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Thread: are these good business plan examples?

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    Default are these good business plan examples?

    Is this a good example of a business plan:

    Computer Software Business Plan Sample - Executive Summary | Bplans

    I've been researching online examples to get an idea of what a good business plan looks like. Are there any critiques anyone has on the above example, anything you would do different, any points to emphasize?

    The website has a whole bunch of examples, one for every kind of business.

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    I used sample plans from the same site when I started. I wasn't writing a plan for anything formal. It was more for me to plan how my business would work. I found the closest sample to my business and used it as a template and a guide. I thought through the business I wanted and worked through the plan one section at a time. I think I skipped the financial forecasting part toward the end because I really didn't know enough about the industry to make much of an estimate. I came back to the section once I'd been in business for a few months.

    Filling in the plan made me think about my business in ways I hadn't, which pushed me to think about all sorts of things I hadn't considered. It helped me understand how to make less mistakes and prepared me better.

    I don't know if they make good templates if you're looking for a loan, though I suspect a bank would want to know all the information on those samples.

    Hope that helps.
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    I've looked at several business plans on that website in the past. It is owned by Palo Alto Software which has been selling software to generate business plans for small businesses since 1988, so their experience is unmatched. You probably won't find better templates anywhere.

    HOWEVER, even the best template can be used correctly or misused miserably. A template should be a tool to get you to organize your own thoughts about your business and, as Steven pointed out, push you to think about things you might not have otherwise considered. Unfortunately, I have seen way too many small businesses who treat a business plan template as a fill-in-the-blank form. In those cases, the end result is usually worthless and the person who labored to fill in every section simply wasted his or her time.

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    Thanks both, for your replies.

    Since I am in no rush to get my business off the ground (forecasting at least 2 years before I move from R&D to implementation), I think your suggestions on how to treat the business plan is right up my alley. Right now I'm still very fuzzy on what my business plan is, how I want to structure my business, even whether I want to start as an independent contractor or dive into a small business. Anything that will help clarify these things for me will help.

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    Those are very comprehensive plans. Making your plan by those templates can seem overwhelming. What I'd suggest instead is to start with making projected financial statements - Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, Cash Flow etc. These are the essence of your business plan and putting a number to line items like marketing expense forces you to think on how you're going to handle that aspect of the business. If after doing this exercise you still feel you need to make a comprehensive plan then go ahead and do it. It will be easier though, as you've already got all your numbers laid out.

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    Business plans can be more of an art than a science. As BusAttorney said the best template can be useless if done wrong. One of the most important aspects is what the business plan for. Is it to raise investment capital, a loan application or just an operating plan for you?

    Investment equity plan vs a loan plan are very different. For an equity investment you have to demonstrate a profitable exit strategy. For a loan plan you have to demonstrate how you will pay the loan. Many may think they are the same but they are not.

    An equity plan should project the company value appreciation over a time period. Example is that a company may be unprofitable for some time but expects to reach critical mass and then profitability sometime in the future creating a value in the equity. That is typically what equity investors look for.
    On the other hand lending institution couldn’t care less about future equity value, they just want to know how they will be paid with interest.

    In a sense it is a short term cash flow/profitability plan vs. a long term equity appreciation plan.

    What is the business if you can share?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    Business plans can be more of an art than a science. As BusAttorney said the best template can be useless if done wrong. One of the most important aspects is what the business plan for. Is it to raise investment capital, a loan application or just an operating plan for you?

    Investment equity plan vs a loan plan are very different. For an equity investment you have to demonstrate a profitable exit strategy. For a loan plan you have to demonstrate how you will pay the loan. Many may think they are the same but they are not.

    An equity plan should project the company value appreciation over a time period. Example is that a company may be unprofitable for some time but expects to reach critical mass and then profitability sometime in the future creating a value in the equity. That is typically what equity investors look for.
    On the other hand lending institution couldn’t care less about future equity value, they just want to know how they will be paid with interest.

    In a sense it is a short term cash flow/profitability plan vs. a long term equity appreciation plan.

    What is the business if you can share?
    If you don't mind, could you kindly give the difference between Investment equity and loan plan? Thank you!

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    Hi Darcie-Amber,

    An equity investment is when an investor actually buys a portion of the company. The investor now has "equity" (ownership) in the company.In a corporation the investor is a "shareholder" because the portion of the ownership is distributed by "shares" of the company stock. Typically the investor is not paid back. In some cases profits may be distributed to "equity" holders, sometimes referred to as "dividends". Sometimes the investor/shareholder just waits until the shares appreciate and can be sold at a profit. Investors expect a greater return than just interest on a loan because of the greater risk. A business plan for those kind of investors has to demonstrate how the investor will benefit.

    A loan is simply that, a lender loans the company money with an agreed pay back plan at a certain profitable interest rate. The lender does not own any shares or portion of the company and does not have any opportunity for profit except for the interest on the loan. A plan for a loan must demonstrate how the company will be able to pay back the loan as agreed.

    Company's can create all sorts of hybrid loan and equity deals if they want.

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