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What Kind of Business Plan Do I Need?

The purpose and the process of creating a business plan are different, depending on your starting position. Following are some of the most common questions you should consider to determine the starting point and the type of business plan you need to write.

Business plans for start-ups

A start-up company begins with a new idea and high hopes. A business plan helps these new ventures evaluate their new idea, potential market, and competition. The critical questions that a business plan for a start-up must address are

  • Does this new venture have a good chance of getting off the ground?

  • How much money will the business need to get up and running?

  • Who are our customers, and what’s the best way to reach them?

  • Who are our competitors, and what’s the best way to outrun them?

  • Why will customers choose our new product or service instead of our competitors?

Business plans to address changing conditions

Especially during rocky economic times, many existing businesses are trying to retool themselves. The critical questions a business plan must address are

  • What are the economic realities we face?

  • How can we reshape the company and its products or services to compete in the new economic environment?

  • What steps do we need to take to reach the goal of achieving those changes?

Business plans to seize growth opportunity

Even successful companies can’t rest on their laurels. To remain successful, they have to continue to compete. For many, that means recognizing and seizing opportunities to grow their businesses. For companies charting a strategy to grow, a business plan must address several key questions:

  • Where do the best opportunities for growth lie?

  • Who are our competitors in this new market?

  • How can we best compete to grab new market share?

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