What business will you be in?
What will you do?
Describe your industry?
To whom will you market and sell your products?
Where you want your business to be in six months, one year and two years?
Describe your most important company strengths and core competencies. What
factors will make the company succeed?
What do you think your major competitive strengths will be?
What background experience, skills, and strengths do you personally bring to the
Describe in depth your products or services.
What are the pricing, fee, or leasing structures of your products or services?
List all of your major products or services.
Identify your targeted customers, their characteristics, and their geographic
locations, otherwise known as their demographics.
What products and companies will compete with you?
List your major competitors.
How will your products or services compare with the competition?
How will you get the word out to customers?
Advertising: What media, why, and how often? Why this mix and not some other?
Have you identified low-cost methods to get the most out of your promotional
In addition to advertising, what plans do you have for graphic image support?
This includes things like logo design, cards and letterhead, brochures, signage,
and interior design (if customers come to your place of business).
How much will you spend on the items listed above?
Explain your method or methods of setting prices.
Compare your prices with those of the competition. Are they higher, lower, the
Describe the following:
Licensing and bonding requirements
Health, workplace, or environmental regulations
Special regulations covering your industry or profession
Zoning or building code requirements
Number of employees
Type of labor (skilled, unskilled, and professional)
Where and how will you find the right employees?
Quality of existing staff
Training methods and requirements
Who does which tasks?
I. Management and Organization
Who will manage the business on a day-to-day basis? What experience does
that person bring to the business?
Brochures and advertising materials
Blueprints and plans
Maps and photos of location
Magazine or other articles
Detailed lists of equipment owned or to be purchased
Copies of leases and contracts
For Raising Capital
What initial capital do you have?
Amount of loan
How the funds will be used
What this will accomplish—how will it make the business stronger?
Requested repayment terms (number of years to repay). You will probably
not have much negotiating room on interest rate but may be able to
negotiate a longer repayment term, which will help cash flow.
Collateral offered, and a list of all existing liens against collateral
Service businesses sell intangible products. They are usually more flexible
than other types of businesses, but they also have higher labor costs and
generally very little in fixed assets.
What are the key competitive factors in this industry?
Methods used to set prices
Sales projections and funding required
System of production management
Once you answer all of these questions, you just might be ready to get started in your new venture. Tell me what you think? Are there any questions on my list that you wished you had asked yourself in the beginning? Did I miss any questions?
- Frances Harder