Does your startup have a business plan?

There are scores of websites these days on the Internet that offer to sell business plans for $20 or more, designed to let you enter your company name and specifics and generate a plan. These are about as valuable as the paper they're printed on, says Berry. The reason is that each business is unique and, therefore, each business plan should be a unique document to be truly worthwhile to the business. A business owner should also be fully invested and fully aware of every aspect of the plan. That said, there are some general guidelines and structures that most business plans should follow.

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The operations plan is closely tied to the team and management plan section of a business plan. An operations plan is the engine that runs the machine you call a business. Without an operations plan, nothing else in your business plan will get done. The operations section of a business plan created to obtain bank financing or for some other external purpose does not require the details that must go into a plan that will guide ownership and management in running the business.

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You want your business plan to tell you how your company compares to others in the industry. It is difficult to predict how your company’s product or service will perform in the marketplace without knowing what your competitors are doing. A competitive analysis section draws upon the research you did before you began to write your business plan to offer the data and analysis to support your performance assumptions.

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A business plan is a written description of your business's future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've written a plan, or at least the germ of a plan.Now that you understand why you need a business plan and you've spent some time doing your homework gathering the information you need to create one, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get everything down on paper. The following pages will describe in detail the seven essential sections of a business plan: what you should include, what you shouldn't include, how to work the numbers and additional resources you can turn to for help. With that in mind, jump right in.This library of resources contains links to hundreds of sites offering research materials on every area of planning a business including:venture capital, new products, market analysis, competitive analysis, production management, tax problems, legal issues, financials, writing a business plan and much more.While you may not find them to be experts on the music industry,they are experts in creating and developing small businesses, and youare one. Let's first get an overall sense of where we're going bydisplaying a complete outline of a business plan:
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How to Write a Business Plan: Components of a Business Plan



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…Which got me thinking: we DID do those things, but not by creating a business plan.

How to Write a Business Plan: Use Your Business Plan Internally

The first step in developing a good business plan is to simply write until you have said all you need to say and no more. While every point needs a thorough explanation, it is important not to bore the reader with redundant or highly technical jargon. (You may want to put the technical information in appendices so the reader can choose whether or not to read it.) The plan will likely be in the “draft” stage for up to the first six months of planning activities. Ideally, the business plan is never fully completed, because it should become a dynamic, living document.

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A business plan serves two purposes: