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


Part 1: Getting Started
1(40)
According to Plan
3(12)
Business Owner Basics
3(2)
Types of Business Plans
5(1)
Securing Financing or Investors
5(1)
Strengthening Operations
5(1)
Preparing for a Sale
5(1)
How Can a Plan Help?
6(3)
Establishing a Vision and Direction
6(1)
Keeping on Course
6(1)
Setting Goals and Benchmarking Success
7(1)
Outlining Operations
7(1)
Fiscal Fitness
7(1)
Checking the Ego
8(1)
Thorough Research
8(1)
Marketing Plan
8(1)
Feasibility
8(1)
Future Expansion
9(1)
Exit Strategy
9(1)
Your Unique Selling Proposition
9(2)
Finding Your USP Through Feedback
10(1)
Doing It Yourself or Getting Help?
11(2)
Finding Free or Low-Cost Help
11(1)
Hiring Help
12(1)
Getting Soft
13(2)
Figuring Out the Financing
15(16)
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
22(1)
Private Equity
23(1)
Other Funding Sources
23(1)
EDA
23(2)
Community Development Centers
25
Trade or Business Groups
24(1)
Others
24(1)
What Lenders and Investors Want
24(3)
Capacity to Repay
25(1)
Capital to Invest
25(1)
Collateral
25(1)
Conditions of Use of Money
26(1)
Character of Owners
26(1)
Credit Rating
26(1)
Credit-Reporting Bureaus
27(1)
Your Credit Score
28(3)
Assessing Your Report
28(1)
Increasing Your Score
29(1)
Beware of Quick Credit Fixes
30(1)
Business Writing Basics
31(10)
Effective Business Writing
31(6)
Targeting Your Audience
32(1)
Language and Tone
32(1)
Grammar
33(1)
Cutting the Fluff
34(1)
Avoiding Cliches
35(1)
Presenting Your Information
35(1)
Capitalizing and Punctuating Properly
36(1)
Writing, then Rewriting
37(1)
Avoiding Writer's Block
37(1)
Speaking and Writing Well
38(3)
Part 2: Putting Together Your Plan
41(146)
Ready, Set, Write
43(8)
From Dream to Document
44(1)
Being Organized
44(1)
Knowing Your Stuff
44(1)
Supporting Your Claims
45(1)
Getting to the Goal
45(2)
Managing Well
45(1)
Obtaining Financial Assistance
46(1)
Attract Business Partners
46(1)
Operation Benchmark
47(1)
Obtain Assistance
47(1)
Iterative Process
48(3)
Staying Updated
48(1)
Analysis
48(1)
Annual Meeting
49(2)
Getting Down to Business
51(16)
Getting Off on the Right Foot
52(2)
Title Page
54(2)
Table of Contents
56(1)
Confidentiality Agreement
56(3)
Executive Summary
59(1)
Purpose
59(2)
Business Description
59(1)
Structure
60(1)
Owners
60(1)
Location
61(1)
Hours of Operation
61(1)
Season's Greetings
61(1)
What Is It?
61(1)
We're on a Mission
62(5)
Mission Statement
62(1)
Vision Statement
63(1)
Values Statement
63(4)
Industry Overview
67(16)
Industrial Strength
68(1)
Understanding Market Research
68(3)
Interviews
69(1)
Surveys
69(1)
Focus Groups
70(1)
Online Focus Groups
70(1)
Observation
70(1)
Understanding the Industry
71(1)
Industry Life Cycle
71(1)
Industry Economics and Trends
72(1)
Opportunities and Obstacles
73(4)
Innovations
74(1)
Regulations
74(1)
Economic Factors
75(1)
Price Comparisons
76(1)
Location
76(1)
Competition
77(4)
Business Performance
81(2)
Who Are You?
83(12)
Internal Assets
84(1)
Owners and Partners
84(1)
Staffing
85(2)
Management Team
85(2)
Outsourcing and Consultants
87(1)
Employee or Contractor?
87(3)
Who Is an Independent Contractor?
88(1)
Who Is a Common-Law Employee?
88(1)
Who Is an Employee?
89(1)
Statutory Employees
89(1)
Statutory Nonemployees
90(1)
Organizational Chart
90(1)
Salaries
91(1)
Strategic Partners
92(1)
Professional Resources
92(3)
Analyzing Your Business in the Market
95(20)
Getting Down to Strategy
96(1)
Targeting Your Customers
97(1)
Demographic Profiles
98(1)
Income and Spending Habits
98(1)
Personal or Business Characteristics
98(1)
Getting Psychographic
99(1)
Defining Business-to-Business Customers
100(1)
Type of Business and Ownership
100(1)
Sector
100(1)
Geography
101(1)
Psychographic Characteristics
101(1)
Who Is Your Perfect Customer?
101(2)
CRM Technology Can Help
103(1)
Why Do They Buy?
104(2)
Do They Need It or Want It? And Can They Afford It?
105(1)
What's Important to Them? For Whom Are They Buying?
105(1)
Who Are Your Customers' Influencers?
105(1)
Are They Brand Loyal or Price Driven? How Do They Buy?
