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Business Plan Toolkit, Part 3 of 3


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Using Library Resources to Create a Winning Business Plan

Part 3: Gain executive perspective by learning to research your industry; then work on developing your financial plan.

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Business Plan Toolkit, Part 3 of 3

  1. 1. RESEARCHING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA Part III: Researching Your Industry and Financial Plan
  2. 2. In This Class You Will Learn…  Why you should follow industry news and trends  How to follow your industry using library resources  How to most effectively follow your industry online  What is a financial plan and why your business needs one  How to research your financial plan using library resources  Business plans wrap-up
  3. 3. Why follow industry news? Entrepreneurs are busy enough and dedicating time to following industry trends and news may seem unrealistic. However, staying informed can provide real benefits, allowing you to…  React well to new trends and upcoming changes  Get out in front of your competition
  4. 4. Mini Case Study: Green Business The impact of environmental awareness on business is everywhere. Entrepreneurs who anticipated the trend were able to position themselves well. For example:  The appliance dealer or window installer who was ready to help customers take advantage of high efficiency and Energy Star tax breaks  The pizza shop offering whole wheat pizza dough and toppings made with organic veggies and free-range animals before the competition  The Caterer who offers to recycle all trash and compost leftovers for a carbon-neutral wedding reception
  5. 5. Staying Informed At the library:  Search for industry and trade articles using the Business Insights database, which provides full-text articles from over 3,500 periodicals, newsletters and other publications.  Search for other industry and trade articles using the databases Business Abstracts with Full Text and RDS Business and Industry on the Web
  6. 6. Staying Informed ReferenceUSA OneSource is available on the database page of the library’s website : Follow the ReferenceUSA link and choose OneSource on the next page. Refer to your handout “Accessing Electronic Resources From Home,” to learn how to access this resource.
  7. 7. Staying Informed Using the web effectively:  Join a listserv for industry news delivered to your email (check Yahoo Groups or Google Groups for lists to join).  Consider setting up a Feedly account to get RSS feeds of the most useful sites and blogs  Consider joining Twitter  Network with other people and organizations by becoming active on social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn.
  8. 8. Your Financial Plan “It's at the end of your business plan, but the financial plan section is the section that determines whether or not your business idea is viable, and is a key component in determining whether or not your business plan is going to be able to attract any investment in your business idea.” -- Susan Ward, “Writing the Business Plan,”
  9. 9. Your Financial Plan  The financial plan takes into account all the costs of doing business on a monthly basis and shows how much money you will need to earn to be profitable.  Your plan should include startup costs and operating expenses.
  10. 10. Your Financial Plan Startup costs may include: Business registration fees, licensing and permits, starting inventory, rent deposits, down payments on property and equipment, utility set up fees, etc. Operating expenses may include: Salaries for yourself and your staff, rent or mortgage, utilities, raw materials, promotion, loan payments, office supplies, maintenance, etc.
  11. 11. Your Financial Plan Once you determine your operating expenses, add them up. Multiply by 6 or 12 for a 6 month or one year projection. Add this figure to your startup costs. This is a ballpark figure for what it will cost to get your business off the ground.
  12. 12. Your Financial Plan The financial plan section of your business plan will include at least three parts. 1. Income Statement 2. Cash Flow Projection 3. Balance Sheet To generate this information you will have to estimate what your monthly revenue or sales will be.
  13. 13. Your Financial Plan Income Statement  Revenue – Expenses = Profit/loss for a particular period of time (usually monthly) Cash Flow Projection  Shows how much cash revenue you receive and how much you will have to payout with the cash you have on hand in a given month. In other words, if all your bills came due this month, would you be able to pay them? This tells your loan officer whether or not your business is a good credit risk.
  14. 14. Your Financial Plan Balance Sheet  Shows all of your businesses assets and liabilities for a particular point in time.  The Balance Sheet will summarize all the information found in the Income Statement and Cash Flow Projection. Established businesses usually prepare a balance sheet once a year.
  15. 15. Your Financial Plan To create the best Financial Plan, look for examples:  Read example plans in the Gale Virtual Reference Library database (refer to slides from Part I of this series for access instructions).  You can also read sample financial ratios in the following reference texts (Visit the Free Library’s Business, Science & Industry Department for access)  Risk Management Association. “Annual Statement Studies: Financial Ratio Benchmarks, 2008-2009”. RMA: Philadelphia. 2009.  Troy, Leo. “Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios”. CCH: Chicago. 2009.
  16. 16. Your Financial Plan In addition to industry reports, ReferenceUSA OneSource also contains RMA Annual Statement Studies, which can help you with your Financial Plan.
  17. 17. Your Financial Plan  Ultimately, your financial plan will reflect the seriousness of the work you put into it. Consider speaking with a loan officer and a small business counselor about your plan.  Your financial plan is unique to your business. Library research and librarians will be able to offer only limited assistance.
  18. 18. Business Plan Wrap-up  Your business plan is unique to your business.  No one knows your business as well as you do.  The process of writing your business plan should force you to question your ideas. This process can make your business stronger.
  19. 19. Business Plan Wrap-up Finding help:  SCORE Philadelphia, “Counselors to America’s Small Business” offers one-on-one business counseling with a professional.  Pennsylvania’s Small Business Development Centers offer a variety of services to entrepreneurs including education, workshops, and information on funding.
  20. 20. Business Plan Wrap-up Slide presentations and handouts from this series of courses are available online: tag/business-plans
  21. 21. Contact Us Free Library of Philadelphia Business, Science & Industry Department 215-686-5394