Guide to Preparing a Business Plan
The International Imaging Technology Council, Inc. Las Vegas, Nevada
Chip Beziat, Ph.D.
There are many reasons to prepare a business plan. The most frequent purposes for which a business plan is written are to: • • • • Test the feasibility of an idea for a business, Plan a business start up, Plan significant changes in an existingbusiness model, or Submit to lenders and/or investors.
Plans for each of these purposes contain the same or similar sections. They differ more in the details provided in specific sections. The emphasis in a plan submitted to a lender and/or investors would focus more on financial aspects than would a plan an owner might create to change a business model. That plan might focus more onpersonnel, location, target markets and sales plans. Here is a method and an outline to use in developing a general business plan that can be customized to specific purposes. References to sources which discuss plan customization also will be provided.
SECTION I: Your Mission Statement
What is a Mission Statement? A mission statement is a concisely worded paragraph, describing the purpose andvision for which the company has been created. When someone calls the Int’l ITC, we may ask, “What kind of business do you have?” If a caller responds, “Oh, I resell ink cartridges in Cleveland,” and then becomes silent, that is an indication of an inability to adequately describe the business and its purpose. The owner should be able to give a fuller description of the nature and mission of hisbusiness. Examples of company missions include these well-known slogans: “To place a personal computer in every home and office in the world”—Apple Computer’s mission. “Beat Coke!”—Pepsi’s two-word slogan. “To democratize the automobile”—Original mission of the Ford Motor Company. “To make people happy” –Disney Company’s vision. “To be the company most known for changing the worldwide poor qualityimage of Japanese products”—SONY’s mission. 2
“To preserve and improve human life”—Merck Pharmaceuticals’s purpose. “To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich folk”—WalMart’s vision. “To give unlimited opportunities to women”— Mary Kay Cosmetics’ mission. These are the core reasons that founders created some of the greatest and most successful corporations in history.By examining the statements and then seeing what these companies have become, it is clear that they are remarkably on target! What might be the mission statement of the caller who said that his business “resells ink cartridges?” Would it be something like this? To be just another marginal company reselling Asian office products until another opportunity comes along or we go out of business. Howto Prepare a Mission Statement When a mission statement is being prepared, here are a few hints that may help: Avoid “buzz-words.” They are used for a time and then vanish. Most people using them have no idea what they really mean. Select simple words and phrases that everyone will understand. Keep the mission statement short and simple enough that it can easily be memorized. Do not emulatePepsi’s two-word slogan. It is a company in a unique position within a specific industry. Make the statement long enough so that it cannot be used for a bumper sticker. Do not load it down with details which quickly may become obsolete. Experiment with different possibilities on a sheet of paper; then write the preferred one below. This is all the space that should be necessary for a missionstatement. Mission Statement Our company’s mission is to: ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________
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