The business plan serves as both a vehicle to encourage investment, and as a roadmap for how to direct and manage the company. There are several good sources on how to write a business plan. One especially good source is the U.S. Small Business Administration website, which provided pertinent information used in preparing this chapter. Several elements required in the business plan are: Executive Summary provides an overview of the business, covering a brief history of the company, market opportunities, and goals and objectives (including financial objectives and needs). Background provides a more detailed view of the history of the company and its accomplishments. Mission provides a clear statement of the company's goals. Market Analysis defines the size and opportunities in the various addressable market segments and provides information on the competitive environment. Strategy defines how the marketplace will be addressed, defines the value proposition, and covers specific customer targets, strategic partnerships, and product migration. Sales provides sales forecasts and describes the selling organization as well as channels of distribution. Technology Overview provides a description of proprietary technology, including intellectual property that is the basis for product differentiation, and covers any licensing agreements. Manufacturing lays out critical aspects of the fabrication process, including internal versus outsourced manufacturing, and discusses capacity, capital equipment needs, manpower loading, manufacturing-engineering efforts for cost reduction, and the quality program. Organization and Team provides an organizational chart showing how the company is structured, with background information on key staff members. Risk Assessment defines and evaluates the degree of each risk and threat that the company may face. Financial Analysis covers the financial aspects of the business plan, including profitability, cash flow, break-even analysis, cash needs and use of capital. Funding Request identifies the level of investment and how funds will be used. Summary is a brief overview of the business plan in a much shorter format than the executive summary.
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