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Standard Business Plan Outline

To make the best impression on banks and investors, your business plan should be presented in the standard business plan format.

Your business plan should be what a banker or venture capitalist expects to see, presented in the order they expect to see it in. Following a standard business plan outline will keep you on track, and save you from botching your best chance at getting your business funded.

Build your plan, then organize it.

I don’t recommend developing the plan in the same order you present it as a finished document.

For example, although the executive summary obviously comes as the first section of a business plan, I recommend writing it after everything else is done, so you know exactly what appears in the rest of your business plan.

Likewise, although the management summary is usually presented toward the end of a finished business plan, it might be an easy place to start writing.

Simple business plan outline:

1. Executive Summary

Write this last. It’s just a page or two that highlights the points you’ve made elsewhere in your

The Increase in Business rates is the biggest problem for small firms in London

Nearly three-quarters of small companies in London say business rates are the most important issue they face, piling further pressure on the government over the controversial tax.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) warned that London was in “serious danger of losing its vital support system of micro and small businesses”. The average micro business, which employs fewer than 10 people, will have to pay £17,000 to cover business rates from April, it added.

The trade body’s warning comes a day after the government accused critics of “scaremongering”, saying that three-quarters of firms would see either no change in their business rates or would see them reduced.

Other influential trade bodies, including the Institute of Directors and the British Chambers of Commerce, have already called on the government to overhaul the tax.

The change in business rates payments from April is down to the revaluation of property in Britain. This is supposed to take place every five years but the previous revaluation was controversially delayed by the government in 2015 for two years, making the revised bills more pronounced.

The revaluation is

Principles of Needs Analysis in Business

Needs analysis is defined as a formal process focus on how a product addresses the needs of a human. It is not an official business development tool, but is considered a valuable analytical technique to better gauge the marketability of a product or a service to a human consumer. It is often used across many industries, such as software development, automobiles, consumer products and banking services. Needs analysis was originally used for software developers, who used the system in tandem with requirements analysis – a study of the elements represented within a system. In short, if these two systems were applied to Apple Inc., requirements analysis would be involved with all the internal guts of the computers, the ugly complicated bits of hardware and firmware that are hidden from the end user; while needs analysis would be focused on the slick software operating system interface as well as its peripherals – such as the keyboard and mouse – that are directly used by the end user – and as such, affect the end user’s final perception of the product.

6 Principles of Needs Analysis

Key Elements of the Financial Plan

Financial experts will have different opinions about what should be included in a financial plan, depending on the type of business you have and what you’re trying to accomplish with your business plan. But whether you’re thinking ofstarting a business, expanding your current business, or just want to understand your current business better, there are a few key financial items that you should definitely include:

  • Profit and loss statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet
  • Sales forecast
  • Personnel plan
  • and maybe some business ratios and/or a break-even analysis

Even if you’re in the very beginning stages of your business, these financial statements can still work for you. Developing your financial plan from basic numbers is both possible and very helpful.

Profit and loss statement

A profit and loss statement is essentially an explanation of how your business made a profit (or incurred a loss) over a certain period of time. It’s a table that lists all of your revenue streams and all of your expenses—typically for a three-month period—and lists at the very bottom the total amount of net profit or loss.

This is a financial statement that goes by a few different names—profit and

Types of Export Business Plan

Now you’re ready to get organized and create your own plan. To keep the process manageable, let’s look at three different types of sample template plans, each with distinct advantages for business people with different needs. Pick the one that works best for you, keeping in mind that you can shorten the analysis while keeping the major components of the plan intact.

  • The back-of-the-napkin export business plan (suitable for born-global entrepreneurs)
  • The traditional-export business plan
  • The Laurel export business plan

The Back-of-the-Napkin Export Business Plan

The back-of-the-napkin export business plan is for folks who are big on ideas and pressed for time and want to get to market fast. While it’s typically short and sweet, it serves a better purpose than having no export business plan at all. A back-of-the-napkin export business plan can be as simple as explaining what the business does, what you want to do next export-wise, and how you are going to get there (who is going to be on board). It might look like this:

  1. “We make the absolute-best purple widgets on the planet.”
  2. “We will export purple widgets.”
  3. “We will export purple widgets to France.”
  4. “We will consider making other type widgets, say

Types of Business Plans

Business plans go by many names: Strategic plans, operational plans, internal plans, and many others.

Lately, I’ve been focusing on lean business plans. There are also one-page business plans, although those are really more summaries. Of course there are traditional business plans, which can also be called formal business plans, or wow-do-I-really-have-to-do-all-that business plans.

