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Depends on what type of business you're opening...<br><br>
Typically, it would be an outline of what it is you're doing, who it is you're selling to or providing service for (including demographics), how it is you expect to carry out the service, why you're better or different from someone else, marketing strategies, sales/income projections, competitors, etc...<br><br>
Basically, you do a great big brain dump of all your ideas, and then organize it so it looks good. It also depends on whether or not you hope to get a bank loan, or are doing it for the good of having a successful business. Banks have other criteria which you might want to ask about if you're going for a loan.<br><br>
Okay, that's my 2 minute synopsis. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Check out the Small Business Association website (sba.gov?). I think they have a lot of help writing business plans on there.
 

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* expected startup costs (capital equipment, consumables, labor)<br>
* insurance costs<br>
* what products will be sold, expected cost of goods sold (COGS)<br>
* supplier info including minimum purchases<br>
* marketing plan<br>
* financing sought, and how you will make payments<br>
* TYPE of business (sole proprietorship or LLC or s corp)<br>
* education/experience of owners, where it is relevant<br>
* plan for how to close down/dissolve the business<br><br><br>
details detail details!<br><br>
If you have surveyed your target market, include survey results/summary<br><br>
First page should have a quick summary of the proposed business.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">plan for how to close down/dissolve the business</div>
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I forgot to mention this, and it's usually the part that most business plans are lacking. Basically, when to throw in the towel? At what point do you say "this isn't working" and dissolve the business or sell it. Is it 6 months with no profit, a loss of $20k, failing to meet key deadlines, etc.?<br><br>
Too many times people put everything they have into a business, and then don't know when to call it quits. Just recently I met a couple that lost their house because they went into business and didn't have a good exit strategy... they kept beating that dead horse, and got in over their heads.<br><br>
So make sure that your exit strategy allows you to KEEP your house! You might lose money invested in the business, but you need to draw the line of where it would interfere with other parts of your life.
 

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Here's a really good link giving you helpful suggestions for a <a href="http://www.prbasics.co.uk/downloads/business_plan.pdf" target="_blank">business plan</a>.<br><br>
edit: forgot to say it's a downloadable PDF file.<br>
HTH<br><br>
Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All very helpful, thanks!<br><br>
Luckily my initial expenses are pretty slim. I did this once already with 150$ startup but would like to go broader than the local market so I think around 1000 is reasonable.<br><br>
I love all the input.
 
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