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Overcoming Business Plan Fever Part 2

Aug 17, 2007
Most entrepreneurs, and owners of home based businesses or small business owners, say that they understand the importance of a formal written plan, more commonly referred to as a business plan. Yet when you ask the question, "How many of you have a business plan?" you can clearly see the pained expression on their faces.

Since many of us say we love our business, in order to spice up, let me suggest a paradigm shift so that you might look at writing your business plan in another light. After all, if you find yourself the owner of a business or service that you do not like, not to mention love, you might as well get a job.

The components of a business plan usually vary depending upon the needs of the individual. Below are nine of the more common sections of a business plan:

Executive Summary -- This section is written last, but it summarizes the key elements of the business plan.

The Industry -- An overview of the industry that your business will be in; trends, major players, and estimated sales. This will also include a summary of where your business ranks.

Market Analysis -- An examination of the primary target market for your product or service, the geographic location, demographics, needs and how the needs get served today.

Competitive Analysis - An in-dept look at your direct and indirect competitors, assessing their advantages and how you plan to overcome any entry barriers to your market.

Marketing Plan -- A point by point account of your sales strategy, pricing, advertising and promotion, and the benefits of your product or services.

Management Plan -- Outlines your legal structure and management team, outside management resources, and human resources.

Operations -- Describes your physical location, facilities and equipment, employees, inventory, suppliers, and manufacturing process.

Financials -- Describes your funding requirements, detailed financial statements, and financial statements.

Appendices and Exhibits -- Additional information that will help establish the credibility of your business idea, such as marketing studies, photographs of your product, contracts or other legal agreements.

An easy way to get through an unpleasant task is to reframe its purpose by linking it to something you really like. My passion stems from writing.

More specifically, I used to get paid in high school to write love letters for guys who could not effectively communicate their feelings on paper. For me, the dreaded business plan morphed into a love letter in which I poured out my soul for my business.

With a little creativity this can work with any passion you may encompass. With respect to Elizabeth Browning Barrett, author of "How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways," my reframe follows.

Executive Summary - How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

The Industry -- I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.

Market Analysis -- For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

Competitive Analysis -- I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

Marketing Plan -- I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

Management Plan -- I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, -- I love thee with the breath,

Operations -- Smiles, tears, of all my life! --

Financials -- and, if God choose,

Appendices and Exhibits -- I shall but love thee better after death.

Once I started looking at writing a business plan in this manner, it became a snap. Using this paradigm shift also helped me to connect with my clients who hired me to write their business plans and paid me handsomely to do so.
About the Author
Marvin D. Cloud provides a self-publishing alternative at mybestseller.com. For a free writers' workbook and online marketing tips, go to http://mybestseller.com/html/marketing_tips.
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