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Writing a Business Plan

General sources, like books, periodical articles, and web sites that will help in creating a business plan.


As was evident from the Introductory segment of "Writing a Business Plan", there are a wide variety of formats that can be used in writing a plan. Included here is a broad outline of the type of information that should be included in the plan. Much of the content will be generated by the individual who is trying to make a case for going into business. At certain intervals, where appropriate, you will find resources that might come in handy to expand on those topics.

Steps in the Process

Consult the guide, How to Find Company Information to find sources to answer these topics.

  • Business history
  • Vision and mission statements
  • Objectives
  • Ownership
  • Location and facilities

If you are creating a business plan for a new business, you should be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • Products/services description
  • Key features
  • Production process
  • Future products/services
  • Comparative advantages in production

Consult the guide, How to Find Industry Information to find sources to answer these topics:

  • Size of industry
  • Key product segments
  • Key market segments
  • Purchase process and buying criteria
  • Description of industry participants
  • Key industry trends
  • Industry outlook

Consult the guide, Conducting Marketing Research, to find sources to answer these topics:

  • Target markets
  • Key competitors
  • Analysis of competitive position
  • Pricing strategy
  • Promotion strategy
       For example:
             - trade publications
             - media outlets
  • Distribution strategy
  • Organizational structure
  • Management team
  • Staffing
  • Labor market issues

The U.S. government has a myriad of departments that are good resources to find information on the topics below. Check this excellent A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.

  • Intellectual property issues
      - trademarks
  • Other regulatory issues
    For example:
    • wages and salaries
    • disability policies
    • health regulations
    • product safety programs
  •  Market risks
  • Other risks

Financial Plan

For a full review of the sources necessary to implement a financial plan,
consult Writing a Business Plan - Financials


  • A. Sources and Applications of Funding
  • B. Capital Equipment
  • C. Balance Sheet
  • D. Break-Even Analysis
  • E. Income Projections
  • F. Cash Flow Projection
  • G. Deviation Analysis
  • H. Historical Reports for Existing Business