From the Publisher
It has often been said that, "You can run your business by the seat of your pants--but you will probably end up with torn pants." One of the principal reasons for business failure is the lack of an adequate business plan. In today's world, both small and large businesses have come to understand that they need to take the time to evaluate their business potential and map a plan for the future. It is also understood that lenders and investors no longer risk their money on a business unless they have good reason to think that it will be successful (i.e., profitable).
It is the goal of this book to give you a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand process to follow as you develop your business plan. I have been working with business owners for many years and most of them have the same problem--they are experts in their industries, but are novices when it comes to business planning. In fact, many times, the prospect of writing a business plan is so formidable that business owners avoid it until it becomes a requirement for one reason or another.
I, on the other hand, am not an expert in your industry. My job is to guide you step-by-step through the business planning process. If I am successful, you can follow that process, apply your industry expertise, and write a winning business plan for your company.
Who is this book for? I frequently get asked if Anatomy of a Business Plan is appropriate for a big business or a tiny business--a start-up business or an existing business--high tech or low tech--a business seeking funding or a business looking for an internal planning tool--a product business or a service business--a restaurant or a technology business--a sole proprietorship or a corporation--or a division within a company. The answer is that it is the right book for all of the above. No matter who you are, the business planning process is the same.
It is your focus that differs. If you are a smaller business and your business plan is intended only for internal use, your plan may be shorter and you may choose to address only certain issues. On the other hand, if your business is larger and more complex, you will probably need to put key people to work on the development of a more critical business plan that will be in keeping with your company vision.
If you need funding, you will have to consider the goals of the lender or investor and address those issues. If you are a new business, you will only have projections. If you are an existing business, you will also have historical information. If you are a pure service business, you have no cost of goods. If you are a product business, you do. If you are high tech or low tech, the process is still the same. The variable is how you focus on your specific industry.
The simplification of your business planning task has always been the primary goal of Anatomy of a Business Plan. In order to get the most out of the book and to make your job easier, I would suggest that the first thing you do is read the book to give you a general overview of the format and content. After reading, you will be ready to begin working your way through the actual business planning process.
Example Business Plans
In the back of the book (Appendix I, II, III, and IV) you will find four full-length business plan examples that are for four different kinds of business. All four were written by the business owners and/or consultants they worked with. The common tools that they used were Anatomy of a Business Plan and its companion software, Automate Your Business Plan.
* Marine Art of California is a start-up product business. The plan is for a sole proprietorship dealing in fine art pieces. The owner is seeking short-time limited partners and plans to recapture 100% ownership within about four years. We have added a possible one-year history for this business to show what might have happened during its first year.
* Dayne Landscaping, Inc. is a one-year-old landscaping and snow removal (service) business. It is a small corporation, seeking to expand into new territories. Dayne Landscaping, Inc. is planning to seek funding from a traditional lending institution (bank).
* Wholesale Mobile Homes.com, Inc. is a dot.com bricks and clicks start-up corporation planning to go after $10 million in venture capital. Because the business is more complex and is seeking venture capital, the executive summary, and the organizational and marketing plans are researched more heavily and written in more detail.
* Karma Jazz Café is an upscale restaurant that is scheduled to open in early 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the owner's second location of the same restaurant. The first Karma Jazz Café is in Atlanta, GA and is successfully up and running. The newest restaurant is considered to be a start-up business, but is patterned on and utilizes projected and historical financial information and other knowledge gained from the Atlanta location.
The interesting thing about the four plans is that they were researched and written by different people. As you read them, you will find that each of the writers brings something new and different into the planning process that will prove valuable to you in your own efforts.
Thank you again for choosing Anatomy of a Business Plan to help you accomplish your goal. I appreciate your confidence in Anatomy of a Business Plan and wish you success in the writing of your business plan!