Once you decide to go into business, it’s natural to feel a sense of urgency to start selling. Yet, the most overlooked step to starting a successful business is creating a business plan. Your business plan provides a map of the future. It is a key tool in discovery, process, and strategic planning. By creating a business plan, you are writing the narrative of your small business and will be able to clearly share your vision with potential investors, new employees and suppliers.
The MOBI Business Plan template consists of 15 sections that correspond directly to the content of Course 1: Starting a Business. We suggest completing each section of the business plan after you complete the correlating session in the course. This business plan is a universal model suitable for all types of business, which you can customize to fit your circumstances. MOBI provides leading topics, questions and suggestions in each section to guide you.
1. On the cover page replace the MOBI spark with your own logo and provide your business name, personal name and date.
2. Complete each section using the suggestions and questions as guidance. You can type directly over the provided content or delete it as you complete it.
3. The sections will stay separated by page breaks so that your document is well-formatted.
Once you complete your business plan, be sure that key stakeholders review it. Business plans are not static; they will change as your business and the business environment changes around you.
Enter Your Business Name
Enter Your Name
Section 1: The Business Profile
Description of My Business
(Session 1): Describe your product or service.
Targeted Market and Customers
(Session 1): Describe your customer profile and why customers want or need your product or service.
Growth Trends In This Business
(Session 1): Is the market for your product or service growing or shrinking?
(Session 1): Explain the unique qualities or circumstances concerning your product or service that will enable you to maintain profitable pricing.
Section 2: The Vision and the People
(Session 2): Describe convincingly that you are passionately committed to your new business and have the realism to make inevitable hard choices.
Work Experience Related to My Intended Business
(Session 2): Describe your work experience in the business you plan to start including a list of your skills and knowledge, which will be required in your business.
Personal Background and Education Credentials
(Session 2): Describe yourself, including your education.
Section 3: Home Based Business Issues
Factors in Selecting the Business
(Session 3): Describe your considerations for selecting your home business and include:
1. Your experience in the business?
2. Why will the business work as a home-based business?
3. How do you plan to market and sell your goods or services. In-person? On the web?
4. Are there any applicable legal restrictions to using your home for a business? For example, special zoning or licensing restrictions?
5. Your competition in this business.
6. Your expectations regarding growth and why.
1. The Home Based Business Time Commitment
(Session 3): Describe if the business will be a part-time or full-time activity for you. Be specific about how many hours you will be able to commit to the business and when ?
2. Conflict of interest management
(Session 3): If business is part-time describe your conflict of interest policy and how you will separate your outside job responsibilities from your home-based business responsibilities .
3. Operating personnel
(Session 3): Describe the personnel and partners who will be involved in operating the business including any family members. Describe their participation and responsibilities .
Section 4: Financing
(Session 4): Provide a chart or spreadsheet showing all of the sources of your start-up capital. Explain any government assistance or loan guarantee programs you intend to apply for.
Prepare a cash flow projection and pro forma income statement. If applicable, show how funds will be used to repay lenders. Be conservative in your forecasts.
List your sources of referrals to lending institutions. (Your accountant, etc.)
Section 5: Organization
(Session 5): Explain the form of business organization you intend to use and why it is best for your business.
(Session 5): List the names of your lawyer, accountant, insurance agent and any other professionals.
(Session 5): List what licenses you will require to go into business.
Section 6: Licenses and Permits
Make a comprehensive list of all licenses and permits you will need to do business in your area.
Your list should include the following:
Name under which you intend to do business (DBA)
Limitations on use of property in your area (e.g. zoning laws)
Federal and local licenses, permits, and certifications needed to do business in your area (e.g. sellers permit, safety certifications, employer identification number, etc.)
International and national intellectual property protection through trademark, copyright, and patents.
Section 7: Business Insurance
List the business insurance policies you intend to buy to support your business. Estimate the cost of the insurance. Include any other risk management strategies you intend to utilize.
