Table of Contents for Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans


Part 1: Getting Started
1(36)
According to Plan
3(12)
Business Owner Basics
3(1)
Types of Business Plans
4(1)
Securing Financing or Investors
5(1)
Strengthening Operations
5(1)
Preparing for a Sale
5(1)
How Can a Plan Help?
5(4)
Establishing a Vision and Direction
6(1)
Keeping on Course
6(1)
Setting Goals and Benchmarking Success
6(1)
Outlining Operations
7(1)
Fiscal Fitness
7(1)
Checking the Ego
7(1)
Thorough Research
8(1)
Marketing Plan
8(1)
Feasibility
8(1)
Future Expansion
8(1)
Exit Strategy
8(1)
Your USP
9(1)
Finding Your USP Through Feedback
9(1)
Doing It Yourself or Getting Help?
10(2)
Finding Free or Low-Cost Help
11(1)
Hiring Help
11(1)
Getting Soft
12(3)
Figuring Out the Financing
15(14)
Understanding Debt and Equity
16(1)
Debt
16(1)
Equity
16(1)
Money Sources
16(5)
Grants
17(1)
Personal Resources
17(2)
Loans
19(2)
Selecting a Lender
21(1)
Angel Investors
21(1)
Other Funding Sources
22(1)
EDA
22(1)
Community Development Centers
22(1)
Trade or Business Groups
22(1)
What Lenders and Investors Want
23(2)
Capacity to Repay
23(1)
Capital to Invest
23(1)
Collateral
24(1)
Conditions of Use of Money
24(1)
Character of Owners
24(1)
Credit Rating
24(1)
Credit-Reporting Bureaus
25(1)
Your Credit Score
26(1)
Assessing Your Report
26(3)
Increasing Your Score
27(1)
Beware of Quick Credit Fixes
28(1)
Business Writing Basics
29(8)
Effective Business Writing
29(6)
Targeting Your Audience
30(1)
Language and Tone
30(1)
Grammar
31(1)
Cutting the Fluff
32(1)
Avoiding Cliches
33(1)
Presenting Your Information
33(1)
Capitalizing and Punctuating Properly
34(1)
Writing, then Rewriting
35(1)
Avoiding Writer's Block
35(1)
Speaking and Writing Well
36(1)
Part 2: Putting Together Your Plan
37(138)
Ready, Set, Write
39(8)
From Dream to Document
39(2)
Being Organized
40(1)
Knowing Your Stuff
40(1)
Supporting Your Claims
41(1)
Getting to the Goal
41(2)
Obtaining Financial Assistance
41(2)
Attract Business Partners
43(1)
Operation Benchmark
43(1)
Obtain Assistance
43(1)
Iterative Process
44(3)
Staying Updated
44(1)
Analysis
44(1)
Annual Meeting
45(2)
Getting Down to Business
47(14)
Getting Off on the Right Foot
48(2)
Title Page
50(2)
Table of Contents
52(1)
Confidentiality Agreement
52(3)
Executive Summary
55(1)
Purpose
55(2)
Business Description
55(1)
Structure
55(1)
Owners
56(1)
Location
56(1)
Hours of Operation
56(1)
Season's Greetings
56(1)
What Is It?
57(1)
We're on a Mission
57(4)
Mission Statement
58(1)
Vision Statement
58(1)
Values Statement
59(2)
Industry Overview
61(14)
Industrial Strength
61(1)
Understanding Market Research
62(2)
Interviews
63(1)
Surveys
63(1)
Focus Groups
63(1)
Online Focus Groups
64(1)
Observation
64(1)
Understanding the Industry
64(2)
Industry Life Cycle
64(2)
Industry Economics and Trends
66(1)
Opportunities and Obstacles
67(2)
Innovations
67(1)
Regulations
68(1)
Economic Factors
68(1)
Price Comparisons
69(1)
Location
69(1)
Competition
69(2)
Business Performance
71(4)
Who Are You?
