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This is a guest post from Carol Chevereau, Founder of Plan d’Affaires C.C.
, a company that helps write and edit business plans and also provides strategic business planning consultations. This article originally appeared in LORI.

This is it, today you are throwing yourself completely in. You have your business idea, the motivation, the energy and the wherewithal to launch a successful company. There’s nothing left, except… the financial backing. Before entering a marathon for applications to scholarships, grants, loans and finding investors you will need your business plan. OK, that sounds great, but where to start?

The foundations of your business must be identified before beginning to write your plan. Grab the writing tool of your choice and answer the following questions, which I ask to all of my clients:

1 ) In one sentence, describe the purpose of your project and your company.

2 ) Who will own the company and how will the shares be divided?

3 ) How many employees will the company need upon launching?

4 ) What is the industry sector of your company?

5 ) What makes your business stand out in comparison to similar companies?

6 ) Where will the company operate?

7 ) What are the basic products and services that your business offers?

8 ) What is your price positioning? (Low, Medium or High End)

9 ) How will you market your business? (organizing promotional events or all other types of original advertising)

10 ) What are the major stages that will contribute to the of growth of your company? (be brief and determine the major changes that you envision within the first 5 years of running your company)

11 ) How will you procure inventory?

12 ) Make a very basic floor plan of your business, if applicable. (More important in the retail and food & beverage industries)

13 ) What materials does the company need to begin its activities?

14 ) What materials can you presently provide for your company?

15 ) What is the revenue you aim to achieve from now to the next 5 years, and the profit?

Any good business plan must clearly answer these questions. If possible, answer in a concise bullet format. At this step in writing your business plan, you must be brief and not delve too far into detail. When you will have finished this exercise, you will have a better idea as what your company will need and therefore a direction in which to guide your hard work.

One last piece of advice, do not take these ideas as a definitive guide. You will surely have to adjust your strategy while writing your business plan in consequence to your unique research.

Now you can begin!

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