Every successful business starts with a plan.

Thinking about starting a new business? Great, but first, you'll need to start with a plan-a business plan.

The Business Plan is essential when you're in the situation of trying to convince others to help finance your business idea.

What is a good business plan?

A good business plan serves as a roadmap for starting and growing your business. It ensures that you've done your homework and considered your business idea from all angles. It also provides an important tool in managing and measuring your day-to-day operations.

A comprehensive business plan is often required before a bank will consider loaning money or extending credit.

How do you write a business plan?

A business plan can be very detailed, covering many topics and areas. But at the bare minimum, your business plan should include the following:

1.  A Business Description - Include:

  • Description of the business initiative
  • Products and services you plan to offer
  • Anticipated prices of products and services
  • Staffing plan
  • List of your potential vendors
  • Basic description of the methods of operation within your organization

2.  A Marketing Plan - Include:

  • Geographical areas in which you plan to market your product
  • Description of your customer including demographics
  • List of potential competitors and their comparative advantages and disadvantages
  • Your strategies for advertising, sales and distribution

3.  Management Overview - Include:

  • Résumés for all key personnel within the company that includes description of their capabilities, experience and special skills or knowledge that will be valuable for you to grow the business

4.  Financial Overview - Include:

  • Three years of projected income statements
  • Balance sheets and cash flow estimates
  • Personal financial statements for anyone owning 20% or more of the firm
  • Historical data for existing businesses should also be provided
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What else you should know

To write a solid business plan, you may want to seek the advice of any accountants, attorneys or business mentors you may know. Their feedback could be crucial in testing the reasonableness of the assumptions and projections you set forth, and to the ongoing direction of your business.
In addition to this core group of advisors, you will want to keep your North Shore Bank Business Banker up to date with any important developments that take place within your business-both good and bad-in order for them to provide the best advice to keep your business growing.

Frequently Asked Questions