75(12)
Internal Assets
76(1)
Owners and Partners
76(1)
Staffing
77(2)
Management Team
77(2)
Outsourcing and Consultants
79(1)
Employee or Contractor?
79(3)
Who Is an Independent Contractor?
80(1)
Who Is a Common-Law Employee?
80(1)
Who Is an Employee?
81(1)
Statutory Employees
81(1)
Statutory Nonemployees
82(1)
Organizational Chart
82(1)
Salaries
83(1)
Strategic Partners
83(1)
Professional Resources
84(3)
CPA
84(1)
Attorney
84(1)
Bank
84(1)
Insurance Professionals
84(1)
Other
85(2)
Analyzing Your Business in the Market
87(18)
Getting Down to Strategy
88(1)
Targeting Your Customers
89(1)
Demographic Profiles
90(1)
Income and Spending Habits
90(1)
Personal Characteristics
90(1)
Standard of Living
90(1)
Household Characteristics
91(1)
Getting Psychographic
91(1)
Opinions and Values
91(1)
Political Views
91(1)
Style and Taste
92(1)
Defining Business-to-Business Customers
92(1)
Type of Business and Ownership
92(1)
Sector
92(1)
Geography
93(1)
Psychographic Characteristics
93(1)
Who Is Your Perfect Customer?
93(2)
Why Do They Buy?
95(1)
Do They Need It or Want It? Can They Afford It?
95(1)
What's Important to Them?
95(1)
For Whom Are They Buying?
95(1)
Who Are Your Customers' Influencers?
95(1)
Are They Brand Loyal or Price Driven?
96(1)
How Do They Buy?
96(1)
Creating Profiles
96(3)
Innovators
97(1)
Thinkers
97(1)
Achievers
97(1)
Experiencers
98(1)
Believers
98(1)
Strivers
98(1)
Makers
99(1)
Survivors
99(1)
Why You Shouldn't Service Every Customer
99(1)
Evaluating Market Segments
100(1)
Defining Your Market Strategy
101(1)
The SWOT Approach
101(2)
Strengths
101(1)
Weaknesses
102(1)
Opportunities
102(1)
Threats
102(1)
Predicting Market Share
103(2)
Getting the Word Out
105(14)
Positioning Your Business in the Market
105(1)
Explaining Your Marketing Strategy
106(7)
Price
107(1)
Place (Distribution)
107(1)
Promotion
107(6)
Putting Together the Marketing Plan
113(6)
Being Clear About Goals
114(1)
Planning the Action
114(1)
Budgeting Your Resources
115(1)
Creating a Marketing-Cost Matrix
115(1)
Timing Your Projects
116(3)
Sales Plan and Forecast
119(10)
Selling Yourself
119(1)
Your Channels
120(2)
Direct Selling
120(1)
Manufacturer's Representatives
120(1)
Wholesalers
120(1)
Retailers
121(1)
Catalogs
121(1)
E-tailing
121(1)
Affiliate Programs
121(1)
Sales Tools
122(1)
Database
122(1)
Technological Tools
122(1)
Trade Shows
122(1)
Territories
123(1)
Finding Prospects
123(1)
Referral Systems
123(1)
Vendor Contacts
123(1)
Expanding Existing Customers
123(1)
Joining In
124(1)
Offering a Better Price
124(1)
Sales Cycles and Strategies
124(3)
AIDA
125(1)
Sales Cycle
125(2)
Sales Forecast
127(2)
Outlining Your Assumptions
127(1)
Considering Your Marketing Reach
127(1)
Past Sales or Similar Industries
127(2)
Operation Success
129(12)
Business Operations
129(1)
Equipment
130(1)
Technology Needs
131(1)
Equipment Leases
132(1)
Building Leases
132(2)
Price
132(1)
Length of Lease
133(1)
Location and Traffic
133(1)
Potential for Growth
133(1)
Utilities and Services
134(1)
Production/Service Provision Methods
135(1)
Quality Control
135(1)
Inventory and Supply
136(2)
Managing Inventory
136(1)
Purchasing Policies
137(1)
Suppliers
137(1)
Handling Orders and Deliveries
137(1)
Vendor Agreements or Letters of Intent
138(1)
Customer-Service Policies
139(2)
Money, Money
141(18)
Start-Up Costs
142(1)
Creating an Operating Budget
143(1)
Source and Use of Funds
144(1)
Managing Cash Flow
145(1)
Creating a Cash-Flow Statement
145(2)
Understanding Profit-and-Loss Statements
147(2)
Understanding the Balance Sheet
149(2)
Determining Profitability with Financial Tools
151(2)
Are You Profitable?
