Sample Business Plans:
How (and How NOT) to Use Them
How to Use a Sample Plan
The outline of a business plan is relatively standard, and any good sample plan can demonstrate this outline in action. Within each section, you will also develop a sense of what the content should be. Industry analysis, for example, is not simply analysis for its own sake. It is tailored toward describing the attractiveness of the industry and market for your business to enter. This should be apparent in a sample plan.
In the narrative of the sample plan you should have a good model for how you should attempt to be both detailed and concise at the same time. Unnecessary or redundant information should be eliminated wherever possible. However, the plan should go beyond mundane generalities which are true of all businesses in your industry.
How Not To a Sample Plan
Do not attempt to simply copy language or financials from another plan if they don't make sense for your business. This will be easily apparent to funders reading the plan and you will be unlikely to hear back from them if they feel you are wasting their time. While the industry analysis for a sample plan of the same industry may be useful, you should check all references and update the information to show your understanding of the latest statistics and trends. The competitor section must focus specifically on competitors you face in your local market, and these cannot be fabricated or copied from the sample plan.
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