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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

business plan technical terms

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

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Technology Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Technology Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your own Technology business plan.

We have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their Technology businesses.

Technology Business Plan Example & Template

Below is a Technology business plan template and sample to help you create each section of your own business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

Kearney Tech Inc., located in Houston, Texas is a tech startup that focuses on developing and commercializing new artificial intelligence (AI) technology applications designed for small-to-medium sized businesses. The company has created proprietary technology that helps businesses improve their profitability by using AI to increase customer engagement. We offer multiple products, including AI hardware, marketing AI software, and CRM AI software. Many of our most basic services are free, but the rest can be accessed by paying a subscription fee. By providing flexible and affordable subscription options for our clients, Kearney Tech Inc. aims to be the next big technology company in the AI space for small and medium-sized businesses.

Kearney Tech Inc. was founded and is led by Abigail Kearney. Abigail has been a senior software engineer for nearly 10 years and has extensive experience in artificial intelligence and machine learning. In addition to her experience, she has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA. Her education and experience are sure to lead Kearney Tech Inc. to success.

Product Offering

Kearney Tech Inc. will showcase a variety of different applications for its AI technology that companies can utilize to increase their customer engagement from day one. Businesses can choose the platform package that works for them, based on a freemium subscription pricing structure.

The following are the services that Kearney Tech Inc. will provide:

  • AI Hardware
  • Marketing AI Software
  • Customer Relationship Management AI Software
  • Customer Support AI Software
  • Technology Training: Training sessions on how to use our AI solutions and integrate them into their businesses

Customer Focus

Kearney Tech Inc. will serve small to medium-sized businesses within a 30-mile radius of Houston, Texas. Many of the businesses in our target demographic are startups looking to expand their reach and thus would benefit from technology that can increase their customer base.

Management Team

Kearney Tech Inc. will also employ an experienced assistant to work as a business analyst and help with various administrative duties around the office. She will also hire several developers, salesmen, and other administrative staff to assist her.

Success Factors

Kearney Tech Inc. will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Management: Abigail Kearney has been extremely successful working in the technology industry and will be able to use her previous experience to provide the best service experience. Her unique qualifications will serve customers in a much more sophisticated manner than Kearney Tech Inc.’s competitors.
  • Relationships: Abigail Kearney knows many of the local leaders, business managers, and other influencers within Houston, Texas. With her 10 years of experience and good relationships with business leaders in the area, she will be able to develop an initial client base.
  • Proprietary technology : The company has developed proprietary AI technology that will be used to add new data sources, expand on valuable insights, launch advanced features like benchmarking, provide predictive and prescriptive analytics, and ensure self-guided data discovery.
  • Client-oriented service: Kearney Tech Inc. will have full-time customer service and sales managers to keep in contact with clients and answer their everyday questions.

Financial Highlights

Kearney Tech Inc. is seeking a total funding of $400,000 of debt capital to open its office. The funding will be dedicated to office design, software development, marketing, and working capital. Specifically, these funds will be used as follows:

  • Office design/build: $50,000
  • Software development: $150,000
  • Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $150,000
  • Marketing costs: $25,000
  • Working capital: $25,000

The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for Kearney Tech Inc.:

Technology Business Plan Template Financial Highlights

Company Overview

Who is kearney tech inc..

Abigail began researching what it would take to create her own technology company and did a thorough analysis of the costs, market, demographics, and competition. Abigail has compiled enough information to develop her business plan in order to approach investors.

Kearney Tech Inc.’s History

Once her market analysis was complete, Abigail Kearney began surveying the local vacant office space and located an ideal location to house the technology company. Abigail Kearney incorporated Kearney Tech Inc. as a Limited Liability Corporation in April 2023.

Since incorporation, the company has achieved the following milestones:

  • Located available office space for rent
  • Developed the company’s name, logo, and website
  • Determined equipment and necessary supplies
  • Began recruiting key employees

Kearney Tech Inc. Services

Industry analysis.

As of 2021, the global technology industry was valued at approximately $5.2T. Of all countries worldwide, the United States currently has the largest technology market, with 32% of the market share at $1.7T. The technology industry in the U.S. accounts for a large part of the nation’s economy.

The Information Technology market can be segmented by categories such as software, devices, infrastructure IT and business services, emerging technology, and telecom services. In the United States, IT and business services hold the greatest market share (30%), followed by software (20%) and telecom services (20%).

Market drivers include the economy, employment rates, and the digital transformation of daily life for a growing number of people and businesses worldwide. Corporations and organizations are seeking IT service providers that can help improve their software, cybersecurity, data, and infrastructure. Technology companies that can provide products and services that cater to these issues can be competitive in the constantly evolving market.

Technology is an integral part of society. Developments in AI and machine learning are essential to keep society moving forward and make businesses more efficient. Therefore, businesses will always be in need of AI solutions to bring in more customers and streamline their services and products. According to Market Watch, the Technology industry is set to grow at a CAGR of 25.73% from now until 2027. Very few industries see this growth, which shows how much demand there is for technological solutions. Therefore, we expect Kearney Tech Inc. to see great success in our local market.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

Kearney Tech Inc. will serve the small and medium-sized businesses of Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas.

Many small businesses in the community are startups or established enterprises looking to expand their reach and thus would benefit from technology that can increase their customer engagement.

Customer Segmentation

Kearney Tech Inc. will primarily target the following customer profiles:

  • Small businesses
  • Medium-sized businesses

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Kearney Tech Inc. will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.  

Tekuserv has been a reliable technology company in Houston, Texas for more than fifteen years. The company is known for its wide range of technology solutions that serve many small-to-medium-sized businesses. With its large number of experts focused on delivering customer satisfaction, the organization maintains its high standard of developing quality products and providing exceptional customer service. Tekuserv provides business software on a freemium subscription basis. It develops enterprise technology solutions with a focus on customer relationship management.  

Prime AI Business Solutions

Prime AI Business Solutions is a technology development company in Houston, Texas. In business for several years, the company has developed highly-rated AI solutions used by many well-known businesses in a variety of industries. Prime AI Business Solutions now offers a range of AI hardware and software products geared toward helping businesses of all sizes increase their customer base. The company has also introduced a “pay-as-you-grow” pricing model that scales to provide users with more support as they scale up.  

AICE Developments

AICE stands for Artificial Intelligence for Customer Engagement. AICE Developments is also a local technology company that manufactures and distributes a variety of technology products. AICE Developments was established in 2009 in Houston, Texas, providing integrated AI applications and platform services. Its products include applications and infrastructure offerings delivered through various IT deployment models, including on-premise deployments, cloud-based deployments, and hybrid deployments. The company serves automotive, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, retail, utilities, construction, etc. It provides AI solutions for enterprise marketing and customer engagement.

Competitive Advantage

Kearney Tech Inc. will be able to offer the following advantages over the competition:

  • Proprietary technology: The company has developed proprietary AI technology that will be used to add new data sources, expand on valuable insights, launch advanced features like benchmarking, provide predictive and prescriptive analytics, and ensure self-guided data discovery.

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

Kearney Tech Inc. will offer a unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Service built on long-term relationships
  • Big-firm expertise in a small-firm environment
  • Thorough knowledge of the clients and their varying needs
  • Proprietary technology developed by skilled software engineers

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for Kearney Tech Inc. is as follows:

Kearney Tech Inc. understands that the best promotion comes from satisfied customers. The company will encourage its clients to refer other businesses by providing economic or financial incentives for every new client produced. This strategy will increase in effectiveness after the business has already been established.

Social Media

Kearney Tech Inc. will invest heavily in a social media advertising campaign. The brand manager will create the company’s social media accounts and invest in ads on all social media platforms. It will use targeted marketing to appeal to the target demographics.

Website/SEO

Kearney Tech Inc. will invest heavily in developing a professional website that displays all of the features and benefits of the technology company. It will also invest heavily in SEO so that the brand’s website will appear at the top of search engine results.

Direct Mail

Kearney Tech Inc. will blanket businesses with direct mail pieces. These pieces will provide general information on Kearney Tech Inc., offer discounts, and/or provide other incentives for companies to use the AI platform.

Kearney Tech Inc.’s pricing will be on par with competitors so clients feel they receive great value when purchasing the technology.

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for Kearney Tech Inc.:

Operation Functions:

  • Abigail Kearney will be the Owner and CEO of the company. She will oversee all the operations and executive functions of the company. In the beginning, she will also provide customer support and market/sell AI products to potential clients.
  • Abigail will employ an experienced assistant to work as a business analyst and help with various administrative duties around the office.
  • Abigail will also hire several developers to maintain and develop AI products and services.
  • Abigail will also hire a solid sales team to sell our products to potential clients. As the company grows, she will also hire a team that is solely dedicated to customer service.

Milestones:

Kearney Tech Inc. will have the following milestones completed in the next six months.

5/2023 – Finalize lease agreement

6/2023 – Design and build out Kearney Tech Inc.

7/2023 – Hire and train initial staff

8/2023 – Kickoff of promotional campaign

9/2023 – Launch Kearney Tech Inc.

10/2023 – Reach break-even

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

Kearney Tech Inc.’s revenues will come primarily from its technology solution subscription sales. The company will use a freemium subscription model, in which basic functions can be used by any company for free. Additional solutions and support will be available in a tiered package model based on the enterprises’ size and the number of users.

The office lease, equipment, supplies, and labor expenses will be the key cost drivers of Kearney Tech Inc. Ongoing marketing expenditures are also notable cost drivers for Kearney Tech Inc.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

Key assumptions.

The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and pay off the startup business loan.

  • Average number of clients per month
  • Annual rent: $20,000

Financial Projections

Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, technology business plan faqs, what is a technology business plan.

A technology business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your technology business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections. You can easily complete your Technology business plan using our Technology Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of Technology Businesses?

There are a number of different kinds of technology businesses, some examples include: Network technology, Software technology, and Customer relationship technology.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Technology Business Plan?

Technology businesses are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.

What are the Steps To Start a Technology Business?

Starting a technology business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Technology Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed technology business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your technology business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your technology business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Technology Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your technology business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your technology business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.

7. Acquire Necessary Technology Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your technology business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation.

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your technology business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.

Learn more about how to start a successful Technology business: How to Start a Tech Company

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IT Services Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

information technology business plan

IT Services Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their IT companies.

If you’re unfamiliar with creating an IT business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For most entrepreneurs it is, but for you, it won’t be since we’re here to help. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.

In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write an IT business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What is an IT Services Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your IT business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan for IT Company

If you’re looking to start an IT business or grow your existing IT company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your IT business to improve your chances of success. Your IT business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for IT Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for an IT business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for IT companies.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for an it services business.

If you want to start an IT business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The guide below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your IT business plan.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of IT business you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have an IT business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of IT businesses?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.

  • Give a brief overview of the IT industry.
  • Discuss the type of IT business you are operating.
  • Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers.
  • Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team.
  • Offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Overview

In your company overview, you will detail the type of IT business you are operating.

For example, you might specialize in one of the following types of IT businesses:

  • Computer repair: This type of IT business provides computer maintenance and repair services.
  • Computer training: This type of IT professional specializes in teaching others how to use computers as well as various software and computer programs.
  • IT support: This type of IT professional provides services for businesses such as setting up a network, backing up data, and systems management.
  • Cloud computing: This type of IT specialist helps individuals and businesses establish cloud platforms and tools, or may help to migrate their information to the cloud.

In addition to explaining the type of IT business you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of new clients served, the number of repeat clients, reaching $X amount in revenue, etc.
  • Your legal business Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the IT industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the IT industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.

The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your IT business plan:

  • How big is the IT industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential target market for your IT business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your IT business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: individuals, schools, families, and corporations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of IT business you operate. Clearly, individuals would respond to different marketing promotions than corporations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other IT businesses.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. This includes other types of IT consultants, in-house IT support, or do-it-yourself IT tutorials. You need to mention such competition as well.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What type of IT business are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you make it easier for clients to acquire your product or service?
  • Will you offer products or services that your competition doesn’t?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For an IT business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of IT company that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide cloud computing, data center management, or network setup services?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your plan, you are presenting the products and/or services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the site of your IT company. Document where your company is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your IT business located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone office, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your IT marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertise in local papers, radio stations and/or magazines
  • Reach out to websites
  • Distribute flyers
  • Engage in email marketing
  • Advertise on social media platforms
  • Improve the SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for targeted keywords

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your IT business, including answering calls, meeting with new clients, billing and collecting payments from clients, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to acquire your Xth client, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your IT business to a new city.

Management Team

To demonstrate your IT business’ potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing IT businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing an IT business or successfully running a small IT consulting service.

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you charge your clients an hourly rate of $250 per hour, and will you work 5 hours per day? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your IT business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing an IT business:

  • Cost of equipment and office supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Other start-up expenses (if you’re a new business) like legal expenses, permits, computer software, and equipment

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or a list of your IT credentials.

Writing a business plan for your IT business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert on IT business planning. You will understand the IT industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful IT business.

IT Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my it services business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily write your IT services business plan.

How Do You Start an IT Services Business?

Starting an IT business is easy with these 14 steps:

  • Choose the Name for Your IT Business
  • Create Your IT Business Plan
  • Choose the Legal Structure for Your IT Business
  • Secure Startup Funding for Your IT Business (If Needed)
  • Secure a Location for Your Business
  • Register Your [Sector] Business with the IRS
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get a Business Credit Card
  • Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
  • Get Business Insurance for Your IT Business
  • Buy or Lease the Right IT Business Equipment
  • Develop Your IT Business Marketing Materials
  • Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your IT Business
  • Open for Business

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your IT business plan?

OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.   Click here to see how Growthink’s business plan services can give you a winning business plan.  

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

What is a business plan?

1. write an executive summary, 2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. summarize how your company operates, 10. add any additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them over the next three to five years. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan that will offer a strong, detailed road map for your business.

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness

A business plan is a document that explains what your business does, how it makes money and who its customers are. Internally, writing a business plan should help you clarify your vision and organize your operations. Externally, you can share it with potential lenders and investors to show them you’re on the right track.

Business plans are living documents; it’s OK for them to change over time. Startups may update their business plans often as they figure out who their customers are and what products and services fit them best. Mature companies might only revisit their business plan every few years. Regardless of your business’s age, brush up this document before you apply for a business loan .