All of these are types of business plans you may need for your business at one time or another. Like so many other things in business, the principle of form follows function applies. Different situations call for different types of business plans. An effective business plan will match its intended use. Knowing these differences will help you plan successfully for the future of your business.

Let’s take a look at the types of business plans, and their differences.

In this article I will cover:

  • The lean business plan that every business ought to have.
  • The standard business plan for those that need to present a plan to outsiders, such as banks or investors.
  • Business plans for startups
  • One-page business plans
  • Feasibility plans, internal plans, operations plan, annual plans, and strategic plans.

The lean business plan

All businesses

Paid family leave transformed Australian business

Before the advent of paid parental leave, the majority of new mothers in Australia quit their jobs so they could cash out holiday pay to help fund those first few months at home.

At Westpac Bank, only 32% of mothers were returning to work after having a baby in 1995. Two years later, the figure had shot up to 53% – undoubtedly because the bank launched a paid maternity leave scheme.

Today, almost all (96% of women) return to work, says Shenaz Khan, Westpac Group general manager, enterprise HR, strategy and service. “We are able to retain that knowledge and experience,” she says.

The bank’s offer of 13 weeks’ leave for primary carers (or half pay for 26 weeks) is offset by the savings it has made by plugging the “brain drain” of its talented women.

Khan says it can cost up to 2.5 times a woman’s salary to replace her if she leaves because of the money spent on recruitment, retraining and inducting people into the business. “And in specialist roles, where skills are hard to find, those costs are significantly higher,” she says.

When looking at the value of paid parental

Former tourist hotspot is ghost town for small businesses that are in Istanbul

On a cold Saturday afternoon, the Arasta Bazaar located just moments from the majestic Blue Mosque, is eerily quiet. For a brief few seconds, I wonder if the shops are closed but then I spy a few shop-owners standing outside of their stores looking a little downcast. Some beckon me to browse their colourful assortment of scarves, towels and carpets as I wander along the walkway. On what should be the busiest day of the week for the traders, it’s notable that for the most part, I’m the only tourist here.

When I enter Jennifer’s Hammam, a store with shelves bulging with colourful handwoven textiles such as towels and blankets, I’m greeted by one of the store’s sales assistants. He talks passionately about the products he sells before we turn to the white elephant in the room – the lack of tourists and the impact it’s having on local businesses like Jennifer’s Hammam. “Here sales are down 90%,” he tells me, asking to remain anonymous. At one point, with tears in his eyes, he clasps his hands around mine. “Thank you,” he says. “Thank you for coming.” The pain, the frustration, the anguish, it’s all apparent as

Treasury hits back business rate changes

The Treasury has hit back at “scaremongering” about its changes to business rates as the government comes under pressure from companies to scrap its plans at the budget.

David Gauke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, insisted that the vast majority of business will see no change or a fall in their rates, while a quarter will see their bills rise.

His robust defence of the revaluation is likely to dampen speculation that the move could be reversed in Philip Hammond’s budget next month.

The government is facing mounting calls for a rethink after warnings from some shops and other businesses, particularly in London, about the crippling effect of the revaluation which comes into force in April.

New rates will be set by the Valuation Office Agency in the coming weeks, and rates are set to rise unusually sharply in areas where property prices have increased sharply.

The increase in business rates from April is the result of a new revaluation of the rental value of property in Britain. This is supposed to take place every five years but the previous revaluation was controversially delayed by the government for two years, making the

Role of Stakeholders in Your Business

In business, a stakeholder is usually an investor in your company whose actions determine the outcome of your business decisions. Stakeholders don’t have to be equity shareholders. They can also be your employees, who have a stake in your company’s success and incentive for your products to succeed. They can be business partners, who rely on your success to keep the supply chain going. Every business takes a different approach to stakeholders. The roles of stakeholders differ between businesses, dependent on the rules and responsibilities laid out at the founding of your company or as your business evolved over the years. The most common definition of a stakeholder, however, is a large investor that has the clout to hold a viable “stake” in your company.

Decision Making

The most common gathering of stakeholders in a publicly traded company is the board of directors, comprised of high-ranking executives and occasional outsiders who hold large amounts of equity in the company. Any one of these stakeholders has the power to disrupt decisions or introduce new ideas to the company. The board of directors has the power to appoint all levels of senior management – including the

Common Legal Issues Faced by Businesses

As an owner of a small business, the danger of crippling litigation should also be at the top of your priorities. Legal headaches, especially in America can take you by surprise and severely hurt your business’ bottom line. Here are some of the most common legal issues facing small businesses in America.

