Let's get down to the business of writing a business plan. There are a myriad of resources to help you with the process-each of them containing basically the same information with slightly different styles and formats. However, not every part of the typical introductory business plan may be necessary for a fabrication business that is already established. That being said, it is important for you to decide what aspects are suitable for your needs based on the intended audience of your plan.
Make the first plan your own
The book How to Write a Business Plan by Mike McKeever, offers two routes: the comprehensive plan and the "quick plan," which can be completed in one day. The quick plan will come in handy if you choose to write a preliminary plan for yourself, as recommended by several experts.
"The first business plan you write should be for nobody but yourself," says Norm Bodsky in his book Due Diligence. He says the main idea of this first plan is to spell out as clearly as possible how you think the business works, and to test your assumptions before you present this plan to anyone else. This will help you keep mistakes and unrealistic expectations to a minimum.
Just going through the process of creating a business plan for yourself and putting it on paper is a big help for those running the business. Many people that run smaller companies only give attention to solving problems as they come up, but thinking through potential hurdles can be of real benefit. Putting your business plan down in writing will also help you notice problems with your plan, as poor logic is more easily identified when it is in writing.
Any plan you eventually end up with is never really "final." Business conditions are constantly changing, and new opportunities are always presenting themselves. You can and should review and improve your plan to maximize its effectiveness as a guide for your business. Just having a plan should help you make better decisions when you are forced to deviate from it, as you will look at changes in the context of the plan and be less likely to make knee-jerk decisions.
"Writing a plan allows you to see how changing parts of the plan increase profits or accomplish goals," says McKeever. "You can tinker with individual parts of your business with no cash outlay."
That said, you will eventually want to write a full-blown plan. While we can't provide a comprehensive description (there are whole books on the subject!), there are some steps that will help you through the process.
According to The Instant Business Plan: Twelve Quick and Easy Steps to a Successful Business by Gustav Berle, Ph.D. and Paul Kirschner, the introduction contains three elements: the cover letter, the cover sheet and the table of contents.
The cover letter should include the highlights of your introduction, which should touch on the most important points of the plan, giving the reader an idea of what they are about to get into.