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your business offers and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description. This should contain basic information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, write a little about the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

business plan technical terms

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the coming years.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain how the financing will help your business grow and how you plan to achieve those growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity your business presents to the lender.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch that new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

» MORE: How to write a successful business plan for a loan

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

Include details about your sales and distribution strategies, including the costs involved in selling each product .

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

Accounting software may be able to generate these reports for you. It may also help you calculate metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

Before the end of your business plan, summarize how your business is structured and outline each team’s responsibilities. This will help your readers understand who performs each of the functions you’ve described above — making and selling your products or services — and how much each of those functions cost.

If any of your employees have exceptional skills, you may want to include their resumes to help explain the competitive advantage they give you.

Finally, attach any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere. That might include:

Licenses and permits.

Equipment leases.

Bank statements.

Details of your personal and business credit history, if you’re seeking financing.

If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are some tips to write a detailed, convincing business plan:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business bank loan or professional investment, someone will be reading your business plan closely. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

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Full Scale

How to Write A Tech Startup Business Plan

Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a while, creating a tech startup business plan is valuable. It will help you clarify your idea, assess its feasibility, and determine what resources you need to make it a reality. Here are some tips on how to write a tech startup business plan to will help you get started.

What is a business plan, and why do you need one for your tech startup?

A business plan is a written document describing in detail how a business will achieve its goals. This document lays out a written plan from a marketing, financial, and operational standpoint. 

Sometimes, business plans are prepared for investors or as a requirement for a small business loan . But even if you don’t need outside funding, preparing a business plan is still a good exercise to ensure your ducks are all in one row. 

If you’re considering starting a tech startup, having a business plan helps you to stay on track. When you have an idea for a new tech product or service, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and overlook the importance of creating a solid foundation for your business. A solid business plan will allow you to take a step back and think critically about your concept. At the same time, you’ll perceive how your concept will be received by the marketplace. 

Furthermore, a good business plan keeps you focused on your goals and helps you track your progress as your tech startup grows. As your business evolves, you can refer back to your original business plan and adjust it accordingly. This document should be living and breathing, just like your tech startup. 

Elements of a good business plan

The contents of your tech startup business plan will vary depending on your company’s specific needs , but certain elements should always be present. Here are the five key elements that every good business plan includes.

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a brief overview of your business plan. It should include your company’s mission statement, a brief description of your products or services, an overview of your target market, a summary of your financial projections , and your goals for the next three to five years. 

Even though the executive summary should be the first section of your business plan document, it would be a good idea to write it last. This is because you’ll find all the important information from the other sections to complete the executive summary.

2. Company Description

The company description section of your business plan should provide an overview of your company’s history, mission statement, and core values. This section should also describe your company’s structure and how it will operate going forward. If you have any patents or proprietary technology, this is the place to mention it. 

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section of your business plan should research and describe your industry and the specific market segment you’re targeting. This information will be useful in developing your sales and marketing strategy later on in the business plan. Include information about your target customer’s needs, buying habits, and demographics. 

4. Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section of your business plan, you’ll need to identify and research your competitors—both direct and indirect. This portion is where you indicate their strengths and weaknesses relative to yours. Knowing what your competition is up to will help you develop strategies to stay ahead in the marketplace. 

5. Sales and Marketing Plan

Your sales and marketing plan will detail how you plan to reach and sell to your target market segment. This part of the business plan should include information about your pricing strategy, promotional activities, distribution channels, and sales methods. You’ll also need to provide realistic financial projections for sales revenue over the next three to five years. 

Tips for making your business plan stand out from the competition

Business plans are a dime a dozen. You need to go above and beyond the basics to make yours stand out from competitors. Here are a few tips on how to make your business plan shine:

1. Do your research

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people try to wing it when it comes to their business plan. Before you even start writing, take some time to research the industry, your competition, and your target market. This will give you a solid foundation to work from and will help you make your plan as comprehensive and impressive as possible.

2. Keep it concise

Nobody wants to read a 50-page business plan. Get to the point and be as concise as possible. This doesn’t mean that you should skimp on the details, but rather that you should focus on including only the most important information. The executive summary is a great place to start when it comes to being concise; make sure that you include everything!

3. Make it visually appealing

Remember, first impressions matter. Even if your business plan is top-notch, potential investors or partners will likely gloss over it if it’s boring or difficult to read. Use infographics, charts, and other visuals to break up the text and make your plan more enjoyable (and memorable) to read.

4. Proofread the document many times!

Last but not least, be sure to proofread your business plan before sending it off into the world. Nothing screams “unprofessional” louder than a poorly written document. So, take the time to edit and revise until your plan is error-free. Better yet, have someone else look at it for you. Sometimes, it’s easier for someone else to catch errors we overlook.

Final Thoughts: Writing A Tech Startup Business Plan

You now have a basic understanding of the components that make up a tech startup business plan. This is just a starting point, and your specific business will require more detail. But following these guidelines should give you a good foundation on which to build.

Besides a well-written business plan, you will also need the right team to help execute all the necessary actions to solidify your business strategy. When it comes to the tech talent side, Full Scale is the right match for any tech startup or even scale-up.

Full Scale houses the best and brightest software engineers, developers, and QA testers that you can find. You can forego the tedious process of finding, recruiting, and hiring developers for your tech team. We do all that for you and enjoy watching our client partners achieve great results.

Find out what Full Scale can do for you and your tech company!

Learn more about offshore development, the best team structure to work with offshore developers, offshore developers your team will love, 8 common offshore software development challenges.

Copyright 2024 © Full Scale

business plan technical terms

Business Terms Glossary

Tim Berry

68 min. read

Updated February 23, 2024

To start and run a business , you often need to understand business terms that may not be well-defined in a standard dictionary.

Our glossary of business terms provides definitions for common terminology and acronyms in business plans , accounting, finance, funding , and other aspects of small business.

Accounts Payable (AP)

Accounts payable (AP) are bills to be paid as part of the normal course of business.

This is a standard accounting term, one of the most common liabilities, which normally appears in the balance sheet listing of liabilities. Businesses receive goods or services from a vendor, receive an invoice, and until that invoice is paid the amount is recorded as part of “accounts payable.”

Accounts Receivable (AR)

Accounts receivables are debts owed to your company, usually from sales on credit. Accounts receivable is business asset, the sum of the money owed to you by customers who haven’t paid.

The standard procedure in business-to-business sales is that when goods or services are delivered the come with an invoice, which is to be paid later. Business customers expect to be invoiced and to pay later. The money involved goes onto the seller’s books as accounts receivable, and onto the buyer’s books as accounts payable.

Accrual-Based Accounting

Accrual-based accounting is standard business accounting, which assumes there will be accounts payable (Bills to be paid as part of the normal course of business) and/or sales on credit (sales made on account; shipments against invoices to be paid later), as opposed to cash basis only.

For example, most businesses have regular bills such as rent, utilities, and often inventory purchase which are not paid for at the exact moment of purchase, but are invoiced. Most businesses will also not be able to collect on all of their sales immediately in cash, but must bill the purchaser or wait for payment on at least some percentage of their sales (the exact percentage varies by industry).

Accumulated Depreciation

Total accumulated depreciation reduces the formal accounting value (called book value) of assets. Each month’s accumulated balance is the same as last month’s balance plus this month’s depreciation.

An acid test is a business’s short-term assets minus accounts receivable and inventory, divided by short-term liabilities.

This tests a company’s ability to meet its immediate cash requirements. It is one of the more common business ratios used by financial analysts.

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Acquisition Costs

Acquisition costs are the incremental costs involved in obtaining a new customer.

Adaptive Firm

An adaptive firm is an organization that can respond to and address changes in their market, their environment, and/or their industry to better position themselves for survival and profitability.

To be adaptive, it’s smart to look at your business critically—and a tool like a SWOT analysis can be helpful here.

Adventure Capital

Adventure capital is capital needed in the earliest stages of the venture’s creation before the product or service is available to be provided.

Advertising Opportunity

A product or service may generate additional revenue through advertising if there is benefit from creating additional awareness, communicating differentiating attributes, hidden qualities, or benefits. Optimizing the opportunity may involve leveraging strong emotional buying motives and potential benefits.

An agent is a business entity that negotiates, purchases, and/or sells, but does not take title to the goods.

Asset Turnover

Asset turnover is sales divided by total assets . Important for comparison over time and to other companies of the same industry. This is a standard business ratio.

Assets are property that a business owns, including cash and receivables, inventory, and so on.

Assets are any possessions that have value in an exchange. The more formal definition is the entire property of a person, association, corporation, or estate applicable or subject to the payment of debts. What most people understand as business assets are cash and investments, accounts receivable, inventory, office equipment, plant and equipment, and so on.

Assets can be long-term or short-term, and the distinction between these two categories might be whether they last three years, five years, 10 years, or whatever; normally the accountants decide for each company and what’s important is consistency. The government also has a say in defining assets, because it has to do with tax treatment; when you buy a piece of equipment, if you call that purchase an expense then you can deduct it from taxable income.

If you call it an asset you can’t deduct it, but you can list it on your financial statement among the assets. The tax code controls how businesses decide to categorize spendings into assets or expenses.

Back End (Websites)

Back end and front end describe website program interfaces relative to the user.

The front end of your website is how it looks and how a user interacts with it: the graphic design and HTML portion—some people call this the user interface or UI.

In contrast, the back end handles the dynamic parts of the site, that your website visitors generally don’t see or interact with such as a newsletter, an administration page, a registration database, a contact page or more complicated web applications.

Your back end interfaces with your UI and makes your website work.

Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is one of three essential parts that form the bedrock of a company’s financial statements: cash flow, balance sheet, and income statement.

The balance sheet is a snapshot of your company’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity at a specific point in time. It shows what a company owns (assets), what it owes (liabilities), and how much owners and shareholders have invested (equity).

A balance sheet always has to balance: Assets = Liabilities + Equity

For more, read our article here on Bplans that gives an overview of what a balance sheet is .

A benchmark is a standard or guideline used to compare some aspect of a business to some objective or external standard measure.

For example, when a banker compares a business’ profitability to standard financial ratios for that type of business, the process is sometimes referred to as “benchmarking.”

Industry benchmarks can tell you whether you are matching the profit margins of your peers, keeping too much inventory on hand, or getting paid faster or slower than others.

For more on small business financials, see The Key Elements of the Financial Plan .

Your company’s brand includes your business name, logo, sign, symbol, design, or a combination of all used to differentiate your goods or services from competitors.

Brand Equity

Brand equity is the added value a brand name identity brings to a product or service beyond the functional benefits provided. For example, Apple benefits from the fact that its brand name is a household name in smartphones and computers. Apple built a brand that seems fundamentally different from all other computers and smartphones.

Brand Extension Strategy

Brand extension strategy is the practice of using a current brand name to enter a new or different product class. An example of this is the ride-sharing company Uber’s foray into scooters and bike share.

Brand Recognition

Brand recognition refers to a customer’s ability to identify a brand based on its name, logo, colors, or other aspects of a marketing campaign.

Break-Even Analysis

A break-even analysis is used to assess the expected profitability of a company or a single product. It helps you determine at what point revenues and expenditures are equal.

Break-even is usually expressed in terms of the number of units you’ll need to sell or how much revenue you’ll need to generate.

The break-even analysis uses three assumptions to determine a break-even point: fixed costs, variable costs, and unit price. Fixed costs and variable costs are both included in this glossary, and unit price is the average revenue per unit of sales.

The formula for the break-even point in sales amount is: = fixed costs/(1-(Unit Variable Cost/Unit Price)).

The break-even analysis is often confused with the payback period (also in this glossary), because many people interpret breaking even as paying back the initial investment.

However, this is not what the break-even analysis actually does. Despite the common and more general use of the term “break even,” the financial analysis has an exact definition as explained above.

One important disadvantage of the break-even analysis is that it requires estimating a single per-unit variable cost, and a single per-unit price or revenue, for the entire business. That is a hard concept to estimate in a normal business that has a variety of products or services to sell.

Another problem that comes up with break-even is its preference for talking about sales and variable cost of sales in units. Many businesses, especially service businesses, don’t think of sales in units, but rather as sales in money. In those cases, the break-even analysis should think of the dollar as the unit, and state variable costs per unit as variable costs per dollar of sales.

Break-Even Point

The break-even point is the output of a standard break-even analysis. The unit sales volumes or actual sales amounts a company needs to equal its running expense rate and not lose or make money in a given month.

The formula for the break-even point in sales amount is: = Regular running costs/(1-(Unit Variable Cost/Unit Price)).

This should not be confused with the recovering initial investment through the regular operation of a business. That concept, often confused with break-even, is called the payback period.

For more detail on the subject, read: What Is Break Even Analysis?

A broker is an intermediary that serves as a go-between for the buyer or seller.

Check out our latest articles on law and taxes for more information on the legal side of setting up and managing your business.

Bundling is the practice of marketing two or more product or service items in a single package with one price.

Burden Rate

Burden rate refers to personnel burden, the sum of employer costs over and above salaries (including employer taxes, benefits, and so on).

Business Mission

A business mission is, also called a mission statement, is a brief description of an organization’s purpose with reference to its customers, products or services, markets, philosophy, and technology.

For more on your business mission, see How to Write a Mission Statement With 10 Examples

Business Plan

A business plan is a strategic roadmap for any new or growing business or startup venture. Formal business plans are generally required by bank lenders, angel investors, and venture capitalists if you’re seeking funding to grow your company. 

A business plan captures the opportunity see for your company: it describes your product or service and your business model, the target market you’ll serve. 

It also includes details on how you’ll execute your plan: how you’ll price and market your solution, and your financial projections.

Check out our full guide covering the basics of business plans .

Buy-Sell Agreement

A buy-sell agreement is an agreement designed to address situations in which one or more of the entrepreneurs want to sell their interest in the venture.

For more on exiting your business, check out our article on selling your business .

C Corporation (C Corp)

The C corporation is the classic legal entity of the vast majority of successful companies in the United States.

Most lawyers would agree that the C corporation is the structure that provides the best shielding from personal liability for owners, and provides the best non-tax benefits. This is a separate legal entity, different from its owners, which pays its own taxes.

Most lawyers would also probably agree that for a company that has ambitions of raising major investment capital and eventually going public, the C corporation is the standard legal entity.

Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR)

Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is the rate of return that would be required for an investment to grow from its beginning balance to its ending balance if you reinvest profits every year.