106(1)
Creating Profiles
106(3)
Innovators
106(1)
Thinkers
107(1)
Achievers
107(1)
Experiencers
107(1)
Believers
108(1)
Strivers
108(1)
Makers
108(1)
Survivors
109(1)
Why You Shouldn't Service Every Customer
109(1)
Evaluating Market Segments
110(1)
Defining Your Market Strategy
110(1)
The SWOT Approach
111(1)
Strengths and Weaknesses
111(1)
Opportunities and Threats
112(1)
Predicting Market Share
112(3)
Getting the Word Out
115(16)
Positioning Your Business in the Market
115(1)
Explaining Your Marketing Strategy
116(9)
Price
117(1)
Place (Distribution)
117(1)
Promotion
117(8)
Putting Together the Marketing Plan
125(6)
Being Clear About Goals
126(1)
Planning the Action
126(1)
Budgeting Your Resources
127(1)
Creating a Marketing-Cost Matrix
128(1)
Timing Your Projects
128(3)
Sales Plan and Forecast
131(10)
Selling Yourself
131(1)
Your Channels
132(1)
Direct Selling and Affiliate Programs
132(1)
Manufacturer's Representatives and Wholesale Distributors
132(1)
Retailers and Catalogs
133(1)
Selling Online
133(1)
Sales Tools
133(1)
Database and Technological Tools
134(1)
Trade Shows
134(1)
Territories
134(1)
Finding Prospects
135(1)
Referral Systems and Expanding Existing Customers
135(1)
Working Your Contacts
135(1)
Offering a Better Price
136(1)
Sales Cycles and Strategies
136(1)
AIDA
136(1)
Sales Cycle
137(1)
Sales Forecast
137(4)
Operation Success
141(12)
Business Operations
141(1)
Equipment
142(1)
Technology Needs
143(1)
Equipment Leases
144(1)
Building Leases
144(2)
Price
144(1)
Length of Lease
145(1)
Location and Traffic
145(1)
Potential for Growth
145(1)
Utilities and Services
146(1)
Production/Service Provision Methods
147(1)
Quality Control
147(1)
Inventory and Supply
148(2)
Managing Inventory
148(1)
Purchasing Policies
149(1)
Suppliers
149(1)
Handling Orders and Deliveries
149(1)
Vendor Agreements or Letters of Intent
150(1)
Customer Service Policies
151(2)
Money, Money
153(18)
Start-Up Costs
154(1)
Creating an Operating Budget
155(1)
Source and Use of Funds
156(2)
Managing Cash Flow
158(1)
Creating a Cash-Flow Statement
158(2)
Understanding Profit-and-Loss Statements
160(2)
Understanding the Balance Sheet
162(2)
Determining Profitability with Financial Tools
164(2)
Are You Profitable?
164(1)
Break-Even Point
164(1)
Outlining Repayment/ROI
165(1)
Analysis of Financial Facts
166(1)
Determining How Much Financing Is Needed
166(1)
How Much Owners Are Investing
167(1)
Insurance Needs
167(4)
Cover Me
168(1)
Prove It
169(2)
Show Your Documents
171(10)
Back Me Up
171(1)
Resumes or Bios
172(2)
Personal Financial Statements and Tax Returns
174(1)
Business Structure (Articles of Incorporation)
174(1)
Loans
175(1)
Credit Reports
175(1)
Franchise or Acquisition Agreements
176(1)
Leases or Mortgage
176(1)
Licenses
176(1)
Letters of Intent
177(1)
Market Analysis
178(1)
Other
178(3)
Executive Summary
181(6)
In Summary
181(1)
What's in the Executive Summary
182(1)
Selling in Your Summary
183(2)
Company Overview
183(1)
Operations Overview
183(1)
Market Overview
184(1)
Financial Overview
184(1)
Paring It Down
185(1)
What Not to Put in the Executive Summary
186(1)
Part 3: Putting Your Plan to Work
187(162)
Financing Considerations to Include in Your Plan
189(14)
The Money Plan
190(1)
Who's Got the Cash?
190(2)
What Lenders Want to See
192(1)
Knocking a Lender's Socks Off
193(1)
Negotiating Your Financing
194(1)
Types of Loans
194(2)
Transaction Loan
194(1)
Line of Credit
195(1)
Term
195(1)
Government-Secured Loans
195(1)
Lease
196(1)
What to Expect During the Loan Process
196(2)
Finding Investors
198(1)
Money Online
199(1)
What Investors Want
199(1)
Other Financial Uses for the Plan
200(3)
Using Your Plan as a Management Tool
203(16)
Planning to Run
204(1)
Planning Findings
204(2)
Solidifying Your Philosophy
204(1)
Developing a Strategic Vision
205(1)
Identifying Improvements
205(1)
Preventing Distractions
205(1)
Avoiding Misunderstandings
206(1)
Implementing Your Plan
206(2)
Providing Strong Leadership
206(1)
Stating Clear Expectations
207(1)
Creating Actionable Steps
207(1)
Being Ready for Barriers
207(1)
All Aboard
208(4)
Creating an Advisory Board
208(2)
Identifying and Building Relationships
210(1)
Strategic Partners
211(1)
Staffing Up
212(4)
Keeping Them Motivated
213(1)
Creating Employee Incentives
213(2)
Getting Employees Onboard with Your Plan
215(1)
Managing the Future
216(3)
Keeping Your Plan Current
219(130)
Keeping It Going
219(1)
Measuring Your Company's Success
220(1)
Getting Information
221(2)
Your Financial Statements
221(1)
Your Customer Database or Sales Figures
221(1)
Your Employees
222(1)
What Do Customers Really Think?
223(1)
Using the Information You Find
224(1)
When It's Time to Go, It's Time to Go
224(2)
Going Forward
226(3)
Appendixes
A Business Terms Glossary
229(6)
B Sample Plans
235(106)
C Resources
341(8)
Index 349