sba business plan template

sba business plan template

Creating a Successful SBA Business Plan

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1. Introduction

Typically, there are three reasons to write a business plan: either to obtain financing, to define a business and its potential, or to be used as a management tool. For SBA loans, a business plan is essential in order to qualify. As mentioned by Larry W. Wilson in his book, Business Plans that Work, creating a business plan is the same as taking a vision and making it a reality. Step one in “making it a reality” is to obtain a loan and discuss from sources at the U.S. Bank and an SBA website chat session, it is often easier to obtain a loan for a small business with an SBA guaranteed loan enabling the banks to provide these loans with less risk. With the right preparation and by following the detailed outline provided by the SBA, a small business has a better chance to obtain a loan but most importantly, to define who they are and where they are going.

The Small Business Administration states, “The development of a comprehensive business plan shows whether or not a business has the potential to make a profit.” Business plans are not just used to attract potential investors; in fact, they are essential in helping business owners define their strategies and objectives. At Canadian banks, most entrepreneurs are not accustomed to preparing these types of documents, as such, complexity is an issue. Nor are they aware of what the financial institutions look for. Often, they present an informal ten-page business plan when applying for a loan, without realizing this document is the first step in a series of examinations.

2. Executive Summary

Symbiosis is a wood restoration company. The name stems from symbiotic, meaning beneficial relationship. What we aim to restore is more than a floor or a deck, we aim to restore our customer’s link to nature. Today’s fast-paced lifestyle has caused an increasing need for maintenance-free decks and floors such as concrete, vinyl, or pressure-treated wood. The problem is, how can one maintain a busy lifestyle and a connection to nature simultaneously. These alternative surfaces simply can’t provide the desired link to nature. People have found maintenance-free decks to be slippery and dangerous when wet. Concrete and vinyl are always cold and hard. Many are now regretting the absence of natural wood. This is where our service begins. Let us take on the maintenance of alternative surfaces and restore what you once had, or let us maintain what you currently have.

Executive summaries are a very elusive component to any SBA business plan. It is the very first item to be read by any investor or loan officer and it is also the last item to be written. It is the single most important part of your business plan because if it doesn’t “hook” the reader, the rest of your plan will never be seen. Most executive summaries are dull and unfocused. They lack flare, or don’t define a real problem or a solution. More often than not, the business idea is so complex that the summary has to be equally complicated. This is not the way to entice a reader. An executive summary has to be clear and concise, meaning it should not exceed the length of your business plan. The SBA suggests that the executive summary should concisely state the following: what will your business do? What are the goals and objectives? What is the long term vision? And what is the legal structure? To meet their requirements a simplified executive summary has been prepared.

3. Business Description

The business description usually begins with a short description of the industry. When describing the industry, discuss the present outlook as well as future possibilities. You should also provide information on all the various markets within the industry, including any new products or developments that will benefit or adversely affect your business. For each market segment, try to describe the potential customers for your product or service and the estimated size of the segment. Also discuss the nature of the competition, and the possibility of your firm entering the market. The description should also provide information on all the various products or services provided by the firm. This may require a detailed explanation as to what separates your company from others. This may be in the form of the quality of service and/or product, as well as the customer relations and involvement the customers will receive. The aim is to demonstrate the ability to serve the customer better than the competition. This is usually the case in an industry with lots of firms because the industry can only support a certain amount of companies of a certain size (e.g. 6 firms with 15 employees each), and it is usually the best of these who will succeed in time. If the business is a sole proprietor operation, then describe the owner’s involvement with the product and/or service. It is also a good idea to describe the type of business and explain whether it is a new concept or whether it is based on an existing business. This can usually be supported by the aforementioned industry outlook as well as the nature of the competition. Be sure to answer all questions to the fullest extent.

4. Marketing and Sales Strategy

The marketing and sales section of your business plan provides a high-level review of how you will define and market your product or service to customers. To do that you will want to answer such questions as: – What is the purpose in the purchase of your product? – Are your potential customers price sensitive? – What image of your product do you want to project? – How do you reach your potential customers? – How do you increase the awareness of your product?

The subject of your marketing and sales strategy is the customer. If you have segmented the market and defined your target market, you have already determined what your customers need. Your marketing and sales strategy should spell out the methods you will use to reach and persuade your potential customers to purchase your product or service. It is our belief that you do not have a business if you do not have customers. Everything you do in business is for and about the customer.

5. Financial Projections

This is the section which is going to make or break the acceptance of your plan. It is the most important section because it shows whether your plan is going to work or not. If you do not have concrete numbers or your numbers are way off, the person who is analyzing your plan is going to think you are not ready to start and will not approve your plan. Financial projections include a sales forecast, an expense budget, and a cash flow statement. A sales forecast is a month-by-month forecast of the amount of revenue you will bring in. This is directly tied to your expense budget, which is a forecast of the amount of money you will spend. The difference between the two is your cash flow. A business that is profitable is not always a business that has good cash flow. A new business can be deemed successful if it can maintain cash flow in order to operate. You should not only present the numbers in this section, but explain them. A graph is a good way to display sales and revenue. Prove that you have better researched your competitors by exclusively detailing your expense budget. An example would be if you knew an expense that your type of business will have that previous failed businesses did not consider, and then show why it is important to incur that expense. The final projection should be a break-even analysis that projects when your business will become self-sustaining. This is the first point in your plan where you are taking a stand and setting a goal. Your goal here is to have realistic numbers that demonstrate success and to show that you can produce a return for your investors. Any numbers that you present need to be backed by a specific reasoning, nothing can be thrown out there or speculative. Remember all your cost figures should be based upon whatever you stated that you are going to actually do while implementing the plan.

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