Section 8: Communication Tools
Provide a list of the primary means of communication with clients, customers, employees, and professional support. Estimate the equipment, specialized software, and the ongoing annual cost of the communication methods. Your list should include mobile telephones, computers, tablets, cellular network access, and internet access with estimated data transfer requirements.
Session 9: Acquisitions
1. Describe how the business or franchise is connected to the vision you outlined in section 2.
2. Investigate the marketplace. Interview other franchisees and competitors. Make the case that the market is strong enough to support your acquisition.
3. Prepare a plan for the acquisition. The plan should include the following:
A list of the documents and records you will inspect: financial statements, tax records, accounts payable and accounts receivable, inventory, cash deposit records, etc.
A list of professionals who will assist you in the process: attorneys, accountants, bankers, etc.
A plan for verifying the company’s sales revenue.
A review of licenses, permits, and certifications.
Professional appraisals of the company’s assets: real estate, equipment, goodwill, and intellectual property.
A timeline for the acquisition.
4. Describe the source of capital for the acquisition and the form of the acquisition (equity as opposed to assets).
Section 10: Location and Leasing
Prepare a list of your needs and preferences for a new location, including an estimate of future requirements.
Identify alternative locations for purchase or lease.
Evaluate alternative locations. Include the following:
1. Site criteria analysis (MOBI template)
2. Demographic study of the area, if needed.
3. Lease check-off list
4. Estimated annual cost of occupancy as a percent of sales.
Section 11: Accounting and Cash Flow
(Session 11): Furnish, as a separate exhibit of your starting balance sheet and projected income statements for the first six months to one year.
Cash Flow Planning
(Session 11): Provide a separate exhibit of your one year cash flow analysis including estimated sales, all costs and capital investments.
Provide a checklist of all expense items for input into your cash flow projection.
Analysis of Costs
(Session 11): What are all of my costs: fixed, variable, product, delivery, etc.
(Session 11): Explain your: Intended internal controls and cash controls, check signing policy, strategy for controlling shrinkage and dishonesty and control of incoming merchandise.
Section 12: E-Commerce
(Session 12): Describe in detail how you plan to use the Internet in marketing your product or service.
(Session 12): Provide a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in creating, operating and maintaining your e-commerce activities.
(Session 12): Describe how your best competitors utilize e-commerce and your strategy to improve on their practices.
(Session 12): Research and identify the key 3rd party E-commerce sites that you will list your product or service on. What markets do they serve? What is your expectation of sales?
(Session 12): Identify the key social media platforms you will use to drive traffic to your online store and how you plan to engage your customers.
Section 13: Opening and Marketing
(Session 13): Describe your overall marketing and sales strategy including how you plan to get and retain customers.
Advertising and Promotion Plans
(Session 13): Describe your plans and budgets for advertising and promotions.
Purchasing and Inventory Control
(Session 13): See “how to buy” checklist.
(Session 13): Describe your plans for hiring and training your sales associates.
(Session 13): Describe your strongest competitors and how you intend to compete.
How I Plan to Take Advantage of Competitors Weak Points
(Session 13): List your competitor’s shortcomings and how you can capitalize on them.
Section 14: Managing Employees
Describe how you will manage your business’s payroll. Will you utilize a “Payroll Service Provider” (PSP)?
Provide the job descriptions for all employees you intend to hire.
Include a copy of the job application form and describe the screening procedures you intend to use.
(Session 14): Describe the benefits package you intend to offer your employees.
(Session 14): Provide a copy of your employee handbook.
(Session 14): Outline your initial and ongoing training programs for employees.
(Session 14): Identify the labor attorney who will be advising you on employee matters.
Section 15: Expanding and Handling Problems
(Session 15): Describe your growth: You might include the development of profitable pilot operation, sources of financing, cash flow, an accounting system in place, incentive compensation plan for managers, benefits package and policies, the economics of scale.
Handling Major Problems
(Session 15): Describe scenarios of adverse conditions and how you intend to respond to them. For example how you would plan to handle a 25% reduction in sales, or new competitions, etc.
Prepare a cash flow projection based on lowered expectations and show how and where you would reduce costs to maintain liquidity.