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Checklist: How to Write a Business Plan

See also How to Not to Write a Business Plan

Links within the checklist relate to the Business Plan Guide

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How to Write a Business Plan
Preliminary Tasks Done
1. Complete market research and analyses
2. Clarify key matters relating to products/services and technology
3. Form the basis of the management team
4. Prepare a strategic plan as framework for detailed plan
5. Decide the central purpose of the plan and its target audience
6. Locate professional advisers to assist with the planning
7. Acquire any software tools needed to help prepare the plan
8. Research and compile a list of possible recipients of the plan
9. Ascertain any specific needs of likely key recipients
Writing the Plan Done
1. Create a framework for the plan e.g. table of contents
2. Identify possible appendices, attachments etc.
3. Estimate page lengths for each key section
4. List main issues and topics to be covered within key sections
5. Assign work programs based on the framework and lists
6. Draft preliminary sections (excluding summary) within the front of the plan
7. Draft all key sections in the plan's body in a logical sequence
8. Compile financial projections, funding proposals and related appendices
9. Check the preliminary draft for completeness and plug gaps
10. Stand back and take a detached overview of the draft
11. Let an outsider or adviser critique the latest draft
12. Redraft, fine tune and spell check
13. Write the executive summary and plan's conclusion
14. Get an independent assessment of the final draft
Reviewing the Plan OK
1. Is the plan nicely presented - bound, page numbered etc.?
2. Has the plan been spell checked in its final form?
3. Is the plan's length appropriate to its purpose ?
4. Have the business's (funding) needs been clearly stated ?
5. Does the plan's summary stimulate interest ?
6. Have all key questions been anticipated ?
7. What likely objections remain unresolved ?
8. Will the plan provoke the desired responses?

Further guidance: Writing a Business Plan, Insights into Business Planning and Free-Plan.
For guidance on common mistakes, see the How NOT to Write a Business Plan checklist.

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