The Economic Journal, a PBS business program, as well as on numerous nationally syndicated business radio programs.
Additional information on the author can be found at www.janbking.com.




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