The standard formula for compound average growth rate is: (last number/first number)^(1/periods)-1

Cannibalization

Cannibalization is the undesirable tradeoff where sales of a new product or service decrease sales from existing products or services and minimize or detract from the total revenue.

Capital Assets

Capital assets are long-term assets, also known as fixed assets.

These terms are interchangeable. Assets are generally divided into short-term and long-term assets, the distinction depending on how long they last.

Usually, the difference between short-term and long term is a matter of accounting and financial policy. Five years is probably the most frequent division point, meaning that assets that depreciate over more than five years are long-term assets. Ten years and three years are also common.

Capital Expenditure

Spending on capital assets (also called plant and equipment, fixed assets, or long-term assets).

Capital Input

Capital input can also be called investment, or new investment. It is new money being invested in the business, not as loans or repayment of loans, but as money invested in ownership.

This is also money at risk. It will grow in value if the business prospers, and decline in value if the business declines. This is closely related to the concept of paid-in capital, on the balance sheet table. 

Paid-in capital is the amount of money actually invested in the business as money, checks written by investors. Paid-in capital increases only when there is new investment. It is different from retained earnings.

Cash normally means bills and coins, as in paying in cash.

However, the term is used in a business plan to represent the bank balance, or checking account balance.

For more on cash, check out our article on forecasting cash flow .

Cash basis means an accounting system that doesn’t use the standard accrual accounting. 

It records only cash receipts and cash spending, without assuming sales on credit (sales made on account; shipments against invoices to be paid later) or accounts payable (bills to be paid as part of the normal course of business).

ash flow measures how much money is moving into and out of your business during a specific period of time.

Businesses bring in money through sales, returns on investments, and from loans and investments—that’s cash flowing into the business.

And businesses spend money on supplies and services, as well as utilities, taxes, loan payments, and other bills—that’s cash flowing out.

Cash flow is measured by comparing how much money flows into a business during a certain period of time compared to how much money flows out of that business during that same period. Usually, cash flow is measured over the course of a month or a quarter.

Cash Flow Budget

A cash flow budget is a budget that provides an overview of cash inflows and outflows during a specified period of time.

This is often called the cash flow, or the cash budget. Just as cash flow is one of the most critical elements of business, the cash flow projection or table is one of the most critical elements of a business plan.

Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement is one of the three main financial statements (along with the income statement and balance sheet) that shows the financial position and health of a business.

The cash flow statement shows actual cash inflows and outflows of a business over a specified period of time, usually a month or a quarter. The statement then compares cash received to cash spending to determine if a business is cash flow negative or positive.

Cash sales are sales made in cash, with credit cards, or by check. The opposite of sales on credit (sales made on account; shipments against invoices to be paid later).

Cash Spending

Cash spending is money a business spends when it pays obligations immediately instead of letting them wait for a few days first.

Central Driving Forces Model

The central driving forces model is an entrepreneurial-based model that considers the positives and negatives of three areas of the venture; founder(s), opportunities, and resources. 

The model then evaluates these areas regarding the “fits and gaps” that indicate correlating strengths or weaknesses for the venture. The CDF model also considers industry and market information in the overall analysis.

Channel Conflicts

Channel conflicts refer to a situation where one or more channel members believe another channel member is engaged in behavior that is preventing it from achieving its goals. Channel conflict most often relates to pricing issues.

Channels of Distribution

Channels of distribution are the system where customers are provided access to an organization’s products or services.

Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate is a way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign.

A click-through rate (CTR) is obtained by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad on a webpage by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions).

For example, if your banner ad was delivered 100 times (impressions delivered) and 1 person clicked on it (clicks recorded), then the resulting CTR would be 1%.

Co-Branding

Co-branding is the pairing of two manufacturer’s brand names on a single product or service.

Cost of Goods Sold

The cost of goods sold is traditionally the costs of materials and production of the goods a business sells.

For a manufacturing company this is materials, labor, and factory overhead. For a retail shop it would be what it pays to buy the goods that it sells to its customers.

For service businesses, that don’t sell goods, the same concept is normally called “cost of sales,” which shouldn’t be confused with “sales and marketing expenses.” The cost of sales in this case is directly analogous to cost of goods sold. 

For a consulting company, for example, the cost of sales would be the compensation paid to the consultants plus costs of research, photocopying, and production of reports and presentations.

In standard accounting, costs of sales or costs of goods sold are subtracted from sales to calculate gross margin. 

These costs are distinguished from operating expenses, because gross profit is gross margin less operating expenses. Costs are not expenses.

Collection Period (Days)

A collection period is the average number of days between delivering an invoice and receiving the money.

The formula is: =(Accounts_receivable_balance*360)/(Sales_on_credit*12)

In business, a commission is the compensation paid to the person or entity based on the sale of a product; commonly calculated on a percentage basis.

The most frequent commission formula is gross margin multiplied by the commission percentage.

Commission Percent

A commission percent is an assumed percentage used to calculate commission expense as the product of commission percent multiplied by sales, gross margin, or related sales items.

Community Interest Company (CIC)

A CIC is a new type of limited company in the United Kingdom, designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.

CICs will be easy to set up, with all the flexibility and certainty of the company form, but with some special features to ensure they are working for the benefit of the community. This is achieved by a “community interest test” and “asset lock”, which ensure that the CIC is established for community purposes and the assets and profits are dedicated to these purposes.

Registration of a company as a CIC has to be approved by the regulator who also has a continuing monitoring and enforcement role.

Competitive Advantage

A competitive advantage is strategic development where customers will choose a firm’s product or service over its competitors based on significantly more favorable perceptions or offerings.

Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis means assessing and analyzing the comparative strengths and weaknesses of competitors; may include their current and potential product and service development and marketing strategies.

Competitive Entry Wedges

Competitive entry wedges are strategic competitive advantages and justification for entering an established market or activity that provides recognizable and known value.

The four competitive entry wedges include:

  • New product or service
  • Parallel competition
  • Franchise entry

Completed Store Transactions

Completed store transactions refer to a conversion value measuring the number of purchases made on the website.

Concentrated Target Marketing

Concentrated target marketing is a process that occurs when a single target market segment is pursued.

Contribution

Contribution can have different meanings in different context.

When the contribution is applied to a product or product line, it means the difference between total sales revenue and total variable costs, or, on a per-unit basis, the difference between unit selling and the unit variable cost. It may be expressed in percentage terms (contribution margin) or dollar terms (contribution per unit).

Contribution Margin

Contribution is frequently expressed as contribution margin for a whole company or across a group or product line, in which case it can be taken as gross margin less sales and marketing expenses.

Conversion Rate

A conversion rate is the percentage of unique website visitors who take a desired action upon visiting the website.

The desired action may be submitting a sales lead, making a purchase, viewing a key page of the site, downloading a file, or some other measurable action.

Core Marketing Strategy

Core marketing strategy is a statement that communicates the predominant reason to buy to a specific target market.

Corporation

Corporations are either the standard C corporation, or the small business S corporation.

The C corporation is the classic legal entity of most successful companies in the United States. The S corporation is used for family companies and smaller ownership groups.

The clearest distinction from C is that the S corporation’s profits or losses go straight through to the S corporation’s owners, without being taxed separately first. 

In practical terms, this means that the corporation’s owners can take their profits home without first paying the corporation’s separate tax on profits. Profits are taxed once for the S owner, and twice for the C owner. The C corporation doesn’t send its profits home to its owners as much as the S corporation because it usually has different goals and objectives. It often wants to grow and go public, or it already is public.

In most states, an S corporation is owned by a limited number (25 is a common maximum) of private owners, and corporations can’t hold stock in S corporations, just individuals. Corporations can switch from C to S and back again, but not often. The IRS has strict rules for when and how those switches are made. 

You’ll almost always want to have your CPA and, in some cases, your attorney guide you through the legal requirements for switching.

Corridor Principal

The corridor principle is the principle where an entrepreneurial venture may find that it has significantly changed its focus from the initial concept of the venture as it has continually responded and adapted to its market and the desire to optimize profitability potential.

Cost of Sales

Cost of sales refers to the costs associated with producing the sales.

In a standard manufacturing or distribution company, this is the same as the cost of the goods sold. In a services company, this is more likely to be personnel costs for people delivering the service or subcontracting costs.

This term is commonly used interchangeably with “cost of goods sold,” particularly for a manufacturing, retail, distribution, or other product-based company. In these cases, it is traditionally the costs of materials and production of the goods a business sells.

For a manufacturing company, this is materials, labor, and factory overhead. 

For a retail shop, it would be what it pays to buy the goods that it sells to its customers. 

For service businesses that don’t sell goods, the concept is normally called “cost of sales,” which shouldn’t be confused with “sales and marketing expenses.” The cost of sales, in this case, is directly analogous to cost of goods sold.

In standard accounting, costs of sales or costs of goods sold are subtracted from sales to calculate gross margin. These costs are distinguished from operating expenses, because gross profit is gross margin less operating expenses. Costs are not expenses.

For more on costs of goods sold, see our article on the LivePlan blog: What Are Direct Costs?

Cross Elasticity of Demand

Cross elasticity of demand is the change in the quantity demanded of one product or service, impacting the change in demand for another product or service.

Current Assets

Current assets are the same as short-term assets.

Current Debt

Current debt refers to short-term debt and short-term liabilities.

Current Liabilities

Current liabilities refer to short-term debt and short-term liabilities.

Doing Business As (DBA)

DBA stands for “doing business as ,” which is a company name, also commonly called a “fictitious business name.”

When a sole proprietor operates a company using any name except his or her own given name, then the DBA or fictitious business name registration establishes the legal ownership to satisfy banks, local authorities, and customers.

So when you start the Acme Restaurant, unless you are named Acme, you need your DBA to open a bank account in that name, pay employees, and do business.

You can usually obtain this registration through the county government, and the cost is no more than a small registration fee plus a required newspaper ad, for a total of less than $100 in most states.

Debt and Equity

Debt and equity is the sum of liabilities and capital. This should always be equal to total assets.

Depreciation

Depreciation is an accounting and tax concept used to estimate the loss of value of assets over time. For example, cars depreciate with use.

Differentiated Target Marketing

Differentiated target marketing is a process that occurs when an organization simultaneously pursues several different market segments, usually with a different strategy for each.

Differentiation

Differentiation is an approach to create a competitive advantage based on obtaining a significant value difference that customers will appreciate and be willing to pay for, and which ideally will increase their loyalty as a result.

Direct Cost of Sales

Direct cost of sales is a shortcut for cost of goods sold: traditionally, the costs of materials and production of the goods a business sells, or the costs of fulfilling a service for a service business.

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is a form of direct marketing that involves sending information through a mail process, physical or electronic, to potential customers.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing refers to any method of distribution that gives the customer access to an organization’s products and services without intermediaries; also, any communication from the producer that communicates with a target market to generate a revenue producing response.

A directory is a computer term related to the operating system on IBM and compatible computers. Disk storage space is divided into directories.

Distinctive Competency

A distinctive competency is an organization’s strengths or qualities including skills, technologies, or resources that distinguish it from competitors to provide superior and unique customer value and, hopefully, is difficult to imitate.

Diversification

Diversification is a product-market strategy that involves the development or acquisition of offerings new to the organization and/or the introduction of those offerings to the target markets not previously served by the organization.

Dividends refers to money distributed to the owners of a business as profits.

Dual Distribution

Dual distribution is the practice of simultaneously distributing products or services through two or more marketing channels that may or may not compete for similar buyers.

Early Adopters

Early adopters are one type of adopter in Everett Rogers’ diffusion of innovations framework that describes buyers that follow “innovators” rather than be the first to purchase.

Early Majority

An early majority is one type of adopter in Everett Rogers’ diffusion of innovations framework that describes those interested in new technology that wait to purchase until these innovations are proven to perform to the expected standard.

Also called income or profits, earnings are the famous “bottom line”: sales less costs of sales and expenses.

Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT)

EBIT refers to earnings before interest and taxes.

Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA)

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (or EBITDA) is equal to the gross margin (the difference between total sales revenue and total direct cost of sales) minus total operating expenses (tax-deductible expenses incurred in conducting normal business operations, such as wages and salaries, rent, and so on), plus any depreciation (The loss of value of assets over time) and amortization.

This is similar to earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). The difference between the two is that EBIT subtracts all expenses, including depreciation, as an expense, and EBITDA subtracts all expenses except depreciation and amortization.

Economies of Scale

Economies of scale refers to the benefit that larger production volumes allow fixed costs to be spread over more units lowering the average unit costs and offering a competitive price and margin advantage.

Producing in large volume often generates economies of scale. The per-unit cost of something goes down with volume because vendors charge less per unit for larger orders, and often production techniques and facilities cost less per unit as volume increases. Fixed costs are spread over larger volume.

Effective Demand

Effective demand is when prospective buyers have the willingness and ability to purchase an organization’s offerings.

Effective Tax Rate

The effective tax rate is a comparison of final tax payments compared to actual profits. Usually the effective tax rate is somewhat less than the nominal tax rate because of deductions, credits, etc.

Entrepreneur in Heat (EIH)

The term “entrepreneur in heat” describes an entrepreneur that continues to develop new products and services beyond what the venture can support and inadvertently may diminish the focus and effectiveness of the activities supporting the venture’s primary revenue streams.

Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur is someone who starts a new business venture; someone who recognizes and pursues opportunities others may not see as clearly, and finds the resources necessary to accomplish his or her goals.

Equity is business ownership—capital. Equity can be calculated as the difference between assets and liabilities.

Equity Financing

Equity financing refers to the sales of some portion of ownership in a venture to gain additional capital for startup.

Evaluating Ideas and Opportunities

Evaluating ideas and opportunities is the process of considering ideas versus opportunities, and then screening those opportunities using objective criteria as well as personal criteria.

Everett Rogers

Everett Rogers is an author who studied and published work on the diffusion of innovation.

Exclusive Distribution

Exclusive distribution is a distribution strategy whereby a producer sells its products or services in only one retail outlet in a specific geographical area.

For the purposes of business accounting, expenses are deductible against taxable income. Common expenses are rent, salaries, advertising, travel, and so on.

Questions arise because some businesses have trouble distinguishing between expenses and purchase of assets, especially with development expenses. When your business purchases office equipment, if you call that an expense then you can deduct that amount from taxable income, so it reduces taxes.

Experience Curve

The experience curve is a visual representation, often based on a function of time, from exposure to a process that offers greater information and results in enhanced efficiency and operations advantage.

Features, Advantages, and Benefits (FAB)

A FAB analysis explores the features, advantages, and benefits of a product or service offering.

Marketing plans need to understand these concepts in order to develop effective marketing programs. People often confuse features and benefits; for example, in an automobile, air bags are a feature that produces the benefit of greater safety. 

Advantages fall in between, and features become advantages that offer benefits to the end user.

Failure Rule, Common Causes

Entrepreneurial ventures most often fail due to one or more of these four issues:

  • Inadequate sales (39%)
  • Competitive weaknesses (21%)
  • Excessive operating expenses (11%)
  • Uncollected receivables (9%)

Failure Rule, Exceptions to the Rule

Entrepreneurial ventures most often fail due to one (or more) of the following common issues: inadequate sales, competitive weaknesses, excessive operating expenses, and uncollected receivables.

Exceptions to the failure rule include:

  • High potential ventures
  • Threshold concept
  • Promise of growth
  • Venture capital backing

Fatal 2% Rule

The concept of the fatal 2% rule is that if a venture can just get “2%” of total market share it will be successful.

This percentage can be unattainable based on the approach, limited resources, and/or structure of the industry.

Fighting Brand Strategy

A fighting brand strategy is adding a new brand to confront competitive brands in an established product category.

First Mover

The first mover is a company that attempts to gain an unchallengeable, privileged market position by being the first to establish itself in a given market.

First Mover Advantage

Key first mover advantages include:

  • Reputation effect
  • Experience curve
  • Customer commitment and loyalty

First Mover Disadvantage

These factors can turn first-mover advantages into weaknesses. They include:

  • Resolution of technological uncertainty
  • Resolution of strategic uncertainty
  • Free-rider effect—others duplicate based on the leader’s success
  • Complementary assets to exploit core technological expertise

Fiscal Year

The fiscal year is a standard accounting practice allows the accounting year to begin in any month. Fiscal years are numbered according to the year in which they end. 

For example, a fiscal year ending in February of 2025 is Fiscal 2025, even though most of the year takes place in 2024.

Five Forces Model

Porter’s model considers these forces as they impact an industry and the overall competitive climate:

  • Risk of entry by potential competitors
  • Bargaining power of suppliers
  • Bargaining power of buyers
  • Threat of substitute products
  • Rivalry among established firms

Running costs that take time to wind down: usually rent, overhead, some salaries. Technically, fixed costs are those that the business would continue to pay even if it went bankrupt.

In practice, fixed costs are usually considered the running costs. These are static expenses that do not fluctuate with output volume and become progressively smaller per unit of output as volume increases.

Fixed costs are an important assumption for developing a break-even analysis. The standard break-even formula estimates a break-even point of sales based on per-unit price or revenue, per-unit variable costs, and fixed costs.

Fixed Liabilities

Fixed liabilities are debts—money that must be paid. Usually, debt on terms of longer than five years are fixed liabilities. Also called long-term liabilities.

Fixed liabilities, in contrast to floating liabilities, are secured by assets with a stable value, such as a building or a piece of equipment.

Floating Liabilities

Floating liabilities are debts—money that must be paid. Floating liabilities, in contrast to fixed liabilities, are secured by assets with a constantly changing value, such as a company’s accounts receivable (debtors). These are usually short-term loans.

Focus Group

A focus group refers to small groups of people, usually between nine and 12 in number, representing target audiences, that are brought together to discuss a topic that will offer insight for product development and/or marketing efforts.

Frequency Marketing

Frequency marketing refers to activities that encourage repeat purchasing through a formal program enrollment process to develop loyalty and commitment from the customer base. Frequency marketing is also referred to as loyalty programs.

Front End (Websites)

Front end and back end describe program interfaces relative to the user.

The front end, here, is the appearance of your website. It is the graphic design and HTML portion—some people call this the user interface or UI.

In contrast, the portion of the application you or your developers work with is the back end. The back end handles the dynamic parts of the site, such as a newsletter, an administration page, a registration database, a contact page, or more complicated web applications. Your back end interfaces with your UI and makes your website work.

Full-Cost Price Strategies

Full-cost price strategies are costs that consider variable cost and fixed cost (total cost) in the pricing of a product or service.

Future Value Projections

Future value projections refer to the process of projecting the future value of a venture and/or an investment in the venture. It typically considers an expected rate of return, inflation, and the period of time to assess future value.

Goodwill is when a company purchases another company for more than the value of its assets—which is quite common—the difference is recorded as an asset named “goodwill.”

This is not a general term for the value of a brand, for example, but a very specific accounting term.

For example, if one business buys another business for $1 million then it needs to show the $1 million spent as an asset. If there are only $500 thousand in real assets, the accounting result should be $500,000 in real assets purchased and another $500,000 in “goodwill.”

Gross Margin

Gross margin is the difference between total sales revenue and total cost of goods sold (also called total cost of sales). This can also be expressed on a per unit basis, as the difference between unit selling price and unit cost of goods sold. Gross margin can be expressed in dollar or percentage terms.

Gross Margin Percent

The gross margin percent is the gross margin divided by sales, displayed as a percentage. Acceptable levels depend on the nature of the business. There are providers who can deliver standard gross margins for different types of industries based on SIC (Standard Industry Classification) codes that categorize industries.

Guerrilla Marketing

The term guerrilla marketing comes from Conrad Levinson’s book Guerrilla Marketing, which refers to marketing via events and stimulated media coverage rather than paid advertisements.

Harvesting is most often referring to selling a business or product line, as when a company sells a product line or division or a family sells a business.

  • Impressions

An impression occurs each time an advertisement is seen by a potential customer. For example, in online marketing, an impression happens when an advertisement such as a banner ad loads on a user’s screen, whether for the first time, when returning to a page, or when the ad cycles through dynamically.

Income Statement

Also called profit and loss statement, an income statement is a financial statement that shows sales, cost of sales, gross margin, operating expenses, and profits or losses.

Gross margin is sales less cost of sales, and profit (or loss) is gross margin less operating expenses and taxes. The result is profit if it’s positive, loss if it’s negative.

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

An IPO is a corporation’s initial effort to raise capital through the sale of securities on the public stock market.

Innovation (Evolutionary or Revolutionary)

Innovation refers to the determination if an innovation is a “new and improved” concept taken to the next level (evolutionary), or the rare innovation that revolutionizes a technology or concept to the product or services.

Innovators refers to one type of adopter in Everett Rogers’ diffusion of innovations framework describing the first group to purchase a new product or service.

Integrated Marketing Communications

Integrated marketing communications is the practice of blending different elements of the communication mix in mutually reinforcing ways.

Intensive Distribution

Intensive distribution is a distribution strategy whereby a producer attempts to sell its products or services in as many retail outlets as possible within a geographical area without exclusivity.

Interest Expense

Interest expense is interest paid on debts, and interest expense is deducted from profits as expenses. Interest expense is either long-term or short-term interest.

Intraprenuership

Intrapreneurship refers to entrepreneurial-based activities within a corporation that receive organizational support and resource commitments for an innovative new business experience within the organization itself.

Inventory refers to goods in stock, either finished goods or materials used to manufacture goods.

Inventory Turnover

Inventory turnover is the total cost of sales divided by inventory. Usually calculated using the average inventory over an accounting period, not an ending-inventory value.

Inventory Turns

Also known as inventory turnover, inventory turns are the total cost of sales divided by inventory. Usually calculated using the average inventory over an accounting period, not an ending-inventory value.

A jobber is an intermediary that buys from producers to sell to retailers and offers various services with that function.

Labor, in this context, refers to the labor costs associated with making goods to be sold. This labor is part of the cost of sales, part of the manufacturing and assembly. The row heading refers to fulfillment costs as well, for service companies.

Laggards are one type of adopter in Everett Rogers’ diffusion of innovations framework describing the risk-averse group that follows the late majority that is generally not interested in new technology and are the last customers to buy.

Leveraged Buy Out (LBO)

A leveraged buy-out is a type of purchase of a business that relies heavily on the venture’s cash receipts with expectations of positive cash flow continuing based on historical or other performance indicators.

Liabilities

Liabilities are debts or money that must be paid. Usually, debt on terms of less than five years is called short-term liabilities, and debt for longer than five years is called long-term liabilities.

A life cycle is a model depicting the sales volume cycle of a single product, brand, service, or a class of products or services over time described in terms of the four phases of introduction, growth, maturity and decline.

Limited (Public) Company (AUS)

A public limited company is one where the right to transfer shares and the number of members is not limited. In addition, the company may invite the public to subscribe for its shares and, to deposit money with the company.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The LLC form is different for different states, with some real advantages in some states that aren’t relevant in others.

An LLC is usually a lot like an S corporation, a combination of some limitation on legal liability and some favorable tax treatment for profits and transfer of assets. This is a newer form of legal entity, and often harder to establish than a corporation.

Why would you establish an LLC instead of a corporation? That’s a tough legal question, not one we can answer here. In general, the LLC has to be missing two of the four characteristics of a corporation (limited liability, centralized management, continuity of life, and free transferability of ownership interest). 

Still, with the advisability and advantages varying from state to state, here again, this is a question to take to a good local attorney with small business experience.

Limited Liability Partnership

A limited liability partnership is a form of business organization combining elements of partnerships and corporations, in which both managing and non-managing partners are protected from liability to some degree, and have a different tax liability than in a corporation. 

Although this form of business is available in the U.S., the U.K., and Japan, legal details of forming and operating such a company vary from one country to another, and by state within the U.S.

Long-Term Assets

Long-term assets are assets like plant and equipment that are depreciated over terms of more than five years, and are likely to last that long, too.

Long-Term Interest Rate

A long-term interest rate is the interest rate charged on long-term debt.

Long-Term Liabilities

Long-term liabilities are the same as long-term loans. Most companies call a debt long-term when it is on terms of five years or more.

Loss is an accounting concept, the exact opposite of profit, normally the bottom line of the income statement, which is also called profit or loss statement. 

Start with sales, subtract all costs of sales and all expenses, and that produces profit before tax. Subtract tax to get net profit. If the end result is negative, then instead of profit it is called loss.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are activities designed to encourage repeat purchasing through a formal program enrollment process and the distribution of benefits. Loyalty programs may also be referred to as frequency marketing.

Manufacturer’s Agent

A manufacturer’s agent is an agent who typically operates on an extended contractual basis, often sells in an exclusive territory, offers non-competing but related lines of goods, and has defined authority regarding prices and terms of sale.

A market refers to prospective buyers, individuals, or organizations, willing and able to purchase the organization’s potential offering.

Market Development Funds

Market development funds refer to the monetary resources a company invests to assist channel members increase volume sales of their products or services.

Market Development Strategy

A market development strategy is a product-market strategy whereby an organization introduces its offerings to markets other than those it is currently serving. In global marketing, this strategy can be implemented through exportation licensing, joint ventures, or direct investment.

Market Evolution

Market evolution refers to changes in primary demand for a product class and changes in technology.

Market Penetration Strategy

Market penetration is the amount that your business is able to sell a product or service to customers compared to the estimated total available market (TAM). 

This is a measurement that can help you define the serviceable available market (SAM), which is the portion you estimate that you can acquire. 

Additionally, it can serve as a baseline for developing a strategy to increase your service obtainable market (SOM), or the subset of customers that you can realistically acquire.

Market Plan

Often found within the business plan, the market plan provides details regarding the overall marketing strategy, pricing, sales tactics, service and warranty policies, advertising, promotion, and distribution plans for the venture.

Market Redefinition

Market redefinition refers to changes in the offering demanded by buyers or promoted by competitors to enhance its perception and associated sales.

Market Sales Potential

Market sales potential is the maximum level of sales that might be available to all organizations serving a defined market in a specific period.

Market Segmentation

Market segmentation is the categorization of potential buyers into groups based on common characteristics such as age, gender, income, and geography or other attributes relating to purchase or consumption behavior.

Market Share

Market share is the total sales of an organization divided by the sales of the market they serve.

Marketing refers to the set of planned activities designed to positively influence the perceptions and purchase choices of individuals and organizations.

Check out our guide on the different ways to market your business .

Marketing Audit

A marketing audit is a comprehensive and systematic examination of a company’s marketing environment, objectives, strategies, and activities with a view of identifying and understanding problem areas and opportunities and recommending a plan of action.

Marketing Mix

Marketing mix refers to the activities controllable by the organization. It includes the product, service, or idea offered, the manner in which the offering will be communicated to customers, the method for distributing or delivering the offering, and the price to be charged.

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a written document containing descriptions and guidelines for an organization’s or a product’s marketing strategies, tactics, and programs for offering their products and services over the defined planning period, often one year.

Marketing Cost Analysis

Marketing cost analysis refers to assigning or allocating costs to a specified marketing activity or entity in a manner that accurately captures the financial contribution of activities or entities to the organization.

Materials are included in the cost of sales. These are materials involved in the assembly or manufacture of goods for sale.

Materials Included in Cost of Sales

These are materials involved in the assembly or manufacture of goods for sale.

Mission Statement

A mission statement is a statement that captures an organization’s purpose, customer orientation, and business philosophy.

Moving Weighted Average

Moving weighted average is a statistical method to forecast the future based on past results. It is a subset of time series analysis.

Multiple Channel System

A multiple-channel system is a channel of distribution that uses a combination of direct and indirect channels where the channel members serve different segments.

Net Cash Flow

Net cash flow is the projected change in cash position, an increase or decrease in cash balance.

Net Present Value (NPV)

Net present value is a method of discounting future income streams using an expected rate of return to evaluate the current value of expected earnings. It calculates future value in today’s dollars. NPV may be used to determine the current value of a business being offered for sale or capitalized.

Net profit is the operating income less taxes and interest. The same as earnings, or net income.

Net Profit Margin Before Taxes

Net profit margin before taxes is the remainder after cost of goods sold, other variable costs revenue, or simply, total revenue minus total cost. Net profit margin can be expressed in actual monetary values or percentage terms.

Net worth is the same as assets minus liabilities, and the same as total equity; other short-term assets. These might be securities, business equipment, and so on.

New Visitors

In online marketing, a new visitor is a website visitor who has not made any previous visits to the site or page in question.

New Brand Strategy

New brand strategy is the development of a new brand and often a new offering for a product class that has not been previously served by the organization.

Newsletter Subscriptions

In online marketing, newsletter subscription is a conversion value measuring the number of users who voluntarily include themselves in your database and are willing to accept unsolicited emails from you.

