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To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. A strong, detailed plan provides a clear road map for the future, forces you to think through the validity of a business idea, and can give you much greater understanding of your business’s financials and the competition. It spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.A business plan typically looks out over three to five years, detailing all of your goals and how you plan to achieve them. If you’re looking for outside funding, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets.It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.
For these reasons, the Deluxe Corporation Foundation provides financial support to nonprofits that help entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed.
Our grants to SCORE have totaled more than $1.5M in recent years, with the majority of these funds supporting the creation and updates of online training and certification for SCORE mentors.
“They know what you can expect sales to be for that type of business in that market,” Allen says.
“If you walk in with a sales forecast 50% higher than other businesses, they are going to know that you are not being realistic, and that’s going to work against you.” Keep it concise: All you need is 15 to 25 pages for a good business plan, as long as the plan is clear, concise and contains all of the relevant information, Allen says.
However, if you’re an existing business seeking small-business loans, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.
You may also include ratios that highlight the financial health of your business, such as: [Back to top] This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors.
Appendix Business plan tips and resources This is the first page of your business plan.
» MORE: Best loans for working capital [Back to top] Here, you’ll list your business’s legal structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — as well as key employees, managers or other owners of the business.
This section can also highlight the strengths of your business and focus on what sets your business apart from your competition.
[Back to top] If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet.