This guide to creating a business plan outlines the key parts and what should be included in an effective plan.
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
A business plan is a written description of the future of your company, a document that states what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope that describes your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the seeds of one.
Business plans are strategic by nature. You start here today with certain resources and skills. And you want to get there at a later date (usually three to five years later). At this point, your company has other resources and skills, as well as higher profitability and wealth. Your plan shows how to get from here to there.
Related: 7 Steps to a Perfectly Written Business Plan
You can visit our Small Business Encyclopedia to learn more about business plans or our FormNet section for the necessary forms to get started.
Before you write your plan
Write your business plan
Business plan tools
Business planning videos
Video: What Investors Really Think About Your Business Plan In our entrepreneur magazine Roundtable, finance professionals talk in depth about the business plans of first-time entrepreneurs:
Related Topics: What Investors Really Think About Your Business Plan
Video: How can I hire someone to help me write my business plan? In the following video, Tim Berry, founder and president of Palo Alto Software Inc., responds to a reader who seeks advice on finding an inexpensive writer for a business plan:
See also: 25 business plan tips from professionals