Disgruntled Employees

As a business owner, this will be one of the most common legal headaches. In America, employees have far more rights than other countries, in the form of unions and reasons for “wrongful termination”. If you terminate a non-performing employee, make sure he or she signs documents carefully drafted by an attorney upon termination to make the terms of dismissal crystal clear. Letting an employee go without any final termination forms leaves the door wide open for legal actions.

Discrimination/Harassment Cases

The legal ramifications of alleged discrimination – sexual, ethnic, age or otherwise, can cause your company serious problems. Make sure your human resources and legal departments are well equipped to handle these issues should they arise. During the hiring process, make sure you are prepared with all the applicants’ resumes should allegations of discrimination arise, to prove that you

Creativity and Innovation in the Workplace in business

There was a time when the concept of creativity was only associated with writers, painters, musicians and similar people in artistic professions. But with the ever-increasing necessity of cultivating a unique brand personality, the need for creative thinking has transitioned from the arts into everyday business. In addition, the act of producing a product that distinguishes itself from competitors in a marketplace where differences are often hard to come by demands a high degree of creativity both in innovation and marketing.

As a result, it’s now become commonplace for companies – both large and small – to adopt policies that foster creativity and thereby promote innovation.

But what is meant by creativity? And how can it be harnessed effectively?

Defining the Creative Environment

Creativity is the mental and social process used to generate ideas, concepts and associations that lead to the exploitation of new ideas. Or to put it simply: innovation. Through the creative process, employees are tasked with exploring the profitable outcome of an existing or potential endeavor, which typically involves generating and applying alternative options to a company’s products, services and procedures through the use of conscious or unconscious insight. This creative insight is

Organizational Structure is Right for Your Business

When setting up a new business, you should pay careful attention to designing your company’s organizational structure. This should be decided according to your company’s size, industry and aims. You should think of organizational structures as communication flowcharts. Poorly conceived organizational structures will result in sluggish, inefficient communication in which managers at various levels are required to deliver information to too many people for too many levels of approval. Well designed organizational structures will produce efficient communication channels and encourage fast, clean decisions. Let’s take a look at several of the most common forms of organizational structures.


The functional structure is the most commonly used by most businesses. It’s a top down flowchart with a high ranking executive at the top, with multiple middle managers – such as the human resources, marketing, accounting and engineering department heads – all directly reporting to the top executive. These departments are managed separately from each other by the department heads, and they only answer to the top level manager. The strength of this system is that it’s easy to understand, and keeps businesses neatly compartmentalized. However, the weakness is glaring – if a weak, poorly organized executive is

How Insurer Change Sales Behaviors To Close More Deals

Companies in just about every industry are competing on the basis of the experience they deliver to increasingly demanding customers. Nowhere is this trend more apparent than in the insurance industry. Danish insurer Tryg met this challenge head-on by using SAP SuccessFactors to connect sales rep behaviors with positive customer experiences, then trained people in those competencies, ultimately boosting sales.

“With the SAP SuccessFactors solutions we can now break down what employees do on the job and drive their behavior in the right direction, in line with the company’s strategic goals,” said Steen Wung-Sung, Head of HR Technology at Tryg.

The results are impressive. Sales reps who scored above average on the sales competencies had 23 percent higher customer satisfaction ratings. The same employees generated 15 percent more sales than their colleagues who scored average or below. Overall, Tryg has increased sales by 25 percent since implementing the software.

Training mapped to measurable outcomes

“Tryg” means peace of mind in Danish, which is exactly what people look for when selecting an insurance company. Headquartered in Denmark with 3,400 employees, Tryg’s strategy is to be the world’s best insurance company – for

Ways Avoid burnout In Business

Job stress is a slippery slope. In a short amount of time, you can go from working just a few minutes late to a few hours late. While there is certainly nothing wrong with dedication, long hours, pressing deadlines, and looming contracts can quickly turn from stress to burnout before you know it.

The Mayo Clinic defines job burnout as “a special type of job stress—a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.” Entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to burnout, especially in today’s 24/7/365 world. The burden of creating a company from scratch and leading a team builds up over time and can manifest itself in unfortunate ways.

I’ve dealt with burnout at several different points in the past and know how hard it can be to overcome once it sets in. Fortunately, necessity is the mother of invention. In my desperation to stave off burnout before it causes real problems, I’ve managed to find a few ways to identify its symptoms and avoid its impact.

Change the scenery

I’m a big believer that place has a tremendous impact on both the quality

The Biggest Threat to Disney’s Business now

The Magic Kingdom is at risk of losing some of its magic.

For years, Disney was the envy of its industry, the media giant that thrived like no other. The firm’s stock rose 335% between CEO Bob Iger’s appointment in March 2005 and one year ago, when the stock peaked at $120 a share. Since then, the stock has lost more than a fifth of its value, thanks to the impact of cord cutting on its cable properties, notably sports behemoth ESPN.

