How to Write a Business Development Plan

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A business development plan is like a map. You use it to get from where you are in your business to where you want to be. And while it may be possible to get where you want without a map, or a business development plan, the experience is less efficient and far less certain a proposition. Business development plans are important for making strategic business decisions, as well as for getting funding through loans, grants or investment.

Establish Company Performance

Determine total gross income for each month of the past two years. If your company is newer than that, establish income for the entire history of the company. If brand-new, estimate initial income based on industry averages for your region.

Determine total expenses for each month of the past two years. If your company is newer than that, estimate as you did for income.

Subtract Step 2 from Step 1 to determine net income for each month.

Break down the numbers as you see fit for your business. Categorize income according to product or service, or by location or sales representative. Or, break down expenses into categories such as rent/utilities, payroll and insurance.

Calculate totals for month, quarter and year based on the information you've gathered and organized.

Set Basic Goals

Decide, based on realistic estimates, what you want your gross income to be for upcoming quarters. If your business plan calls for it, forecast further into the future.

Calculate estimated expenses for the same time periods. Consider both cost-cutting measures and increased expenses necessary to achieve the income growth you have forecast.

Make a list of the changes that you must make in the business in order to achieve your growth goals. Some examples might be increased advertising, running special events, opening a new location, hiring more sales staff or introducing new products.

Set up a project timeline for each change you've identified, including start and deadline dates.

Allocate and estimate the costs of any resources necessary to make changes to your business. Adjust estimated expenses as required.

Write the Document

Develop detailed estimated profit and loss projections based on your calculations thus far.

Write a stage-by-stage narrative of the changes you've identified, including your timeline, resources and expenses data. If possible, identify the employee who will oversee each project by name.

Finish the document with an appropriate conclusion. You may need to do several versions of this. For example, the conclusion of a development plan to be presented to stockholders will be different from the conclusion to be presented to a potential lender.

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References

  • "Small Business For Dummies"; Eric Tyson; 1998
  • Bartt Brick, Small Business Consultant, Brick Enterprises, Hillsboro, OR
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