Sample business plans illustrate how a manufacturing business, a service provider, and a retail establishment will tailor their business plans to the unique characteristics and markets of their differing business types.
Every business plan should capture the unique characteristics of the business and the people who will run it. What sets your business apart from its competitors? While we have provided a list of the documents that should be included in a business plan, the presentation of the recommended information is, to a large extent, a matter of personal preference. In order to illustrate how business plans can vary, consider reviewing the three sample plans included in the following case studies:
- Manufacturer's business plan: This sample business plan looks at a high-end bicycle maker and explores the financing he'll require to meet an expected increase in demand for his custom-made bicycles.
- Service provider's business plan: This sample business plan is for an individual who intends to go into business for himself as a computer software trainer. It illustrates his decision to leave the corporate environment to work in a similar capacity as a self-employed entrepreneur.
- Retailer's business plan: This sample business plan is for a hot dog vendor whose carts serve customers in a variety of downtown office buildings. The plan describes the financing that will be required to allow this entrepreneur to expand his network of movable carts into additional locations.
Note that the files available for download are not to be used as templates into which your business's information can be cut and pasted. In order to make these samples available to the widest possible audience, the component elements of the plan are presented in the software application in which they were created. Thus, most of the text is presented in rich text file format, suitable for use with many Windows-compatible text editors. Spreadsheets and financial information are presented, in general, as Excel worksheets. The table of contents has been omitted, as have all graphics, such as company logos. These elements should be included in any business plan that you prepare. The intent here is to provide samples of how the component elements of a plan might look.
Case Study: Manufacturer's Business Plan
Breakaway Bicycle Company is a small manufacturer of high-end bicycle frames. It builds both mountain bike and racing bike frames for sale primarily to professional bicycle racers. However, increasing interest in mountain biking as a competitive sport and the exposure that bike racing received as a result of the Olympics have provided BBC with an opportunity to expand its business. Right now, a small number of BBC's frames are sold to non-professional riders who want the very best equipment available, regardless of price.
In order to better serve this emerging market, BBC proposes to add additional workstations and designer/builders to increase its capacity for custom frames. The BBC business plan envisions making better use of existing leased space and leasing additional space to meet its needs. In addition, the frame-building equipment necessary to create three additional workstations must be acquired.
Look in our Business Tools for two files, one containing sample financial information and the other containing sample language that illustrates many of the components of Breakaway Bicycle Company's business plan.
Case Study: Service Provider's Business Plan
Computing Development Strategies is a startup business that hopes to become a major supplier of certain types of computer training to the owners and employees of small businesses in the greater Chicago area. Its founder is a highly-qualified computer trainer with extensive experience providing training, developing training tools, and managing training and maintenance operations for a large computer corporation. He plans to build on his expertise by developing a group of courses designed specifically to help small businesses effectively use the most popular business software packages.
Look in Business Tools for two files, one containing sample financial information and the other containing sample language that illustrates many of the components of CDS's business plan
Case Study: Retailer's Business Plan
Joe's Enterprises for Fast Food, Inc. operates a chain of indoor/outdoor food service carts, primarily in the downtown Chicago area. Its customers are the people who work in the city's many high-rise office buildings. The carts are operated under the name Joe's Redhots. Joe's has been in business since late 1992, when it began as a single cart operation. All of the stock of Joe's is held by its founder, Joe Hirasawa, and members of his family.
Look in our Business Tools for a file containing sample components from Joe's Redhots business plan.
The purpose of Joe's business plan is to recommend borrowing $1 million in order to expand operations through the purchase of additional vending carts. The plan is very informal because of its intended audience. The audience consists exclusively of Mr. Hirasawa's family members and the three banks with which the company has long-established relationships. Thus, much of the financial information incorporated in the other sample plans presented here has been omitted because the intended audience is already in possession.
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Category : Start Up
A business plan is a description of a business and its plans for the next one to three years. The plan sets out the means by which an organisation will achieve its objectives. Without a clear plan a business will have little sense of direction.
More specifically the plan explains what the business does (or will do if it's a new business); it suggests who will buy the product or service and why; it provides financial forecasts demonstrating overall viability; and indicates the finance available and explains the financial requirements.
The business plan is written for the owner to give a guide to run the business. It is also written for financial backers, and lenders of money such as banks. Business plans are drawn up when a business sets up for the first time and are amended and revised when the business wants to change - typically when it wants to expand.
A simple business plan should be clearly set out under the following headings:
- Owner details
- Description of the business
- Outline of the market
- Evaluation of competition
- How the business will be organised
- Proposed marketing mix
- Premises and equipment
- Sources of capital
- Cash flow forecast
- Future plans
Business plans are particularly important for new start up businesses, because they provide a framework for the owner to work to. Also if the owner wishes to raise finance from a bank or other lender then it will be essential to provide a clear business plan, so that the bank can feel confident in making a loan.
Research shows that those businesses that produce detailed plans are far more likely to succeed than when only a sketchy plan or no plan at all is prepared. Research also shows that entrepreneurs who make realistic predictions about cash flow, break even and profit and loss are far more likely to be able to raise funds that those that make exaggerated claims.
For established, larger organisations - the business plan is typically called the 'corporate strategy'.