Not Invented Here (NIH)

Not invented here is a negative response to innovations and inventions from sources outside the venture’s own research and development activities.

Obligations Incurred

Obligations incurred are business costs or expenses that need to be paid, but wait for a time as accounts payable (in other words, bills to be paid as part of the normal course of business) instead of being paid immediately.

An offering is the total benefits or satisfaction provided to target markets by an organization. An offering consists of a tangible product or service plus related services such as installation, repair, warranties or guarantees, packaging, technical support, field support, and other services.

Offering Mix or Portfolio

An offering mix is an organization’s offerings, including all products and services.

On-costs are labor costs in addition to salaries and wages; that is, payroll tax, workers’ compensation, and other liability insurance, subsidized services to employees, training costs, and so on.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses are expenses incurred in conducting normal business operations. Operating expenses may include wages, salaries, administrative and research and development costs, but excludes interest, depreciation, and taxes.

Operating Leverage

Operating leverage is the extent to which fixed costs and variable costs are used in the production and marketing of products and services.

Operations Control

Operations control is assessing how well an organization performs marketing activities as it seeks to achieve planned outcomes.

Opportunity Analysis

Opportunity analysis identifies and explores revenue enhancement or expense reduction situations to better position the organization to realize increased profitability, efficiencies, market potential, or other desirable objectives.

Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost refers to the resource use options given up due to pursuing one activity among several possibilities. Potential benefits foregone as a result of choosing an alternative course of action.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

An original equipment manufacturer is the process that is facilitated through licensing or other financial arrangements where the initial producer of a product or service agrees to allow another entity to include, remanufacture, or label products or services under their name and sell through their distribution channels.

It typically results in a “higher volume, lower margin” relationship for the original producer. It offers access to a broader range of products and services the buyer can offer their consumers at more attractive costs.

Other Short-Term Liabilities

Other short-term liabilities are short-term debts that don’t cause interest expenses. For example, they might be loans from founders or accrued taxes (taxes owed, already incurred, but not yet paid).

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is purchasing an item or a service from an outside vendor to replace the performance of the task with an organization’s internal operations.

In online marketing, a request for a file whose type is defined as a page in log analysis. This is generally what people mean when they talk about webpage hits, but is a more accurate way of tracking this metric because of the way log analysis works.

A single pageview (one visitor looking at one page) may generate multiple hits in log analysis, as all the resources required to view the page (images, .js, and .css files) are also requested from the web server.

Paid-In Capital

Paid-in capital is real money paid into the company as investments. This is not to be confused with the par value of stock, or market value of stock. This is actual money to the company as equity investments by owners.

Partnership

Partnerships are hard to describe because they change so much. State laws govern them, but the Uniform Partnership Act has become the law in most states. That act, however, mostly sets the specific partnership agreement as the real legal core of the partnership, so the legal details can vary widely.

Usually, the income or loss from partnerships passes through to the partners without any partnership tax. The agreements can define different levels of risk, which is why you’ll read about some partnerships with general and limited partners, with different levels of risk for each. The agreement should also define what happens if a partner withdraws, buy and sell arrangements for partners, and liquidation arrangements if that becomes necessary.

If you think a partnership might work for your business, do this right. Find an attorney with experience in partnerships, and check for references of present and past clients. This is a complicated area, and a mistake in the agreement will cause a lot of problems.

Payables is short for account payables—bills to be paid as part of the normal course of business. This is a standard accounting term, one of the most common liabilities, which normally appears in the balance sheet listing of liabilities.

Businesses receive goods or services from a supplier, receive an invoice, and until that invoice is paid the amount is recorded as part of “accounts payable.”

Payback Period

A payback period is the number of years an organization requires to recapture an initial investment. This may apply to an entire business operation or an individual project.

Payment Days

Payment days are the average number of days that pass between receiving an invoice and paying it.

It is not a simple estimate; it is calculated with a financial formula: =(Accounts_payable_balance*360)/(Total entries to accounts payable*12)

Payment Delay

Payment delay is the number of days on average a business waits between receiving a bill and paying a bill. Also called payment days.

Payroll refers to wages, salaries, or employee compensation.

Payroll Burden

Payroll burden includes payroll taxes and benefits. It is calculated using a percentage assumption that is applied to payroll.

For example, if payroll is $1,000 and the burden rate is 10 percent, the burden is an extra $100. Acceptable payroll burden rates vary by market, industry, and company.

Penetration Pricing Strategy

Penetration pricing strategy refers to setting a relatively low initial price for a new product or service.

Perceived Risk

Perceived risk is the extent to which a customer or client is uncertain about the consequences of an action, often relating to purchase decisions.

Perceptual Map

A perceptual map is a two or three-dimensional illustration of a customer’s perceptions of competing products comparing select attributes based on market research.

Personal Selling

Personal selling is the use of face-to-face communication between the seller and buyer.

PEST analysis

PEST is a popular framework for situation analysis, looking at political, economic, and social trends. Analyzing these factors can help generate marketing ideas, product ideas, and so on.

Plant and Equipment

Plant and equipment is the same as long-term, fixed, or capital assets. These are generally assets that are depreciated over terms of more than five years, and are likely to last that long, too.

Point of Purchase Advertising (POP)

Point of purchase advertising is a retail in-store presentation that displays product and communicates information to retail consumers at the place of purchase.

A portfolio is the complete array of an organization’s offerings including all products and services. Also called an offering mix.

Positioning

Positioning refers to orchestrating an organization’s offering and image to occupy a unique and valued place in the customer’s mind relative to competitive offerings. A product or service can be positioned on the basis of an attribute or benefit, use or application, user, class, price, or quality.

Premiums refers to a product-oriented promotion that offers some free or reduced-price item contingent on the purchase of advertised or featured merchandise or service.

Price Elasticity of Demand

Price elasticity of demand is the change in demand relative to a change in price for a product or service.

Privately Owned

A company whose shares are not publicly traded on a stock market. Such companies usually have less restrictive reporting requirements than publicly traded companies. A company that is not owned by the government (state-owned).

Pro Forma Income Statement

A pro forma income statement is a projected income statement. Pro forma in this context means projected. An income statement is the same as a profit and loss statement, a financial statement that shows sales, cost of sales, gross margin, operating expenses, and profits.

Pro Forma Statements

The term “pro forma” in front of any financial statement primarily serves to label that version of the statement as not adhering to the strict “generally accepted accounting principles” (GAAP) standards that all publicly-traded companies must use to produce their financial statements.

Major corporations use pro forma statements to illustrate projected numbers, like in the case of a merger or acquisition, or to emphasize certain current figures.

GAAP standards don’t apply to small businesses, so you don’t really need to worry about distinguishing your financial statements as “pro forma” or not—everyone you show them to expects that they’re not GAAP-compliant. But if you want to be technically correct in your terminology, go ahead and call your financial statements “pro forma.”

Product Definition

A product definition is a stage in a new product development process in which concepts are translated into actual products for additional testing based on interactions with customers. 

Product Development

Product development refers to expenses incurred in the development of new products (salaries, laboratory equipment, test equipment, prototypes, research and development, and so on).

Product Development Strategy

A product development strategy is a product-market strategy whereby an organization creates new offerings for existing markets innovation, product augmentation, or product line extensions.

Product Life Cycle (PLC)

Product life cycle refers to the phases of the sales projections or history of a product or service category over time used to assist with marketing mix decisions and strategic options available.

The four stages of the product life cycle include introduction, growth, maturity, and decline, and typically follow a predictable pattern based on sales volume over a period of time.

Product Line

A product line is a group of closely related products with similar attributes or target markets.

Product Line Pricing

Product line pricing refers to the setting of prices for all items in a product line involving the lowest-priced product price, the highest-priced product, and price differentials for all other products in the line.

Profit is an accounting concept, normally the bottom line of the income statement, which is also called profit or loss statement. Start with sales, subtract all costs of sales and all expenses, and that produces profit before tax. Subtract tax to get net profit.

Profit Before Interest and Taxes

Profit before interest and taxes is also called EBIT, for Earnings Before Interest and Taxes. It is gross margin minus operating expenses.

Profit or Loss

Also called profit and loss statement, a profit or loss statement is an income statement is a financial statement that shows sales, cost of sales, gross margin, operating expenses, and profits or losses. 

Proprietary (Private) Limited Company

A Proprietary Limited Company (often abbreviated as “Pty Ltd”) is a private company, in which the right to transfer shares is restricted and the number of members is limited to no more than fifty.

In addition, the company is prohibited from inviting the public to subscribe for its shares and, from inviting the public to deposit money with the company.

Public Relations

Public relations refers to communications often in the form of news distributed in a non-personal form which may include newspaper, magazine, radio, television, internet, or other form of media for which the sponsoring organization does not pay a fee.

Publicly Traded

Publicly traded means a company owned by shareholders who are members of the general public and trade shares publicly, as on the stock market.

Pull Communication Strategy

A pull communication strategy creates interest among potential buyers, who demand the offering from intermediaries, ultimately “pulling” the offering through the channel.

Push Communication Strategy

A push communication strategy is the practice of “pushing” an offering through a marketing channel in a sequential fashion, with each channel focusing on a distinct target market.

The principal emphasis is on personal selling and trade promotions directed toward wholesalers and retailers. 

Questionable Costs

Questionable costs are costs that may be considered as variable or as fixed costs, depending on the specifics of the situation.

Receivables

Short for account receivables, this refers to debts owed to your company, usually from sales on credit. Accounts receivable is a business asset, the sum of the money owed to you by customers who haven’t paid.

The standard procedure in business-to-business sales is that when goods or services are delivered, they come with an invoice, which is to be paid later. Business customers expect to be invoiced and to pay later. The money involved goes onto the seller’s books as accounts receivable and the buyer’s books as accounts payable.

Receivables Turnover

Receivables turnover refers to sales on credit for an accounting period divided by the average accounts receivables balance.

Regional Marketing

Regional marketing is the practice of using different marketing mixes to accommodate unique preferences and competitive conditions in different geographical areas.

Relevant Cost

Relevant cost refers to expenditures that are expected to occur in the future as a result of some marketing action and differ among other potential marketing alternatives.

Repositioning

Repositioning is the process of strategically changing the perceptions surrounding a product or service.

Resource Requirements (Websites)

Your resource requirements are the personnel, time, space, and equipment necessary to create and maintain your website. Remember that a website is never done—it will always require resources, some of which will be used to create new content periodically.

Retained Earnings

Retained earnings are earnings (or losses) that have been reinvested into the company, not paid out as dividends to the owners. When retained earnings are negative, the company has accumulated losses.

Return on Assets

Return on assets is your net profits divided by total assets. It is a measure of profitability.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on investment, or ROI is your net profits divided by net worth or total equity. It’s another measure of profitability.

Return on Sales

Return on sales is net profits divided by sales. It’s another measure of profitability.

Return Visitors

In online marketing, a website visitor who has made at least one previous visit to the site or page in question is considered a return visitor.

Rich-Gumpert Evaluation System

The Rich-Gumpert evaluation system is a method of analysis that associates a numeric value between 1 and 4 regarding the spectrums of product development and the entrepreneur and management team.

S Corporation (S Corp)

The C corporation is the classic legal entity of the vast majority of successful companies in the United States. Most lawyers would agree that the C corporation is the structure that provides the best shielding from personal liability for owners, and provides the best non-tax benefits to owers. This is a separate legal entity, different from its owners, which pays its own taxes.

Most lawyers would also probably agree that for a company that has ambitions of raising major investment capital and eventually going public, the C corporation is the standard form of legal entity. The S corporation is used for family companies and smaller ownership groups. The clearest distinction from C is that the S corporation’s profits or losses go straight through to the S corporation’s owners, without being taxed separately first.

In practical terms, this means that the owners of the corporation can take their profits home without first paying the corporation’s separate tax on profits, so those profits are taxed once for the S owner, and twice for the C owner. In practical terms the C corporation doesn’t send its profits home to its owners as much as the S corporation does, because it usually has different goals and objectives. It often wants to grow and go public, or it already is public. In most states an S corporation is owned by a limited number (25 is a common maximum) of private owners, and corporations can’t hold stock in S corporations, just individuals.

Corporations can switch from C to S and back again, but not often. The IRS has strict rules for when and how those switches are made. You’ll almost always want to have your CPA and in some cases your attorney guide you through the legal requirements for switching.

Sales Break Even

Sales break-even is the sales volume at which costs are exactly equal to sales.

The exact formula is =Fixed_costs/(1-(Unit_Variable_Cost/Unit_Price))

Sales Forecast

A sales forecast is the level of sales a single organization expects to achieve based on a chosen marketing strategy and assumed competitive environment.

Sales on Credit

Sales on credit are sales made on account; shipments against invoices to be paid later.

Scrambled Merchandising

Scrambled merchandising is the practice by wholesalers and retailers that carry an increasingly wider assortment of merchandise.

Seed Capital

Seed capital is investment contributed at a very early stage of a new venture, usually in relatively small amounts. It comes even before what they call “first round” venture capital.

How much is that “relatively small amount?” Some high-end high-tech ventures in the heart of Silicon Valley call an investment of $500K seed capital, and other ventures that called $35K investment seed capital, and the following $300K investment the first round. It depends on the point of view.

Selective Distribution

Selective distribution is a strategy where a producer sells its products or services in a few exclusively chosen retail outlets in a specific geographical area.

Selling Approaches

Selling approaches are potential selling resources based on the sales value and the distribution of the product.

Senior Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

SCORE is a no-cost consulting and resources service offered through the Small Business Administration.

Shareholders

Shareholders are individuals or companies that legally own one or more shares of stock in a company.

Short-term is normally used to distinguish between short-term and long-term, when referring to assets or liabilities. Definitions vary because different companies and accountants handle this in different ways.

Accounts payable is always a short-term liability, and cash, accounts receivable and inventory are always short-term assets. Most companies call any debt of less than five-year terms short-term debt. Assets that depreciate over more than five years (e.g., plant and equipment) are usually long-term assets.

Short-Term Assets

Short-term assets are cash, securities, bank accounts, accounts receivable, inventory, business equipment, assets that last less than five years or are depreciated over terms of less than five years. Also called current assets.

Short-Term Notes

Short-term notes are the same as short-term loans. These are debts with terms of five years or less.

Short-Term Liabilities

Short-term liabilities are debts with terms of five years or less. These are also called current liabilities, short-term loans, or short-term (current) debts. These may also include short-term debts that don’t cause interest expenses.

