financiers and lenders

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How long should your business plan be?

Based on the purpose you intend to use it for, a useful business plan can be any length, from an outline on the back of an envelope to, for an especially elaborate plan for a complicated business, over 100 pages. A business plan could be as small as 15 pages. There's plenty of room to make it more thorough and more detailed than that.

It all depends on your business. It is possible to convey an idea in a few words. However, if your proposal is for a brand new kind of business or new industry it might take some explaining to convey the message.

The purpose of your plan will determine the length of your plan. You may need to convince and explain your plan if you plan to use it to raise millions of dollars in seed capital to fund an uncertain venture. A simplified version of the plan is fine if the plan will be used internally to manage the ongoing operations of a business.

Who Does a Business Plan Help? The only person who doesn’t want to start an enterprise is the one who doesn't. If you're looking to have a fun hobby or work from home, you don’t need to have a plan. However, anyone who wants to start or expand a business that will take significant amounts of energy, time, or money and will be expected to turn a profit should create an action plan.

Startups. Entrepreneurs looking for funding to launch their own businesses are the most common business plan author. A lot of the most successful businesses were started on paper. The plan was used as a way to convince investors to invest in their venture.

Many books on business plan writing appear to target entrepreneurs who are starting businesses. This is a good thing. They are probably the most grateful for any guidance. But it is wrong to think that only cash-starved startup owners need business plans. Business owners can use business plans at any stage of their company's life regardless of whether they're searching for financing or trying out ways to invest the surplus.
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Help needed by established firms. Certain business plans aren't written by talented entrepreneurs. A lot of them are designed by or for businesses which are established beyond the startup stage. WalkerGroup/Designs was already a well-known designer for major retail stores at the time Ken Walker, founder, thought of the idea of trademarking and license clothing makers with the 01-01-00 symbol as a numeric shorthand for the coming millennium. Walker prepared an outline of the business and sales forecasts before beginning the challenging and expensive task of trademarking it worldwide. It was an important step in making the new venture successful long prior to the day of its debut. "As as a result of our initial support from the retail department," Walker says, "we had more than 45 licensees running the gamut of product lines almost from the beginning."

The middle-stage companies may draft plans to help them secure financing. For example, they might feel the need to have an outline of their plans to manage a business that is already growing rapidly. A plan could be viewed as a useful instrument to convey the mission and future plans of the company to suppliers, customers or other people.

Plan for an Update Checklist

Here seven reasons to consider revising your business plan. An update is necessary when you think that one or more of these is applicable to your particular situation.
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The beginning of the new financial year is near. The plan you have created can be revised annually, quarterly, or monthly depending on the industry. You may need additional financing or finance. A plan that is up-to-date and precise for financiers and lenders can help them make better financial decision. A major shift in the market has taken place. A need for plan updates could be triggered by changes in customer preferences, consolidating trends among customers, or altered regulatory climates. Your company is currently working on, or planning to develop, a new product, service,, or ability. Revise your business plan if you've seen your business evolve significantly from the time you last created it. There has been a management change. Managers must be able to give you new information on your business and the goals you have set. You've attained a certain point in your company's history for example, moving from your home office to a bigger space, making $1 million in revenue, or hiring the 100th person to join your team. The reality is not the way you'd hoped. Perhaps you didn't do a great job the last time around; or perhaps things have changed more quickly than you anticipated. But if your plan seems irrelevant, redo it.

The right plan for you The majority of business plans have several elements, including marketing plans and cash flow projections. And many of them share specific goals, such as raising money or persuading a partner to join the company. However, business plans aren't all the same any more than all businesses are.