planning
Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 3.19.27 PM

Do This One Thing Before You Write Your Business Plan

by Noah Parsons

So, you’ve been asked to write a business plan. It’s likely that your mind is filling with images of long documents, bad memories of writing term papers, and worries about doing market research and creating financial forecasts. Take a deep breath. It doesn’t have to be that way. Today, I’m going to walk you through... Read more »

planning
what is a balance sheet?

What Is a Balance Sheet?

by Angelique O'Rourke

If you’re in the process of starting a business or writing a business plan document, you’ll have heard the phrase “balance sheet” mentioned, or maybe you’ve seen one in a sample business plan. The balance sheet is one of three essential parts that form the bedrock of a company’s financial statements: cash flow, balance sheet, and... Read more »

planning
shutterstock_144228361

How to Write a Company Overview

by Angelique O'Rourke

A company overview (also known as company information or a company summary) is an essential part of a business plan. Your company overview should be exactly what it sounds like: an overview containing all of the most important points about your company. It usually appears after the executive summary. This is typically the shortest chapter... Read more »

planning
what is an income statement

What Is an Income Statement?

by Angelique O'Rourke

Learn what an income statement is including a line by line explanation of it's components, and view income statement examples. Read more »

planning
Cash Flow Management

How and Why to Manage Cash Flow

by Tim Berry

No matter how profitable your company looks, it can still be in danger of going under without sufficient cash flow. Cash is your business’s lifeblood, its survival. Yet the world is full of “profitable” companies bleeding themselves dry and slowly—or sometimes not so slowly—going under because they haven’t paid due attention to cash flow. How... Read more »

planning
One page business pitch

7 Reasons to Create a One-Page Pitch Before You Plan

by Noah Parsons

A business pitch or elevator pitch is not only a crucial tool for getting investment, it’s also one of the best tools you can use to flesh out your business concept, iterate it through different variations, and find a business model that works and will turn into a profitable company. But, shouldn’t you have a... Read more »

planning
The Key Elements of the Financial Section

The Key Elements of the Financial Plan

by Trevor Betenson

Whatever type of plan you're writing, there are a few key financial items that you should definitely include. I'll explain what they are, why they're important, and how you should create them. Read more »

planning
business planning

A Simple, Step by Step Guide For Business Planning

by Noah Parsons

We have plenty of in-depth articles here on Bplans about business planning, for example: why you should plan, what kind of plan you need, and how to prepare a formal business plan document. But, what we’ve been missing, until now, is a simple step-by-step summary of the business planning process to get you going and... Read more »

planning
How to Calculate Your TAM (Total Addressable Market)

How Big is Your Potential Market, Really?

by Caroline Cummings

Whether you’re a startup or an up-and-running business, you should know what your total potential market opportunity is for your products or services. I’ve coached many companies over the years, as well as judged several business plan competitions, and I’m always surprised by how most business owners can’t confidently tell you their total market potential.... Read more »

planning
ExportBookbyLaurelDelaney

From Market Research to Writing Your Export Business Plan

by Laurel Delaney

Below is the final extract we will be publishing from Laurel Delaney’s book “Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably.” This book was published in December 2013 and is available for purchase online. If you would like to find out more about the author, the book, or about exporting in general, Laurel’s blog is an excellent... Read more »

planning
Museum of Modern Art Non Profit Business

How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan

by Angelique O'Rourke

Starting and running a nonprofit is an exhilarating experience, but it also requires thoughtful planning and execution to be successful. Nonprofit organizations share many overlapping needs with traditional for-profit ventures, including the need for a good business plan. At some point in the process of starting or managing your nonprofit, you will probably realize that... Read more »

planning
Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably - Laurel Delaney

3 Types of Export Business Plans

by Laurel Delaney

Below is an extract from Laurel Delaney’s book “Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably.” This book was published in December 2013 and is available for purchase online. If you would like to find out more about the author, the book, or about exporting in general, Laurel’s blog is an excellent source of information.... Read more »

planning

How to Forecast Sales

by Tim Berry

Sales forecasting is much easier than you think, and much more useful than you imagine. It’s not about guessing the future correctly. We’re human; we don’t do that well. Instead, it’s about assumptions, expectations, drivers, tracking, and management. You review and revise your forecast regularly. Since sales are intimate with costs and expenses, the forecast... Read more »

planning
exporting

The Pitfalls of Not Having an Export Business Plan

by Laurel Delaney

Below is an extract from Laurel Delaney’s book “Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably.” This book was published in December 2013 and is available for purchase online. If you would like to find out more about the author, the book, or about exporting in general, Laurel’s blog is an excellent source of information.... Read more »

planning
Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably - Laurel Delaney

Thinking About Exporting? Let’s Examine Your Export Business Plan

by Laurel Delaney

“The plan is useless. But planning is essential.” Former President Dwight Eisenhower said that. Planning is a process, setting concrete milestones and tracking progress, with frequent review and revisions. But you can’t do planning without starting with a plan.” —Tim Berry, founder, Bplans.com Below is an extract from Laurel Delaney’s book “Exporting: The Definitive Guide... Read more »

planning

How to Delegate Effectively and Find More Time For Yourself

by Arlene Soto

How can I feel more comfortable delegating important tasks to my employees? Delegating tasks to others allows time for you to manage your business, and relieves the pressure of having to do everything. Effective delegation increases the productive output of the company, and allows the organization to prosper. It also helps motivate and develop leadership... Read more »

planning

5 Simple Steps for Better Management

by Tim Berry

This article was originally published on SBA.gov. It’s been republished here with permission. Good news: Here is a simple process, with five easy steps, that will help improve your business. It’s easy to do and if you’re not doing something like it already, then this simple addition to your process will offer you substantial business... Read more »

planning

What is a Product Life Cycle?

by Arlene Soto

The life cycle of a product is associated with marketing and management decisions within businesses, and all products go through five primary stages: development, introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Each stage has its costs, opportunities, and risks, and individual products differ in how long they remain at any of the life cycle stages. 1. Development... Read more »

planning
How to Write a Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan

by Noah Parsons

You’ve reviewed what a business plan is, and why you need one to start and grow your business. It’s time to dig into the process of actually writing a business plan. In this step-by-step guide, I’ll take you through every stage of writing a business plan that will actually help you achieve your goals. Whether... Read more »

planning
The cast of "Silicon Valley". Image credit: HBO

Why Even Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Need a Business Plan

by Noah Parsons

Silicon Valley is a crazy place. I’ve lived and worked there, first through the late 90s and the dot-com bubble while I worked at Yahoo!, and then again helping to start a company that eventually got bought by eBay. As the dot-com bubble was bursting, I left to work in the U.K. and founded a... Read more »