For example, they might be loans from founders or accrued taxes (taxes owed, already incurred, but not yet paid).

Simple Linear Regression

Simple linear regression is a linear correlation that offers a straight-line projection based on the variables considered.

Situation Analysis

A situation analysis is the assessment of operations to determine the reasons for the gap between what was or is expected, and what has happened or will happen.

Skimming Pricing Strategy

Skimming pricing strategy refers to setting a relatively high initial price for a new product or service when there is a strong price-perceived quality relationship that targets early adopters who are price insensitive. The price may be lowered over time.

Slotting Allowances

Slotting allowances are payments to store chains for acquiring and maintaining shelf space.

Small Business Investment Council (SBIC)

The SBIC is a division of the Small Business Administration that offers “venture capital-like” resources to higher-risk businesses seeking capital.

Sole Proprietorship

The simplest business structure is the sole proprietorship. Simply put, your business is a sole proprietorship if you don’t create a separate legal entity for it.

This is true whether you operate it in your own name, or under a trade name. If it isn’t your own name, then you register a company name as a “Fictitious business name,” also called a DBA (“Doing Business As”).

Depending on your state, you can usually obtain this through the county government, and the cost is no more than a small registration fee plus a required newspaper ad, for a total of less than $100 in most states.

Sole Trader

A sole trader is the easiest and quickest form of corporation for a small, privately-owned business. Your Memorandum and Articles of Association are usually fairly straightforward to obtain, and your taxes will be lower than those of a public company.

However, the owner of a sole trader is personally liable for all of its actions and debts, and may not be entitled to benefits, like unemployment payments, that would accrue to those running public companies.

Starting Date

Starting date refers to the starting date for the entire business plan.

Goods on hand, either finished goods or materials to be used to manufacture goods. Also called inventory.

Stock can also refer to privately held or publicly traded shares or securities representing an investment in, or partial ownership of, a business. Public trading of such stock occurs on the stock market.

Stock Market

The stock market is the organized trading of stocks, bonds, or other securities, or the place where such trading occurs.

Stock Turnover

Stock turnover is the total cost of sales divided by inventory (materials or goods on hand). Usually calculated using the average inventory over an accounting period, not an ending-inventory value. Also called inventory turnover.

Strategic Control

Strategic control is the practice of assessing the direction of the organization as evidenced by its implicit or explicit goals, objectives, strategies, and capacity to perform in the context of changing environmental and competitive actions.

Strategic Marketing Management

Strategic marketing management is the planned process of defining the organization’s business, mission, and goals; identifying and framing organizational opportunities; formulating product-market strategies, budgeting marketing, financial, and production resources; developing reformulation.

Success Factors

Primary success factors include considerations regarding:

  • The choice of business based on the status of the market
  • Education and experience
  • People and collaboration
  • Creativity and innovation versus business skills and networks
  • Incubation potential
  • Leveraging available resources
  • Management practices

Success Requirements

Success requirements are the basic tasks that must be performed by an organization in a market or industry to compete successfully.

Sunk cost refers to past expenditures for a given activity that are typically irrelevant in whole or in part to future decisions. The “sunk cost fallacy” is an attempt to recoup spent dollars by spending still more dollars in the future.

Surplus or Deficit

Surplus or deficit is a term used by nonprofits. It’s also called profit and loss statement or an income statement in for-profit plans.

An income statement is a financial statement that shows funding, cost of funding, gross surplus, operating expenses, and surplus or deficit. Gross surplus is funding less cost of funding, and surplus (or deficit) is gross surplus less operating expenses and taxes. The result is surplus if it is positive, a deficit if it is negative.

Switching Costs

Switching costs are the costs incurred in changing from one provider of a product or service to another. Switching costs may be tangible or intangible costs incurred due to the change of this source.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a formal framework of identifying and framing organizational growth opportunities. SWOT is an acronym for an organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats.

Systematic Innovation

Systematic innovation is innovation resulting from an intentional and organized process to evaluate opportunities to introduce change, based on a definition provided by Peter Drucker. The sources of innovation may be internal or external to the enterprise.

Tactics are a collection of tools, activities and business decisions required to implement a strategy.

Target Market

A target market is a defined segment of the market that is the strategic focus of a business or a marketing plan. Normally the members of this segment possess common characteristics and a relative high propensity to purchase a particular product or service. 

Because of this, the member of this segment represent the greatest potential for sales volume and frequency. The target market is often defined in terms of geographic, demographic, and psychographic characteristics.

Target Marketing

Target marketing is the process of marketing to a specific market segment or multiple segments. Differentiated target marketing occurs when an organization simultaneously pursues several different market segments, usually with a different strategy for each. 

Concentrated target marketing occurs when a single market segment is pursued.

Tax Rate Percent

Tax rate percent is an assumed percentage applied against pre-tax income to determine taxes.

Taxes Incurred

Taxes incurred are taxes that are owed but not yet paid.

Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a form of direct marketing that uses the telephone to reach potential customers.

Trade Margin

Trade margin is the difference between unit sales price and unit cost and each level of a marketing channel usually expressed in percentage terms.

Trading Down

Trading down is the process of reducing the number of features or quality of an offering to realize a lower purchase price.

Trading up is the practice of improving an offering by adding new features and higher quality materials or adding products or services to increase the purchase price.

In broad, general terms, traffic is the number of visitors and visits a website receives.

Types of Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs may be categorized into eleven areas, including:

  • Solo self-employed individuals
  • Team builders
  • Independent innovators
  • Pattern multipliers
  • Economy of scale exploiters
  • Capital aggregators
  • Buy-sell artists
  • Conglomerates
  • Speculators
  • Apparent value manipulators

User Interface (UI)

User interface is the graphic design and appearance of a website, its function as seen and used by the person on the user end, at the website in a browser.

The UI of a website is ultimately how it lets users know what it has to offer them. If it lacks an easy navigation scheme users get lost, and never find the information on a site.

Unique User Sessions

In online marketing, unique user sessions is a website metric tracking the number of uniquely identified clients generating requests on the web server (log analysis) or viewing pages (page tagging). A visitor can make multiple visits.

Unit Variable Cost

Unit variable cost is the specific labor and materials associated with a single unit of goods sold. Does not include general overhead.

Units Break-Even

Units break-even refers to the unit sales volume at which the fixed and variable costs are exactly equal to sales. 

The formula is UBE=Fixed_costs/(Unit_Price-Unit_Variable_Cost)

Unpaid Expenses

Unpaid expenses are money owed to vendors for expenses incurred, but not yet paid. In bookkeeping and accounting, this is called accounts payable. A simple example would be the advertising expense from advertising that has already run but not yet been paid for by the advertiser.

User Benefits

User benefits refer to understanding and appreciating the base reason an individual purchases a product or service that may not directly correlate with the feature or function of the good or service. These benefits may be intangible.

User Registrations

In online marketing, user registrations is a conversion value measuring the number of website visitors who voluntarily include themselves in your database in order to access the content you provide on your website.

Used as a noun, valuation is what a business is worth, as in, “this company’s valuation is $10 million.”

This would mean that a company is valued at $10 million, or worth $10 million. The term is used most often for discussions of sale or purchase of a company; it’s valuation is the price of a share times the number of shares outstanding, and the price of a share is the total valuation divided by the number of shares outstanding.

Value is the ratio of perceived benefits compared to price for a product or service.

Variable Cost

Variable costs are costs that fluctuate in direct proportion to the volume of units produced. The best and most obvious example are physical costs of goods sold, direct costs, such as materials, products purchased for resale, production costs and overhead, etc.

The concept of variable cost is an important component of risk in a company. Generally, variable costs are less risky than fixed costs, because variable costs are not incurred unless there are sales and production. See also break-even analysis, fixed costs, and contribution.

For more on this, check out What Is Break-Even Analysis?

Variance is a calculation of the difference between plan and actual results, used by analysts to manage and track the impact of planning and budgeting.

Venture Capitalists (VC)

Venture capitalists are thought of in two ways, first, some people think of any wealthy individual who invests in young companies as a venture capitalist. Second, among the more informed investors, analysts, and entrepreneurs, a venture capitalist is a manager of a mainstream venture capital fund.

Venture Capital

Venture capital nowadays is used two ways. First, people often take venture capital as any investment capital obtained through private investment or public investment funds directed to high-risk and high-potential enterprises. 

Second, within the more informed and sophisticated business circles, venture capital is defined more narrowly as investment money coming from the mainstream venture capital firms, a few hundred major firms, different from investment money from other private investors, angels, etc.

A website (or site) is a virtual location, identified and located by a URL (uniform resource locator), an address that can lead you to a file on any connected machine anywhere in the world.

Website Metrics

In online marketing, website metrics metrics are measurement tools used to evaluate how effectively a website is marketing a business.

These can include:

  • Unique user sessions
  • New visitors
  • Return visitors
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate

Website Traffic

In broad, general terms, website traffic is the number of visitors and visits a website receives. This traffic can be measured by a variety of website metrics.

A wholesaler is a channel member that purchases from the producer and supplies to the retailer and primarily performs the function of physical distribution and amassing inventory for rapid delivery.

Working Capital

The accessible resources needed to support the day-to-day operations of an organization.

Working capital is commonly in the form of cash and current (short-term) assets, including accounts receivable, prepaid expenses, accounts payable for goods and services, and current unpaid income taxes.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

Start your business plan with the #1 plan writing software. Create your plan with Liveplan today.

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How to Write a Tech Startup Business Plan to Win Investors

Tomasz Bąk

You have a great business idea. Now you’re doing the hard part: raising capital.

With a failure rate of 63% in the tech startup industry, you need to have a highly compelling business idea and go-to-market strategy to win over investors.

We’re going to make writing a startup business plan really simple by providing you with a step-by-step guide along with a business plan template you can use to build startup business plan that wins investors.

What is a tech startup business plan?

Why do you need a technology startup business plan.

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Market opportunity
  • 3. Product or service overview
  • 4. Marketing and sales strategy
  • 5. Team and management structure
  • 6. Key milestones
  • 7. Financial plan

Sample tech startup business plan [template]

A technology startup business plan is a document that is used to outline the goals, strategies, and objectives of a new tech startup business. This document is often used to secure funding from investors and to help the business leaders form a unified sense of identity and purpose.

The business plan should include information on the products or services offered by the startup, the market opportunity, the business model, the team, the financial projections, and the risks and challenges associated with the business. A tech startup’s business plan should generally address three major areas of the business:

What Is A Tech Startup Business Plan

As a startup moves through various stages of growth, the business plan should be updated with new information and forward-looking goals. In this way it can serve as a “source of truth” for all of the startup’s stakeholders.

A business plan is an essential tool for any tech startup. It provides a road map for your business, helping you to define and communicate the company’s vision, goals, and strategies. Having a singular document that acts as a single source of truth for the business will help to keep the startup’s core leadership team unified and provides guidance on how to navigate the often-complex world of starting and growing a business.

You can utilize your startup business plan to secure funding and partnerships. A well-crafted business plan can also help you attract and retain top talent.

In summary, you need a technology startup business plan to:

  • Unify the startup’s leadership team
  • Secure funding and partnerships
  • Attract top talent
  • Act as a guide for navigating starting a business

This article will act as a guide for writing a business plan for tech startup founders.

7 key components of tech startup business plan

You know you need a business plan for your tech startup. You know generally what should be included. But, now you need to actually get to writing. We’re going to try to make this as easy as possible by outlining the 7 key components your technology startup business plan should have.

If you’re looking for a real shortcut, make sure you download our easy tech startup business plan template. Included in it you’ll find a sample business plan and an outline of what we’ll cover below.

Stick with me if you’re looking for a more detailed explanation of each of the 7 components.

How To Write A Tech Startup Business Plan

  • Executive summary

First up is an executive summary. This brief section should provide some context to readers as they begin to read your business plan. It’s your opportunity to share, at a high level, your business idea.

At a minimum, this section should outline what your business is, the general market you target or industry you are in, and what your products or services are. Optionally, you can include some information about your business’s history, bios of key members of your leadership team, competitive advantages, key customer benefits, and your company’s goals. How detailed you get with this section is up to you. Use this as an opportunity to provide an overview before you get into more detail in the other sections of your business plan.

  • Market opportunity

This is where you will start to go into more detail about your business. Starting with the market opportunity allows you to paint the picture of the why _behind your tech startup before you go into the _what . Ultimately, you can only sell the feasibility of your business by backing it up data on who your potential customers will be. This section will help to inform the marketing strategy and sales plan later in the startup business plan document.

Take the time in this section to walk through the research you have done on your audience. To start, you should have data points on the following:

  • Demographic data for your target market (age, gender, income, occupation, location)
  • Main pain points of your target market
  • Values and interests of your target market
  • Needs and wants of your target market

Target Audience

It can also be compelling to provide some information on how your products or services will stand out from the competition. Consider answering the following questions in this section:

  • Who are your main competitors?
  • How will your products or services meet the market’s needs better than the competitors?
  • Will your products or services be able to reach a currently unreached audience?
  • How will you differentiate yourself from the competition within your target market?

All of this data should back up what the real market opportunity is for your business. Make sure this market opportunity is realistic and achievable. This should lead well into our next section which will cover in more detail the products or services your tech startup will offer to the market.

  • Product or service overview

After you have outlined the market opportunity your business will take advantage of, it’s time to provide more details on the exact products or services that you will offer to your market.

Each product or service you include in this section should have a corresponding functional and technical description. The functional description should aim to outline to a layperson what the product or service is, what it does, and how it will be used. The technical description should outline the technologies each product or service utilizes or what technology has been developed specifically for the new business. It’s appropriate to go into detail here to give potential investors more confidence in your product or service.

It’s also important to include information on how the products or services will ultimately benefit customers and what problem they will solve for customers. If you have more than one product or service, make sure to outline this information for each one.

  • Marketing and sales strategy

The marketing and sales strategy section of a technology startup business plan should include a description of the target market, the company's marketing and sales objectives, the strategies and tactics that will be used to reach these objectives, the key marketing and sales metrics that will be used to measure progress, and the budget for marketing and sales activities. In short, it should outline your business’s marketing and sales plan.

Marketing And Sales Strategy

Starting with the objectives, you should outline specifically what you are trying to achieve with your marketing and sales efforts both in the short term (likely for launch) and long term. Each of your objectives should align with your overarching business goals and make sense for the market you outlined earlier in your business plan. Be realistic here. It’s better to estimate low and over deliver than to overestimate your success.

