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HOW-TO: Structure and Write a Business Plan

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Old 05-15-2004, 02:50 AM
nzbm nzbm is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 346

HOW-TO: Structure and Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a document that helps a business to clarify its direction and goals.
I have assumed that users of this HOW-TO are thinking about setting up a web hosting business.
The typical business plan incorporates the following parts:
1) A Table of Contents - where the plans contents are indexed
2) An Executive Summary - a detailed summary of the business plan, essentially a condensed version of the actual business plan.
3) Introduction - Where a general overview of the business, its activities, services and other details that you see fit to put in it!
4) Outline of Business - an outline of the businesses legal structure and corporate structure.
5) Outline of Services and Activities - an outline of the products or services that a business offers. This could include pricing and plan details for web hosts.
6) Marketing Details - an overview of the marketing strategies a business intends to use and would include details of your target market, where you plan to advertise etc.
7) Human Resource Details - an outline or detailed information regarding who you are going to employ such as support staff, sys admins etc. This section may also incorporate information on the management.
8) Operational Details - this is probably the most important component in a business plan. It outlines how the business intends to operate on a day-to-day basis. It could involve the software and systems used etc.
9) Financial Details - This section could be as complex or simple as possible. A cash flow projection and budget will do.
10) Conclusion - where everything is summarized again, highlighting your businesses vision or goals.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan
When writing a business plan, one thing I like to keep in mind is my 'evolving blueprint' philosophy. This means that the business plan is written as openly as possible, but has room to accommodate new ideas and details when you revise the plan. A business plan is intended to help you achieve your business goals, and although I cannot actually write one for you, I hope that the above will help you write a business plan that helps you to achieve your businesses goals and achieve your vision.

A business plan is not a finished document. It should be continually updated to incorporate new ideas and changes in financial or operation details. Writing a business plan can be difficult, but if you are stuck for words, a good idea is to write the executive summary first. This executive summary would be enough to serve as an 'evolving blueprint' for your business. This concept of an 'evolving blueprint' will hopefully help you to achieve your business goals, bearing in mind the fact that the business plan is not set in concrete. Most importantly, a business plan is for you to write about how you want your business to achieve its goals and help you get there!
If you have any questions or would like to contact me regarding business plans in general, please contact me.

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Old 06-15-2004, 11:01 AM
someuser someuser is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 538
Very useful to start my business. I would be using this plan.

Thank you for contributing in writing it.

Old 06-16-2004, 01:01 AM
PHPGeek2k3 PHPGeek2k3 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Portland, OR, USA
Posts: 479
Great Article.

Honestly i think that this could have been written with more detail but its a great start. This will give new business' a good idea on what is supposed to go into a business plan. You Could possilby supply links to other resources that gives more details on how to write each individual section like (Small business administration) for US Business's other then that thanks for the post.

- James

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Old 06-17-2004, 05:23 PM
mikesmi7h mikesmi7h is offline
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Posts: 7
Thanks for that

Old 06-17-2004, 11:54 PM
TS-Dave TS-Dave is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 106
SWOT analysis




It's a good reality check for most business plans and forces you to take a harder look at your marketspace in terms of competition and what you can provide that the other guy doesn't.

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Old 06-27-2004, 07:10 PM
webhost933 webhost933 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 61
Yeah, that plan how-to is very well written, thanks.

Old 06-29-2004, 03:09 PM
mindboggle mindboggle is offline
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Posts: 419
More details about structuring and writing a business plan can be found at You can even buy their software which, from my own experience, is excellent.

Old 06-29-2004, 05:41 PM
CArmstrong CArmstrong is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 3,478
Thanks for this, I'm going to begin reading more.

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Old 07-16-2004, 08:31 PM
tdoyle12345 tdoyle12345 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 9
S-Corp or LLC

Do you prefer running as an LLC or S-Corp.

I heard that for tax purposes, S-Corp is the way to go.

Any Ideas?

Old 07-16-2004, 11:05 PM
bbleaman bbleaman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 25
thanks for the information

Old 07-18-2004, 03:35 PM
Andrej Andrej is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 397
Thanks for this awesome tutorial!

Do you recommend software such as Business Plan Pro?

Old 07-20-2004, 12:13 PM
NikeAero1080 NikeAero1080 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 264
I use Business Plan Pro for all of my work. Great piece of software. The only problem is that it's sometimes time consuming to remove sections of the plan that don't fit in your specific case.

- Chris

Old 07-20-2004, 04:37 PM
brian73 brian73 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 61
Through the SBA, I found the following list of example business plans that I found to be helpful:

Old 07-27-2004, 11:47 AM
The Kid The Kid is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 52
never thought of that, thanks!


Old 08-09-2004, 12:10 AM
nzbm nzbm is offline
Registered User
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 346
No worries. Business Planning Software can be great for templates and getting you started, but can prove troublesome. I prefer writing each business plan I do from scratch.
Here are some other business sites. (Some are NZ-orientated)


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