Small Business Kit For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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If you want investors for your small business, you need to write a business plan so that you have something to present to bankers and potential investors. The format of every good business plan, although not set in stone, tends to run along the same basic lines — it shouldn’t have anything that surprises investors.

The business plan format is fairly standardized, typically containing the following key sections:

  • Cover page: Contains contact information and a statement that the plan is deemed confidential

  • Table of contents: Enables your readers to quickly find the exact information they’re looking for

  • Executive summary: Explains, briefly, your business’s prospects, needs, and situation

  • Company description: Contains a historical account of the company, as well as its future prospects

  • The product or service: Explains what is unique about the products or services that your business plans to deliver

  • The market: Creates a picture of the market in which your business competes

  • Marketing: Informs your reader of how you plan to capture your business’s potential market (packaging, distribution, advertising, Web marketing, and so on)

  • Management/ownership: Introduces the people holding leadership positions in the business, their relevant experience and credentials

  • Competition: Focuses on your competitors' strengths and weaknesses

  • Financial statements and projections: Includes a lot of numbers (hopefully black), like your balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and financial forecasts

  • Appendices: Contains résumés of key personnel, an organizational chart with positions and responsibilities, extended market information, and other data to back up the claims in your business plan

About This Article

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About the book author:

Richard D. Harroch is an attorney with over 20 years of experience in representing start-up and emerging companies, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists. He is listed in Who’s Who in American Law and is a corporate partner in a major law firm in San Francisco. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of U.C. Berkeley and graduated from UCLA Law School, where he was managing editor of the Law Review. He has edited or co-authored a number of legal/business books, including Start-Up and Emerging Companies: Planning, Financing and Operating the Successful Business and Partnership and Joint Venture Agreements.
Richard was the chairman and co-founder of AllBusiness.com, one of the premier Web sites for small businesses. He was also the founder, CEO, and chairman of LawCommerce, Inc., an Internet company dedicated to providing products and sources to the legal profession.
He has lectured extensively before various legal and business organizations, including the American Electronics Association, the Venture Capital Institute, the California Continuing Education of the Bar, Law Journal Seminars-Press, the California State Bar Business Section, the Corporate Counsel Institute, the San Francisco Bar, and the Practicing Law Institute (PLI).
Richard has served as the chairman of the California State Bar Committee on Partnerships, the co-chairman of the Corporations Committee of the San Francisco Bar (Barristers), a member of the Executive Committee of the Business Law Section of the California State Bar, and co-chair of the Law Journal seminar in New York on “Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances.”
Richard has experience in the following areas: start-up and emerging companies, corporate financings, joint ventures, strategic alliances, venture capital financings, employment agreements, IPOs, leases, loans, online and Internet matters, license agreements, partnerships, preferred stock, confidentiality agreements, stock options, sales contracts, securities laws, and mergers and acquisitions.

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