As you outline the strategies and tactics you will use to achieve your objectives, consider both the what _and the who_:

  • (What) What tactics will you employ to achieve your goals?
  • (What) What marketing tools do you need to achieve your goals?
  • (What) What marketing channels will you use?
  • (Who) Will the marketing work be done internally?
  • (Who) Will you hire freelancers or a CMO to help implement the work at hand?
  • (Who) Will you need a sales team right away?
  • (Who) How will marketing and sales work together to achieve your goals?

Your marketing and sales strategy should be backed up by the market opportunity information you provided earlier. The strategies and tactics should be aiming to reach your target market.

Next, outline the metrics that will be used to measure marketing and sales progress. You should include specifically when these metrics will be measured and who will be held accountable for them.

Finally, include a marketing and sales budget in this section. The budget should be broken down by channel and tactic, so that dollars can be accurately tracked and attributed to results.

  • Team and management structure

Up next is the team and management structure part of the business plan. To start, provide an overview of the startup’s organizational and management structure. Providing a graphical representation of the reporting structure can be helpful.

This can then lead into an overview of who owns or manages each of the key sectors of the business (CEO, CTO, CMO, etc.). It’s a good practice to provide a bio of each of the members of the leadership team, including their education, work history, and relevant expertise. Along with their bio, provide a description of their role and responsibilities within the organization.

Team And Management Structure

After you have covered the leadership team, outline the other team members along with their roles and responsibilities. Following this, include some commentary on the team’s strengths and weaknesses as well as what gaps remain within the organization. If additional staffing is required, provide a hiring plan that includes a description of the role, salary, and strategy for recruitment.

End this section with an overview of the organization’s values. Paint a picture of what it’s really like to work for your company and how you build a sense of ownership and responsibility within the team. Highlight how you intend for the team to work together to accomplish the company’s goals.

  • Key milestones

At this point in the business plan you have outlined the target market, products and services you will offer as well as the members of your team that will bring the company’s vision to life. In this section you’ll provide a timeline of the past and future milestones for your business. This will help to illustrate your startup’s growth path and how you intend to move forward.

Some key milestones to consider when writing this section:

  • When business was founded.
  • When the business was/will be launched publicly.
  • When the business was/will be profitable.
  • When the business reached/will reach funding milestones.
  • When development project milestones were/will be reached.
  • When marketing milestones were/will be reached.
  • When key staff were/will be hired.
  • Future product release dates.

You might consider showcasing this information in the form of a graphic like this:

Key Milestones

In addition to a company timeline, we recommend you include additional data in this section such as:

  • Current number of employees and the number of employees projected in the future.
  • The amount of revenue generated in the past and projected for the future
  • Key clients or contracts that have been signed or that are in the works.

This section should clearly demonstrate your startup’s ability to grow from an idea into a business. Providing concrete dates and real data in this section will provide some validity to your startup and showcase what you’re able to accomplish.

  • Financial plan

The final section of your technology startup business plan should be a financial plan. This is the section of the business plan that outlines how the business has been funded to date and how it will be financed moving forward.

There is no one way to write the financial plan section of a business plan, as the amount and type of information that needs to be included will vary depending on the business and the specific financial goals of the plan.

However, there are some basic elements that should be included in most financial plans. These include a pro forma income statement, balance sheet, sales forecast, and cash flow statement. The pro forma financial statements should be based on historical financial data, if available, and should include assumptions about future revenue and expenses. The financial plan should also include a discussion of the company's capital structure, including its debt and equity financing.

If you’re at a very early stage with your startup and seeking a modest amount of funding, it’s probably sufficient to air on the side of brevity. If you’re seeking series A, B, or C funding, you’ll likely need a very comprehensive financial summary along with a detailed plan on how the funding will be utilized to grow the business. Seek counsel from a business accountant if you’re unsure of how to provide adequate financial documentation.

We have walked through the 7 key elements of any tech startup business plan. Now we’re going to share a sample business plan template to help you get started with writing your own!

Innovation is critical to success in the software industry. The executive team of this startup believes they have the next big thing. They have developed a new software application that helps businesses manage their social media accounts more effectively. The software provides insights on when to post, what to post, and how to engage with customers. The software also allows businesses to track their social media analytics and see the return on investment for their social media campaigns.

The executive team has extensive experience in the software industry and believes this new product has the potential to be a game-changer for businesses. The team is seeking $1 million in seed funding to help with product development, marketing, and sales. The company plans to generate revenue through monthly subscription fees and by selling data analytics services to businesses.

The social media management software market is expected to grow from $9.3 billion in 2020 to $17.4 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2%. This growth is being driven by the increasing use of social media by businesses of all sizes and the need to effectively manage social media accounts to drive brand awareness and customer engagement.

The software application developed by the startup helps businesses manage their social media accounts more effectively. The software provides insights on when to post, what to post, and how to engage with customers. The software also allows businesses to track their social media analytics and see the return on investment for their social media campaigns.

The software is available on a monthly subscription basis and businesses can also purchase data analytics services to help them further understand their social media campaigns.

The company plans to generate awareness for the software through online and offline marketing campaigns. The team will target small businesses and medium businesses that are active on social media but do not have the resources to effectively manage their accounts.

The company will use a mix of paid and organic marketing to reach its target audience. For paid marketing, the company will use Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. For organic marketing, the company will use content marketing and social media outreach.

The company plans to sell the software on a monthly subscription basis. The team will offer a free trial to businesses to get them started with the software. Once the free trial expires, businesses will be charged a monthly subscription fee.

The executive team of the startup consists of experienced software professionals. The team has a proven track record of developing and marketing successful software products.

The company plans to hire a sales and marketing team to help generate awareness and drive sales of the software. The team will be based in the United States and will consist of sales and marketing professionals with experience in the software industry.

The company plans to achieve the following milestones over the next 12 months:

  • Launch the software application
  • Generate 500 paying customers
  • Achieve $1 million in annual revenue

The company is seeking $1 million in seed funding to help with product development, marketing, and sales. The company plans to generate revenue through monthly subscription fees and by selling data analytics services to businesses.

The company projects the following financials for the next 12 months:

  • Revenue: $1 million
  • Expenses: $500,000
  • Profit: $500,000

As a startup founder you know that having a software startup business plan on hand is critical to win over investors and get your business funded. However, no one wants to spend days writing a complicated it startup business plan. It’s much more important to focus on the day-to-day operation associated with building your tech startup.

To help save you time (but still create a winning startup business plan), we’ve outlined the 7 key components of any tech startup business plan:

As you tackle writing your own, make sure you refer back to this guide along with our template to ensure you’re writing a compelling business plan that is sure to win over investors!

How to describe your product and service in a business plan like a pro

It’s deceiving.

You’d think that this part of a business plan does exactly what it says on the tin–describe your product & service offering– right ?

And yes, you are partially right. 

But there’s a very specific way in which this description should be written to make sure that your business has the best chance of succeeding – in real life and under the eagle eye of a potential backer (if you’re preparing a business plan for external financing purposes).

Keep reading to find out the secret sauce to writing a winning product and service description:

WHAT is the Product and Service Description in a Business Plan?

This business plan section is also known as:

  • Product and/or Service Overview

HOW Do You Write a Product and Service Description in a Business Plan?

So, what should a good product/service overview contain?

Here are some items to consider including into this section:

1.     Portfolio:

The range of products and/or services that a business offers to potential and current customers.

2.     Features and benefits (value proposition):

Explain what the product/service does and how it works.

3.     Problem and solution (value proposition cont.):

The problem(s) the product or service solves. Every business needs to solve a problem that its customers face. Explain what the problem is and how the product or service solves it.

4.     Innovation:

If the company is doing something new and different, explain why the world needs the innovation.

5.     Proprietary advantages:

Any proprietary features that contribute to a competitive advantage. This could include: intellectual property (e.g., copyright, trademark, patent filings, trade secret), exclusive agreements with suppliers or vendors, exclusive licenses (e.g., for a product, service or technology), company’s own research and development activities.

6.     Development stage:

Current stage of development of the product / service (e.g., idea, development, testing, prototype, already on the market).

7.     Product life-cycle:

Estimate the life span of the product or service.

Specify whether the product or service under consideration is a short-lived fad or has a long-term potential.

8.     Future:

Mention plans for changes and new additions to the current portfolio of products / services.

Describe any plans to move into new markets in the future (e.g., serving different types or sizes of customers, industries, geographic areas).

Make your best guess at when the business will be ready to address these markets and what it needs to do first to be ready.

9.     Limitations:

If applicable, explain any risks or limitations associated with the product (e.g., liability issues like guarantees or returns), along with any legal advice received regarding these issues.

10.  Visual aids:

Use photos, images, diagrams and other graphics to help the reader visualize and learn about the products / services.

If the business is tackling several distinct problems through different products / services, describe the solutions individually .

However, for a large line of products / services, there is no need to list each one, just identifying the general categories will suffice.

How LONG Is the Product and Service Chapter of a Business Plan?

This part of a business plan can be very short, just a couple of paragraphs, or it can spread over multiple pages, depending on how many products/services you offer and how much explanation they require.

If your products or services are particularly complex , technical , innovative , or proprietary , you will want to provide more information and spend considerable time describing them.

This is especially true if you are seeking funding for a new product or service, particularly one that is not immediately understandable to the business plan readers, and if potential funders are likely to be motivated by the specifics.

In any case, when describing a product or service, provide just enough information to paint a clear picture of what it is and does . A brief explanation of what you will be making, selling or doing is appropriate here.

Excessive detail makes this section cumbersome for a reader to wade through. Reserve detailed descriptions (e.g., production processes) for the Appendix.

In any case, it is a good idea to first summarize the value proposition of each product or service into a one short sentence, and only then continue with a more detailed description of the product or service.

If any images or graphics are available that would contribute to the understanding of the product or service, the writers of a business plan should use them.

Otherwise, include any product or service details , such as technical specifications, drawings, photos, patent documents and other support information, in the Appendix section of the business plan document.

TOP 4 TIPS for Writing a Product and Service Overview

Tip #1: features v. benefits.

Don’t just list the features of the product / service.

Instead, describe the specific benefits it will offer to customers – from their perspective.

Make it clear what your customers will gain through buying your product or service. Include information about the specific benefits of your product or service – from your customers’ perspective.

Features are not the same thing as benefits. And you need to understand both.

Confused? Let’s clarify:

What Is the Difference Between Features and Benefits?

Tip #2: problem v. solution.

If at all possible, present the information in the Problem >> Solution format.

Start by describing the key problem that your customers have, immediately followed by the solution with which you will address this need for your target market.

Tip #3: Competitive Advantage

You should also comment on your ability to meet consumers’ key problems or unmet needs in a way that brings your product or service advantages over the competition.

For example:

  • If you have a common business, such as a restaurant:

Explain why your customers need your particular restaurant. Do you offer lower prices? More convenient hours? A better location? A different concept, such as a vegan ice-cream pop up store? A specialty that is not otherwise available in your area, such as a Peruvian ceviche or Hungarian goulash?

  • If your company is doing something new and innovative :

What is it about the existing solutions that is subpar? Maybe you are improving on a mediocre product category, such as creating better medical uniforms for healthcare workers (e.g., more flattering cut, trendy designs, sustainable materials). Or perhaps your new blockchain solution has the potential to entirely eliminate the middle-men in an entire industry.

Although the subject of competitive advantage regarding the business as a whole will be fully explored in the Market and Competitor Analysis part of a business plan, it is advisable to touch on it here also – in the context of the company’s products and service.

Tip #4: Validating the Problem and Solution

Speaking of which, when you are doing market research and analysis for your business plan, remember to validate the problem and solution your product or service is addressing.

There is a plethora of minor issues out there that people are perfectly fine with just tolerating. To build a solid business, though, you need a problem that a sufficient number of people are motivated to solve. That is, that they recognize it as a problem that’s worth paying you to solve. Even if they didn’t realize it was solvable until they were presented with your solution.

So, how do you get evidence that prospects are willing to pay for your solution?

Validation of Problem

Describe what you’ve done so far to confirm that the problem you are focused on is a real problem for your customers.

  • Existing Business:

For an established business, this is probably just a matter of recapping your success in the marketplace. Your customers have already voted with their wallets.

  • New Business:

For a startup, it is important to survey and have conversations with as many potential customers as possible about where they are having problems, how they solve them today, and validate that they are interested enough in addressing those problems to pay for a good solution.

Validation of Solution

Describe how you have tested your ideas with existing or potential customers to confirm that there is a good market for the products or services you plan to offer. Summarize the positive customer feedback or market traction that you have achieved with your solution so far.

For an established business, the answers probably lie in your paying customer base – their existence itself, combined with their repeat business, word-of-mouth referrals, follow-up customer surveys, and other indicators of customer satisfaction.

For a new business, you can start validating your solution immediately by trying it out with potential customers, even informally or at no charge, to get their opinion. If your product or service does not exist yet, talk to prospects about what you plan to offer and measure their feedback.

In summary, this section should answer the million dollar question:

What makes you think that people will buy, be satisfied with, and recommend your products or services?

Related Questions

What are products and services.

Products and services are items that businesses offer for sale to a market. While services are intangible, meaning that they do not exist in a physical form, products are of tangible nature, in other words – you can touch them.

What is a Product Line?

Product line is a group of related products that are all produced or sold by one entity and typically marketed under one brand name.

What is a Service Line?

Service line is a group of related services that are all produced or sold by one entity and typically marketed under one brand name.

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Business Terms

The 70 Business Terms Every Manager Needs To Know

  • Templates & Guides

Business terms can be confusing. To help you get familiar with this specialized language, the management experts at Sling  have created a list of the 70 business terms every manager needs to know.

Finance Business Terms

Return on investment (ROI) refers to all the benefits — monetary  or otherwise — received from an investment.

2) Incentivize

Provide an incentive (a motivation) for using a product or service.

3) Monetize

Make money from a product or activity.

4) Deliverable

Manager writing business terms

A product or service developed by a business.

Profit from a product or service after all expenses have been covered. Often referred to as a percentage.

6) Accounts Payable

A record of the money you owe to the people and businesses that helped you create your product or service .

7) Accounts Receivable

A record of the money that other people and businesses owe to you.

