A BUSINESS PLAN CHECKLIST: KEY QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Explains all functions relating to developing a business plan.

  1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • Why will the business succeed?
  • What do you want to start (or change)?
  • How much money is required?
  • What is the return on the investment?
  • Why is the venture a good risk?
  1. BUSINESS DESCRIPTION
  • What type of business are you planning?
  • What products or services will you sell?
  • What type of opportunity is it (new, part time, expansion, seasonal, year round)?
  • Why does it promise to succeed?
  • What is the growth potential?
  • How is it unique?
  1. MARKETING
  • Who are your potential customers?
  • How large is the market?
  • Who are your competitors? How are their businesses positioned?
  • What market share do you anticipate?
  • How will you price your product or service?
  • What advertising and promotional strategies will you use?
  1. RESEARCH, DESIGN, AND DEVELOPMENT
  • Have you carefully described your design or development?
  • What technical assistance have you received?
  • What research needs do you anticipate?
  • Are the costs involved in research and design reasonable?
  1. MANUFACTURING
  • Where will the business be located? Why?
  • What steps are required to produce your product or service?
  • What are your needs for production (e.g., facilities and equipment)?
  • Who will be your suppliers?
  • What type of transportation is available?
  • What is the supply of available labor?
  • What will it cost to produce your product or service?
  • ORGANIZATION
  • Who will manage the business?
  • What qualifications do you have?
  • How many employees will you need? What will they do?
  • How will you structure your organization?
  • What are your plans for employee salaries, wages, and benefits?
  • What consultants and specialists will you need? How will you use them?
  • What legal form of ownership will you choose? Why?
  • What licenses and permits will you need?
  1. CRITICAL RISKS
  • What potential problems could arise?
  • How likely are they?
  • How do you plan to manage these potential problems?
  1. FINANCIAL
  • What is your total estimated business income for the first year? Monthly for the first year? Quarterly for the second and third years?
  • What will it cost you to open the business?
  • What will your personal monthly financial needs be?
  • What sales volume will you need in order to make a profit the first three years?
  • What will be the break even point?
  • What will be your projected assets, liabilities, and net worth on the day before you expect to open?
  • What are your total financial needs?
  • What are your potential funding sources? How will you spend it?
  • How will the loans be secure?
  1. MILESTONE SCHEDULE
  • What timing have you projected for this project?
  • How have you set your objectives?
  • Have you set up your deadlines for each stage of your venture?
  • Is there a relationship between events in this venture?
  1. APPENDIX
  • Have you included all important documents, drawings, agreements, and references?

About the Author

Donald F. Kuratko, Ph.D.

Small Business Forum, Winter 1990

Demystifying the Business Plan Process: An Introductory Guide