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The basics of writing your business plan

Start your business right with a proper business plan
By Jose Galang |

Having a business plan is also an ideal way to start a business, for it means you\\\'re not leav­ing anything to chance, and it would also in­crease the odds of you landing an investor or a lender, who always looks at this document to see how viable it would be in the long run.


In your business plan, you will be mapping out your company\\\'s direction, brand values, iden­tity, and more important, how it will operate to give it a good fighting chance of succeeding against its more entrenched rivals. And with a realistic and well thought out business plan in your arsenal, along with an inspiring vision statement, a catchy business name, and a good location, half the battle is already won.


Naming a company

Before you sit down to write your busi­ness plan, you have to choose a suitable name for the company you\\\'re going to put up. This is the name you will constantly be referring to when you begin piecing your busi­ness plan together. Aside from your company name, you may also find the need to come up with a separate name for your product, which will be your brand name.



How do businesses get their names? There are as many ways of naming a business as there are a myriad reasons for putting one up. It is not uncommon to hear entrepreneurs nam­ing their companies after their surnames, their children\\\'s first names, or those of other close relatives.


Indeed, select­ing the right name for your new busi­ness, according to the Department of Trade and Industry, is "extremely im­portant because it distinguishes your products and services from those of your competitors, and helps to establish your identity in the marketplace." Under the Business Name Law, new businesses must register their identity with the DTI.


And the name you choose should describe the nature of your business. You cannot use business names that are identical with those already registered with the DTI or with oth­er government agencies such as the Securi­ties and Exchange Commission, and the De­partment of Labor and Employment.



Also not acceptable to the DTI are business names "which are or whose nature of business is ille­gal, offensive, scandalous, or contrary to propri­ety; names composed of purely generic words; names which by law or regulation cannot be appropriated; names or styles used by the gov­ernment in its governmental functions."


Making a business plan

Once you\\\'ve decided on an appropriate name for your company and brand, it is time to draw up a business plan. Don\\\'t let the act of putting everything on paper intim­idate you. For all the technical terms you will encounter, what you will create is essentially a road map that will guide you in your pursuit of your dream business. You will be outlining cer­tain strategies and objectives, list down resources, including capital and fixed assets, and iden­tifying the best methods for your company to become viable and generate your desired prof­its.



Business plan format

Business plans can vary significantly in shape and form, although there are a few common elements you must not omit: a vision statement; a profile of your business, your products and key people; a de­scription of the economic environment and how you intend to steer your op­erations through possible turbulence; a marketing plan and eval­uation of competition; and a budget, including a cash flow assessment


Here are some useful guides to preparing the different sections of your business plan:


1. The Mission Statement

 A brief statement of the purpose of your business and its goals, including the business concept you plan to adopt. Try to keep the goals realistic so as not to put the document under a cloud of doubt with the reader, who could be a potential investor or lender.


2. Executive Summary

 A concise brief of the plan\\\'s crucial contents. This section encapsulates your entire business plan and is designed for people who may not have the time to go over the entire document, but are most likely the ones who should be informed about business. The executive summary is usually written last, after the entire document is completed.


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