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Writing a business plan for a small business in Virginia

A good business plan clearly identifies a business, what it does and how it plans to accomplish its goals. It can be used as a tool for fundraising and establishing a preliminary budget. It identifies the unique aspects of the company, such as its intellectual property, and defines how the business will be able to successfully compete and become profitable.

Good business plans have several things in common. The organization's strategy for competing in a particular field should be laid out in a clear and precise manner that can be easily understood by investors and employees. If one of the main purposes for writing a business plan is fundraising, it must be written in such a way that a potential investor clearly understands how the company will make a profit and makes the investor comfortable with the outlined methodology. It must also demonstrate that the company has the experience and expertise to compete in the field it has chosen. In a sense, it acts as the company's resume and a road map to future success.

Business plans usually include an executive summary, an overview of the company, a market analysis, information about competitors, details about the qualifications and experience of the management team, revenue and cash flow projections, and a funding request. The plan needs to be well-written and have a polished, professional look to it. It should also be easy to modify.

There are many sources of information available to assist in the writing of business plans, including the Small Business Administration and various books and websites. A small business might also want to consider using the services of an attorney with experience in business law to help with portions of the plan that relate to legal matters, such as the appropriate business structure, taxes and permitting.

Source: Findlaw, "How to Write a Business Plan", August 07, 2014

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