Real Small Business
Financials are used to document, justify, and convince. This is the section in which you make your case in words and back up what you say with financial statements and forms that document the viability of your business and its soundness as an investment. It's also where you indicate that you have evaluated the risks associated with your venture. If you are writing a plan for investors, include the following sections:
Even if your plan will be used only as a road map for your business development, you still should create a cash flow statement and an income statement so you have figures by which you can gauge your company's performance.
No business is without risks. Your ability to identify and discuss them demonstrates your skills as a manager and increases your credibility with potential investors. You will show that you've taken the initiative to confront these issues and are capable of handling them. The opposite is also true. Should a potential investor discover any unstated negative factors, it will undermine the credibility of your plan and endanger your chances of gaining financing or other support.
The following list of problems is by no means complete, but should give you an idea of some possibilities.
Cash Flow Statement
A cash flow statement shows readers of your business plan how much money you will need, when you will need it, and where the money will come from. In general terms, the cash flow statement looks at cash and sources of revenue minus expenses and capital requirements to derive a net cash flow figure. A cash flow statement provides a glimpse of how much money a business has at any given time and when it is likely to need more cash. Analyze the results of the cash flow statement briefly and include this analysis in your business plan.
Unlike other financial statements a balance sheet is created only once a year to calculate the net worth of a business. If your business plan is for a start-up business, you will need to include a personal balance sheet summarizing your personal assets and liabilities. If your business exists already, include past years' balance sheets up to the balance sheet from your last reporting period. Analyze the results of the balance sheet briefly and include this analysis in your business plan.
The income statement is where you make a case for your business' potential to generate cash. This document is where you record revenue, expenses, capital, and cost of goods. The outcome of the combination of these elements demonstrates how much money your business made or will make, or lost or will lose, during the year. An income statement and a cash flow statement differ in that an income statement does not include details of when revenue was collected or expenses paid.
An income statement for a business plan should be broken out by month the first year. The second year can be broken down quarterly, and annually for each year after. Analyze the results of the income statement briefly and include this analysis in your business plan. If your business already exists, include income statements for previous years.
Funding Request and Return
State the amount of funding and the type (debt or equity) of investment you seek. It is important here to provide a breakdown of how the money will be applied. Discuss what effect the capital will have on the business' potential to grow and profit, when the money is needed, and what investment has already been made in the company.
Investors will also want to know what they will receive in return for their capital. Be as clear as you can in this section both about the potential upside and the potential downside of investing in your business. A common mistake in a business plan is to be unclear in this section, which turns potential investors away. If the company founders have invested in the company, include this in your plan. Some investors are encouraged by founders putting their own money on the line.
Finally, create an exit plan that describes how investors will get their money out of your company. One common investor worry is that even if a business is profitable, it may be difficult for them to get a good price for their shares. A cash-out option in five years or assurance that the company will become a strong candidate for a purchase or an IPO (Initial Public Offering) are what many venture capitalists and lenders will insist upon.
Include the following elements as appropriate:
Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.
Small Business Guide
- Starting Up Your Business
- Structuring The Business
- Creating a Business Plan
- Your Company's Public Relations
- Effective Competitive Analysis
- Managing Purchasing to Maximize Cash Flow
- Bidding Basics
- Hiring Staff
- Small Business Insurance
- Small Business Resources
- Vacations and Taking Time Off
- Preparing for Tax Season
- Cash Flow
- Your Company's Credit
- Getting Funding
- Employee Compensation