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[Back to top] Now that you’ve written your business plan, here are some tips to help your hard work stand out: Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well.Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval. [Back to top] This section provides a snapshot of your small business.
But you should also address the various risk factors of the business, Allen says.
“The loan officer is definitely going to want to know that you’ve thought through all of the potential risks and that you’ve mitigated those risks in some way,” he says.
It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.
Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.
With Live Plan, you don't have to worry about navigating complex spreadsheets or breaking formulas in Excel.
Live Plan takes you step-by-step through the process of creating the powerful financial reports you need for your business plan—even if you don't have prior business experience. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. " At Nerd Wallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. A business plan can make or break a small business. [Back to top] An objective statement should clearly define your company’s goals and contain a business strategy that details how you plan to achieve them. We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. It contains important information including its registered name, address of any physical locations, names of key people in the business, history of the company, nature of the business and more details about products or services that it offers or will offer.“I always feel like if the person can’t even bother to proofread something that they wrote, how detail-oriented is this person in running their business? Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers, which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance. “They know what you can expect sales to be for that type of business in that market,” Allen says.“If you walk in with a sales forecast 50% higher than other businesses, they are going to know that you are not being realistic, and that’s going to work against you.” Keep it concise: All you need is 15 to 25 pages for a good business plan, as long as the plan is clear, concise and contains all of the relevant information, Allen says.This section can also highlight the strengths of your business and focus on what sets your business apart from your competition.[Back to top] If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet.If you’re applying for a loan or looking for investors, a business plan shows you’re prepared and have fully vetted your business idea, says Craig Allen, a financial advisor who teaches business plan writing classes at Southern New Hampshire University. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity presented and how the loan or investment will grow your company.“If you have no financial forecast, which is part of the business plan, it’s very difficult to show the bank how you are going to repay the loan,” Allen says. For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch the new product and increase its sales by 50% over the next three years.