October 01, 2014 Starting and Managing a Small Business

Think of this section of your business plan as a snapshot you can show to others to give them an understanding of who you are and what you’re all about. What do you do? How are you different from other businesses? What niche does your product or service fill? It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it should be well-thought out to present you in the best light while being as accurate as possible.

Some specifics to include:

Company Name

The official legal name of your business.

Business Structure

Are you a sole proprietorship, limited liability corporation, partnership or corporation?

Ownership or Management Team

Who are the key players? What makes them (or you) qualified to run your business?

Location

Where are you headquartered?

Company History

When and where were you founded? What inspired you to come up with the idea for your business?

Mission Statement

What is the purpose of your company? What need does your product or service fill?

Products or Services

What, exactly, are you making or selling, or what service are you providing?

Target Market

Who are you selling to? Who are the customers, organizations, or other businesses that your company will serve?

Competitive Advantages 

What separates you from the competition? What is it about you that will make your business a success? Why will people want to do business with you?

Objectives

What would you like to accomplish in the immediate future, and what are your longer-term goals?

Vision Statement  

What does the future of your company look like? How will you craft your vision statement?

 

Now that you have some ideas of the substance, think about the style. Even though the purpose of the company description is to give basic information about your business, it’s an opportunity to promote yourself and explain why you’re worth loaning money to or being involved with.

If you had just a few moments with a potential customer or investor, what would you tell them about your business? Start with an elevator pitch—a quick, few sentence description that captures all the important information about your company, along with your passion for what you’re doing.

Some of what you’ll want to say about the company will be covered in other sections of the business plan, so keep this part more of an overview.

Let your passion shine. When you share the story about why you started your company and what keeps you motivated, it helps you stand out from the crowd and gives your plan a personal touch. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to let your excitement show and draw the reader in. Make them look forward to reading the rest of the plan.

That said, don’t get carried away. It may be hard to find the balance between brevity and excitement about all you are doing and all you have planned, but it’s important to do so. Get an editor that you trust to make sure you’ve kept a professional tone yet conveyed the essence of what differentiates your business from others.

Editing is important. You may tackle the company description first when writing your plan, then find you cover a lot of the information in greater depth as you go along. Definitely plan to read and re-read what you’ve written, and cut out any unnecessary or duplicate information.

If possible, proofreading is even more important than editing! Few things will have someone take you less seriously than typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. This advice covers more than just the company description portion of your business plan, of course. Make sure your business plan presents you in the best light, not just as far as content is concerned, but how it’s written, as well.

To sum up, the company description is the basic introduction to your business. If someone reads only this part of your plan, they should be able to get what you’re trying to accomplish.

 

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