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This section can also highlight the strengths of your business and focus on what sets your business apart from your competition.
[Back to top] Now that you’ve written your business plan, here are some tips to help your hard work stand out: Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well.
Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.
Appendix Business plan tips and resources This is the first page of your business plan.
» MORE: Best loans for working capital [Back to top] Here, you’ll list your business’s legal structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — as well as key employees, managers or other owners of the business.
[Back to top] List any supporting information or other additional information that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts, and personal and business credit history.
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If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.
“It’s OK to be optimistic if you can justify it,” Allen says.
“In general, you don’t want to stand out in a negative way by being too optimistic.” You want to show that your business can generate strong enough cash flow to cover the regular debt payments on a loan.
If you’re applying for a loan or looking for investors, a business plan shows you’re prepared and have fully vetted your business idea, says Craig Allen, a financial advisor who teaches business plan writing classes at Southern New Hampshire University. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity presented and how the loan or investment will grow your company.
“If you have no financial forecast, which is part of the business plan, it’s very difficult to show the bank how you are going to repay the loan,” Allen says. For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch the new product and increase its sales by 50% over the next three years.