- Writing a Business Plan
- Financial Statements
- Business Forecasting
- Business Checklist
A) Business Operating Issues:
1. What is a Business Plan and why do I need one?
2. Can you define your proposed product or service in terms of your core product, actual product and augmented product/service? If you don't have a product or service yet, you can search for business ideas by reading these two resouces entitled, Types of Businesses and Find a Business Idea.
2b. If you are a retailer, do you know the dollar value of your merchandise sold?
3. Do you have any plans for future product developments or possible future services?
4. Will you be a manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or service provider?
5. Will your business be seasonal, semi seasonal, etc? Why?
6. Which month (s) do you anticipate to be the busiest? Why?
7. Which month (s) do you anticipate to be the slowest? Why?
8. What type of ownership will the business be? (IE Sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation)
9. If the ownership is a partnership, have you developed a partnership agreement?
10. Have you considered a name for your business?
11. Have you registered your business name yet? When do you intend to register the business name?
12. When do you intend to start the business or expand your existing one?
13. Have you developed a time-line that charts each step required prior to opening?
15. Will suppliers be able to supply your anticipated product demand? Have you created a list of alternative or backup suppliers in the case where a supplier is unable to fill a specific order?
16. Do you need to develop a contract with your suppliers, customers, and others? If so, what steps have you taken in this regard?
17. Will suppliers ship the products/raw materials to your place of business? If so, are you aware of the shipping terms and extra costs?
18. Do you need a startup inventory of products (IE stock)? If so, be sure to create a complete list of stock you need to start the business along with their associated costs? This will be needed in the forecasted cash-flow statement in order to determine the amount of financing you will need to start and maintain the operation.
19. What credit terms, if any, will suppliers grant you? (Cash on delivery, 30 days credit, 60 days credit, etc….).
20. Where will you store inventory until it is needed for display or resale?
21. Have you the space and production or assembly capacity to handle your projected sales?
22. Can your product or service be produced at increased rates or quantities? What is your production capacity, if applicable?
23. Where will your business be located?
24. Does your planned facility or location allow for future expansion? Can additional space be rented or built on should your business expand?
25. Does your facility need renovations? List the renovations that must be carried prior to opening.
26. If renovations are required, who will complete them and how much will each cost.
27. Do you intend to rent a business location or erect a building? Either way, be sure to understand all costs associated with the selected approach and when payments are to be made.
28. Do you need to lease any equipment, furniture, vehicle, etc.? If so, be sure you understand the leasing terms for each item?
Hint: An alternative to leasing or buying new equipment and furnishings, for example, is to search E-bay for these items. You’d be surprised with the amazing deals you receive here on used and even new equipment, furnishings, industry related tools, etc. You see, many businesses go out of business and sell their goods on E-bay for pennies on the dollar. In addition, many large wholesale companies buy new equipment, industry tools, furnishings and retail stock in bulk which enables them to sell at major discounts.
29. Do you need packaging for your products such as plastic bags, boxes, protective paper wrap, Styrofoam chips? If so, who will supply the product packaging and how much will it cost?
30. Will you be required to ship products to customers? If so, be sure you fully understand the costs for various shipping terms and durations?
31. Do you need a cell phone or pager for your business? What are the terms and costs?
32. Will you have a toll free (1-800) line for customers outside your local calling area?
34. If you plan to rent an office or retail outlet, will your landlord’s insurance cover damages should there be a fire, flood or break-in, for example? Be sure to fully understand what your landlord’s insurance policy before purchasing insurance for your business!
35. What possible business threats might there be regarding your start-up to expansion?
36. Have you considered how to deal with product spoilage or waste (if applicable)?
37. What policies and procedures do you have in place to detect employee theft as well as customer theft?
38. Is your product or service recessionary proof? If so, be sure to provide a brief discussion on this topic in the body of your business plan.
39. Are there any Environmental Issues or concerns relating to your product or service?
40. Do you have a contingency plan should sales be lower than as envisioned?
41. What are your short-term and long-term business goals?
42. Have you created a mission statement for your business?
43. Have you created a strategy statement for your business?
44. Are you familiar with the Strategic Planning Process?
45. What has led you to this business idea? Most lenders will ask this question.
46. If you are taking over an existing business, lenders will want to know background information about the business. In addition, the lender will want to see historical financial data on the company you intend to purchase. An up-to-date balance sheet as well as income statement for the past three to five years is generally what a lender or potential investor would want to see. You will also want this critical financial data so that you can make an intelligent decision on whether the business provides an opportunity.
If the historical financial statements show the company’s probability has declined in the past few years, be sure your business plan address the changes you intent to implement in order to improve the financial state.