10 critical questions for a business plan

What will cause gross and operating margins to improve as volume increases or decreases? Organizations must track data about quality, customer needs, delivery times and other non-financial information that often is predictive of financial results.

Do I possess the high level of energy that is sustainable over long hours?

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Also on the SCORE site, you will find articles written by industry experts and successful small business owners.

What is the length of the sales cycle? An effective business plan should spell out those reasons and develop strategies to make the most of them. To succeed, you have to give customers good reasons to choose you over your competitors.

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The process of writing a business plan gives you an opportunity to be far more honest and thorough in your assessment. Its success is measured in terms of filling seats for its concerts and providing local musicians a chance to play. They will fork over the dollars if you fill their need or want.

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Include a calendar of events in your specific industry or some data that will be useful to potential clients in the future. How will you reach your customers?

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From that information, derive a formula for the skills and traits you plan to incorporate into the business operation. Who will you need to hire? There are many web sites and other resources including SCORE offices and Business Information Centers that provide guidelines and worksheets to help determine costs for your business. No one else knows your business idea and goals better. Build a better mousetrap, the saying goes, and the world will beat a path to your door. Develop a positive business relationship with your bank. Preparing the plan forces the writer to consider all aspects of the business and to confront any problems the plan highlights. What does your business need to get off the ground? What is the earnings multiple of public companies like yours?

Otherwise, people will never know who you are.

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Top 10 Questions Every Business Plan Should Answer