Disney fell another 3% in late trading Thursday immediately after it missed revenue and earnings estimates for the second time in three quarters. (It rose over 2% later in the evening.) Revenue in the Magic Kingdom totaled $13.1 billion, below Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $13.5 billion. Earnings per share of $1.10 fell six cents short of expectations. Disney’s year-ago quarter had an additional week of operations that the company said accounted for 13 cents a share of profit. While analysts were aware of the extra week, the stock still

Steps To Build A Startup Ecosystem In City

According to a Kauffman Foundation report, in the US,”new businesses account for nearly all net new job creation and almost 20 percent of gross job creation.” It’s no wonder there is so much hype about emerging startup ecosystems, and so much new focus on supporting startups from governments.

But what often gets lost in all the hype is how sustainable startup ecosystems are actually created.

For example, it pains me every time I see a press release from the government of an area with no startup ecosystem that decides to dump millions into shiny facilities to “spur local startup innovation.” More often than not, these initiatives end up providing a great photo opportunity and a hip workspace for local freelancers to code while sitting in beanbags, but little else.

Similarly, I see a lot of government venture funds investing in the best companies in their locales, whether these companies have found product-market fit or not. Not only do these efforts provide improper validation to businesses before they are ready, they are also an egregious waste of taxpayer money.

These types of “top-down” approaches are by far the worst ways to build a sustainable startup ecosystem. Think about it:

Best Business Books

In an age of 140-character snippets, vanishing texts, video on demand, and limited attention spans, the prospect of actually reading a book — a long document, often printed and bound in physical form, full of nuance and depth — may seem to be a quaint convention. And yet. Books manage to convey insight, storytelling, knowledge, and even wonder, in a way that other media can’t quite match. Maybe that’s why, despite the continual proliferation of diversions, the number of books sold in the U.S. actually increased in 2015, as it did in 2014, according to the Association of American Publishers. But it’s important to discern the specific quality amid this quantity, especially because books require a significant time commitment. Fortunately, for this, the 16th edition of s+b’s Best Business Books of the year section, we’ve assembled a team of learned, expert, and stylish guides.

James Surowiecki, a columnist at theNew Yorker appearing in s+b for the first time, identifies three books on technology with compelling stories; the best of them, he concludes, describes the birth of the system that lets us pinpoint our position on this earth: GPS. Sally Helgesen, a frequent contributor to s+b, highlights a

Things You Need To Know About The Internet And Property Management

The IDC predicts that the Internet of Things — the connection of physical objects, people and places through computing devices all over the world — will be worth $1.7 trillion by 2020. Gartner projects a swing up to 13.5 billion “connected things” by the same year. As demand and supply rocket upward neck-and-neck, top-speed, highly capable WiFi will be the cornerstone of the next four years.

1. Smart buildings are quickly becoming the standard — especially in the commercial sector.

Owners of smart buildings are increasingly identifying and repairing glitches in internal systems before they become a major problem — monitoring ventilation, internal and external air, and even heating through smart thermostats and pressure sensors. As consumers demand greater energy efficiency, many buildings are developing greener spaces and cutting regulation and maintenance costs by implementing intelligent predictive analytics.

These systems allow users to customize notifications, establish climate control parameters, and make note of patterns and outliers in the environment. Retailers already utilize a number of built-in services to enhance the customer experience, including expedited in-app paying systems, customized shopping guides and informative store tours.

Such an environment enables building managers and owners to maintain direct relationships

Why The Retail Store Not Dead ?

The magnitude of disruption over the last decade is indisputable — as evidenced by ongoing rounds of store closures including several new rounds in 2017. Does the future of shopping belong to e-commerce? Actually, no. In fact, many retailers are heralding a new retail ecosystem.

PwC’s latest report, “The New Retail Ecosystem: From Disrupted to Disruptor,” celebrates the physical store as a key retail component — a combination of physical, digital and complementary service offerings to attract and retain today’s mercurial shoppers. This means consumers can expect immersive, seamless, brand-defining experiences across all channels, regardless of where they shop.

So what six strategies constitute the new retail ecosystem?

    1. Pricing: While speed and convenience are key for today’s shoppers — 45% of those we surveyed said convenience is the main reason for shopping online — low price continues to by the primary motivator for two-thirds of shoppers across all channels. In response, retailers are exploring dynamic pricing models that allow real-time price adjustments based on customer loyalty, shipping costs, and inventory updates.
    2. Loyalty: Brand loyalty, while hard-won, is not easy to shake. A whopping 90% of consumers are Amazon shoppers accustomed to frictionless, one-click checkout, so much so