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Feb 26, 2010
Writing Your Business Plan
by: Kris

Hello Helen:

Yes, unfortunately writing your business plan typically requires a lot of business financial information, as well as projections.

You are right to question how much information you need to provide: it is usually dependent upon what you want to do with the business plan. Is it a plan that you will present to a financial lender? If so, yes you need to provide that information. Is it a plan for you to manage the business - then you might not want to (or need to) provide all of the requested information and details.

Have you had the individual or company that is helping you produce your business plan sign a confidentiality agreement? (You wouldn't want them to take your information and use it as an example or for whatever other purpose they might have.) You should have them sign a confidentiality agreement regardless of how much information you give them to do the plan - they are receiving information that is private to you and your business.

Bankers (or other financial lenders) want access to historical information to see not only how profitable your business is, but if you've reinvested in the company, and if your business plan is a viable one. The questions related to expenses (past, present, future) are usually related to preparing a cash flow statement and projection. I would ask the person who is doing this for you to provide you with a list of what he/she will have in the plan (a table of contents and/or outputs in other words). Then get them to match the requests for information with the table of contents: e.g. the cash flow statements will require access to information on incoming revenue and outgoing expenses (by category), and so on.

Writing your business plan takes a lot of time and effort - both on your contractor's part and your part ? the more information you can provide, the better your plan is likely to be.

Good luck with writing your business plan, and with your business! Kris Bovay, More For Small Business

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