151(1)
Break-Even Point
152(1)
Outlining Repayment/ROI
152(1)
Analysis of Financial Facts
153(1)
Determining How Much Financing Is Needed
153(1)
How Much Owners Are Investing
154(1)
Insurance Needs
154(5)
Cover Me
155(1)
Prove It
156(3)
Show Your Documents
159(10)
Back Me Up
159(1)
Resumes or Bios
160(2)
Personal Financial Statements and Tax Returns
162(1)
Business Structure (Articles of Incorporation)
162(1)
Loans
163(1)
Credit Reports
163(1)
Franchise or Acquisition Agreements
163(1)
Leases or Mortgage
164(1)
Licenses
164(1)
Letters of Intent
165(1)
Market Analysis
166(1)
Other
166(3)
Executive Summary
169(6)
In Summary
169(1)
What's in the Executive Summary
170(1)
Selling in Your Summary
171(2)
Company Overview
171(1)
Operations Overview
171(1)
Market Overview
172(1)
Financial Overview
172(1)
Paring It Down
173(1)
What Not to Put in the Executive Summary
174(1)
Part 3: Putting Your Plan to Work
175(132)
Financing Considerations to Include in Your Plan
177(12)
The Money Plan
178(1)
Who's Got the Cash?
178(1)
What Lenders Want to See
179(1)
Knocking a Lender's Socks Off
180(1)
Negotiating Your Financing
181(1)
Types of Loans
182(1)
Transaction Loans
182(1)
Line of Credit
182(1)
Term
182(1)
Government-Secured Loans
183(1)
Lease
183(1)
What to Expect During the Loan Process
183(2)
Finding Investors
185(1)
Money Online
186(1)
What Investors Want
187(1)
Other Financial Uses for the Plan
187(2)
Using Your Plan as a Management Tool
189(16)
Planning to Run
189(1)
Planning Findings
190(2)
Solidifying Your Philosophy
190(1)
Developing a Strategic Vision
190(1)
Identifying Improvements
191(1)
Preventing Distractions
191(1)
Avoiding Misunderstandings
192(1)
Implementing Your Plan
192(2)
Providing Strong Leadership
192(1)
Stating Clear Expectations
193(1)
Creating Actionable Steps
193(1)
Being Ready for Barriers
193(1)
All Aboard
194(4)
Creating an Advisory Board
194(2)
Identifying and Building Relationships
196(1)
Strategic Partners
196(2)
Staffing Up
198(4)
Keeping Them Motivated
198(1)
Creating Employee Incentives
199(2)
Getting Employees Onboard with Your Plan
201(1)
Managing the Future
202(3)
Keeping Your Plan Current
205(102)
Keeping It Going
205(1)
Measuring Your Company's Success
206(1)
Getting Information
207(2)
Your Financial Statements
207(1)
Your Customer Database or Sales Figures
207(1)
Your Employees
208(1)
What Do Customers Really Think?
209(1)
Using the Information You Find
210(1)
When It's Time to Go, It's Time to Go
210(2)
Going Forward
212(3)
Appendixes
Business Terms Glossary
215(6)
Sample Plans
221(80)
Business Resources
301(6)
Index 307