Capital often refers to money, but it can also be used to refer to everything your business owns and uses to function (e.g., equipment, vehicles, buildings, land, etc.).

9) Fixed Costs

Costs you must pay whether your business is doing well or not. Expenses such as utilities, rent, and employee salaries are considered fixed costs.

10) Variable Costs

Variable costs are expenses that fluctuate based on your volume of business . They include:

  • Commissions
  • Hourly wages

Gross refers to the total amount or quantity BEFORE deductions or expenses.

Net refers to the amount or quantity AFTER deductions or expenses.

Systems & Technology Business Terms

Manager using technology to learn business terms

13) Benchmarking

The process by which you measure various aspects of your systems (e.g., speed, efficiency, cost, amount of product).

SWOT is an acronym that refers to a form of analysis that examines your:

  • Opportunities

KPI is an acronym that stands for Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are usually numbers that tell you how effective your business is in a specific area.

16) Metrics

Any quantifiable (countable) measurement your business uses to assess performance .

17) Performance Review

A performance review  is a process by which a manager evaluates each member of his or her team. During the performance review , the manager provides feedback  and helps the employee see how they can improve.

18) R&D

Short for research and development.

B2B is short for business-to-business and describes a business transaction with another business.

Short for business-to-consumer and describes transactions with individual consumers .

Short for business-to-government and describes transactions with government entities.

22) Scalable

Manager working on two computers

Able to be changed in size.

23) Responsive Design

This term refers to a website that changes based on the type of device (tablet, phone, laptop, desktop) used to view it.

24) Core Competency

A core competency is a defining capability or advantage that distinguishes you from your competitors. ADD_THIS_TEXT

Sales & Marketing Business Terms

25) unique selling proposition.

A specific factor that differentiates your product or service from your direct competitor (e.g., cost, quality, added use).

25) Niche Market

A very specific segment of a larger market .

26) Marketing

The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.

27) Market Research

The action or activity of gathering information about consumers’ needs and preferences so you can provide just the right product or service.

28) Market Penetration

A measure of the extent of a product’s sales volume relative to the total sales volume of all competing products.

29) Inbound Marketing

Digital (i.e., internet-based) marketing that includes podcasts, video, email broadcasts, social media , ebooks, and SEO.

30) Buyer Persona

The characteristics of your ideal buyer.

31) A/B Testing

Testing two versions (an A version and a B version) to see which one performs better.

32) Analytics

Data from a variety of sources used to inform marketing efforts.

A product, identity, or image that generates awareness and separates your business from others.

34) Bounce Rate

How often people visit your website  and leave without clicking on anything.

Click Through Rate tells you how many people are moving through your website toward purchasing your product or service.

Short for Content Management System and refers to a program (usually software) that manages all aspects of creating digital content.

37) Conversion Rate

Percentage of people who take a desired action (usually on your website).

Short for Customer Relationship Management. Refers to software that helps you organize your marketing activity.

Short for Cost Per Lead and refers to the total marketing cost necessary to acquire a lead (potential buyer).

40) Demographics

Demographics are data points that apply to your target market, such as age, sex, income, and family status.

41) Digital Marketing

Example of digital marketing as a business term

Marketing conducted solely on the internet.

42) Evergreen

Content that is valuable to a consumer regardless of when it is read.

43) Friction

Any aspect of your image , brand, product, or website that is hard to understand (causes friction between it and the consumer).

44) Infographic

Content that combines words and images to make complex information easy to understand.

Pay Per Click — advertising on the internet where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

Search Engine Optimization — optimizing your website so that it ranks higher on the results page of a search engine.

47) Sales Funnel

The entire sales process as a whole.

Top Of The Funnel — refers to the initial stages of the sales funnel, where the consumer is looking for answers to a problem that may involve your product or service.

Middle Of The Funnel — refers to the middle stages of the sales funnel, where your business positions itself as the solution to the consumer’s problem.

Bottom Of The Funnel — refers to the end stages of the sales funnel, where a consumer is ready to buy.

51) User Experience

The total experience — from purchase and beyond — a user has with your brand.

General Business Terms

52) run with it.

Take an idea  and investigate it further.

53) Loop You In

Include in the discussion.

54) Live And Breathe It 24/7/365

Work at something all the time to the exclusion of everything else.

55) Be Proactive

Take the initiative.

56) Don’t Go There

We’re not discussing that right now.

57) A Walk In The Park

Used to refer to a simple task.

58) Take It To The Next Level

Step up your efforts.

59) Aggressive Timeline

A timeline that is too short and doesn’t provide enough room to get everything finished.

60) 4th And Inches

Football metaphor that means you’re close to the end and you need to put everything you have into reaching completion.

61) Manage The Optics

Move the facts around in your favor.

62) Circle Back

We’ll get back to that if we have time.

63) Ballpark

Estimate something.

64) Think Outside The Box

Example of a manager's workspace

Get creative.

65) Go Back And Sharpen Your Pencils

Come up with some new ideas.

66) Not Enough Boots On The Ground

Not enough people  working on a task.

67) Housekeeping

Mundane organization and project issues.

68) Clean House

Fire a large group of people.

69) Square The Circle

Do things differently.

70) Cash Cow

Someone or something that brings in a lot of money.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com  today.

See Here For Last Updated Dates: Link

This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.

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Glossary of business terms - A to Z

Accounts Actively managed funds Actuary Administration After-hours dealing Allocation rate Alternative investment market Annual bonus Annual equivalent rate (AER) Annual general meeting (AGM) Annual percentage rate (APR) Annuity Arbitrage Asset stripping Auditors Average (arithmetic mean) Average earnings growth

Balance of payments Balance sheet Bank of England Bank of England's inflation report Banker's draft Base rate Bear market Bid-offer spread Black swan Blue chip Bond Bridging loan British Retail Consortium Broker Budget Buildings insurance Bull market Business cycle Buy-out Buy-to-let mortgage

CAC 40 index Carry trade CBI industrial trends Capital account Capital gain Capital gains tax Capital ratios - Tier 1 and Tier 2 CDOs Central bank Chapter 11 bankruptcy Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Chartists Chinese walls City of London Collateral Commercial paper Commodity Competition Commission Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Consumer Prices Index (CPI) Consumer confidence Contents insurance Corporate raiders Corporation tax Cost-push inflation Council tax Credit crunch Credit default swaps Credit reference agency Current account

Day trading Dead cat bounce Defined benefit pension Defined contribution pension Deflation Demand-pull inflation Demutualisation Depression Derivatives Diminishing returns Discount mortgage Dividend Dividend yield Dow Jones industrial average

Ebit Ebitda Earnings per share (EPS) Economic growth Economies of scale Elasticity Endowment policy Enterprise value Equity Equity derivatives Ethical investment European Bank for Reconstruction and Development European Central Bank Externalities

Final salary pension scheme Financial Services Authority Financial year Fiscal policy Fiscal year Fixed costs Fixed-rate mortgage Flexible mortgage Foreign exchange (Forex) Freehold FTSE 100 index FTSE 250 FTSE 350 FTSE All-Share FTSE SmallCap FTSE TechMARK FTSE4Good Futures

Gazumping Gazundering Gearing Gilts Glass-Steagall Act Gold Golden handcuffs Golden handshake Golden hello Golden parachute Golden rule Golden share Greenback Grey knight Gross domestic product (GDP) Gross national product (GNP) Ground rent Group of Eight (G8) Group of Seven (G7) Guaranteed annuity rate Guarantor

Half year Hang Seng Hedge funds Home reversion plan Horizontal merger Hostile takeover House price surveys Hyperinflation

Income protection insurance Income statement Income tax Independent financial adviser (IFA) Individual savings account (Isa) Industrial output Inflation Inflation measures Inheritance tax Insider trading Institutional investor Interest-only mortgage Interim Investment trust Invisible hand Irrational exuberance

Joint account

Keynesian economics

Laissez-faire Leasehold Leveraged buyout Libor rate Liquid asset Lloyd's of London Loan-to-value London Stock Exchange

Macroeconomics Managed fund Manufacturing output Margin Median Merger Microeconomics Minimum wage Monetarism Monetary policy committee Money supply Monopoly Mortgage broker Mortgage indemnity protection/guarantee Mortgage term Mutual Mutual fund

Naked short-selling Nasdaq National Economic Council NIESR National debt National insurance Negative equity Net asset value New York Stock Exchange Nikkei 225 Nominal interest rate Nominal values Non-executive director

Occupational pension scheme Office for National Statistics (ONS) Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Offshore account Old Lady of Threadneedle Street Oligopoly Open-market operations Operating profit/loss Option Ordinary residence Ordinary share Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Organisation of petroleum exporting countries (Opec) Overdraft

Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Percentage change Permanent interest-bearing shares (Pibs) Personal loan Poison pill Ponzi scheme Portfolio Pound Poverty trap Precipice bonds Preference shares Preliminary announcement (prelim) Premium bonds Price to earnings ratio (PE ratio) Primary discount rate Privatisation Producer price index Profit and loss account Profit Participating Deferred Shares Profits Public company Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) Purchasing power parity

Quantitative easing Quantity theory of money Quarterly report Quota

Rally Random walk theory Rate of return Ratings agencies Real estate investment trusts Real interest rate Real values Recession Regressive tax Regulatory News Service (RNS) Repayment mortgage Retail Prices Index (RPI) Retirement age Reverse takeover Rights issue Royal Mint

Savings account Second-lien loan Securities and Exchange Commission Security Self-certification mortgage Self-invested personal pensions (Sipps) Self-select Isa Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Share index Share options Shareholder Short selling SIVs Smith, Adam Soft commodities (softs) Sonia Special liquidity scheme Split capital investment trusts Spot market/spot price Square Mile Stagflation Stakeholder pensions Stamp duty (equities) Stamp duty (housing) Standard & Poor's 500 stock index Stock Stock exchange Sub-prime loans Supply and demand Swaps

Takeover Takeover Panel Takeover bid Tangible Common Equity Ratio Tarp (troubled asset relief programme) Tax haven Teaser rate Term assurance Terminal bonus Tracker funds Trade balance Treasury Turnover

Underwriter (insurance) Underwriter (shares) Unemployment Unit trust Unquoted shares

Value added tax (VAT) Variable rate mortgage Vertical merger Volume Vulture funds

Wall Street Weighted average White knight Whole-of-life policy Windfall tax Without-profits policy Write down, write off

Yen carry trade Yield

Zero interest rates Zombie funds

Most viewed

How to write a business plan for a technical and vocational college?

technical and vocational college business plan

Writing a business plan for a technical and vocational college can be an intimidating task, especially for those just starting.

This in-depth guide is designed to help entrepreneurs like you understand how to create a comprehensive business plan so that you can approach the exercise with method and confidence.

We'll cover: why writing a technical and vocational college business plan is so important - both when starting up, and when running and growing the business - what information you need to include in your plan, how it should be structured, and what tools you can use to get the job done efficiently.

Let's get started!

In this guide:

Why write a business plan for a technical and vocational college?

What information is needed to create a business plan for a technical and vocational college.

  • What goes in the financial forecast for a technical and vocational college?
  • What goes in the written part of a technical and vocational college business plan?
  • What tool can I use to write my technical and vocational college business plan?

Having a clear understanding of why you want to write a business plan for your technical and vocational college will make it simpler for you to grasp the rationale behind its structure and content. So before delving into the plan's actual details, let's take a moment to remind ourselves of the primary reasons why you'd want to create a technical and vocational college business plan.

To have a clear roadmap to grow the business

Small businesses rarely experience a constant and predictable environment. Economic cycles go up and down, while the business landscape is mutating constantly with new regulations, technologies, competitors, and consumer behaviours emerging when we least expect it.

In this dynamic context, it's essential to have a clear roadmap for your technical and vocational college. Otherwise, you are navigating in the dark which is dangerous given that - as a business owner - your capital is at risk.

That's why crafting a well-thought-out business plan is crucial to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of your venture.

To create an effective business plan, you'll need to take a step-by-step approach. First, you'll have to assess your current position (if you're already in business), and then identify where you'd like your technical and vocational college to be in the next three to five years.

Once you have a clear destination for your technical and vocational college, you'll focus on three key areas:

  • Resources: you'll determine the human, equipment, and capital resources needed to reach your goals successfully.
  • Speed: you'll establish the optimal pace at which your business needs to grow if it is to meet its objectives within the desired timeframe.
  • Risks: you'll identify and address potential risks you might encounter along the way.

By going through this process regularly, you'll be able to make informed decisions about resource allocation, paving the way for the long-term success of your business.

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The Business Plan Shop makes it easy to create a financial forecast to assess the potential profitability of your projects, and write a business plan that’ll wow investors.

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To maintain visibility on future cash flows

Businesses can go for years without making a profit, but they go bust as soon as they run out of cash. That's why "cash is king", and maintaining visibility on your technical and vocational college's future cash flows is critical.

How do I do that? That's simple: you need an up-to-date financial forecast.

The good news is that your technical and vocational college business plan already contains a financial forecast (more on that later in this guide), so all you have to do is to keep it up-to-date.

To do this, you need to regularly compare the actual financial performance of your business to what was planned in your financial forecast, and adjust the forecast based on the current trajectory of your business.

Monitoring your technical and vocational college's financial health will enable you to identify potential financial problems (such as an unexpected cash shortfall) early and to put in place corrective measures. It will also allow you to detect and capitalize on potential growth opportunities (higher demand from a given segment of customers for example).

To secure financing

Crafting a comprehensive business plan for your technical and vocational college, whether you're starting up or already established, is paramount when you're seeking financing from banks or investors.

Given how fragile small businesses are, financiers will want to ensure that you have a clear roadmap in place as well as command and control of your future cash flows before entertaining the idea of funding you.

For banks, the information in your business plan will be used to assess your borrowing capacity - which is defined as the maximum amount of debt your business can afford alongside your ability to repay the loan. This evaluation helps them decide whether to extend credit to your business and under what terms (interest rate, duration, repayment options, collateral, etc.).

Similarly, investors will thoroughly review your plan to determine if their investment can yield an attractive return. They'll be looking for evidence that your technical and vocational college has the potential for healthy growth, profitability, and consistent cash flow generation over time.

Now that you understand the importance of creating a business plan for your technical and vocational college, let's delve into the necessary information needed to craft an effective plan.

Writing a technical and vocational college business plan requires research so that you can project sales, investments and cost accurately in your financial forecast.

In this section, we cover three key pieces of information you should gather before drafting your business plan!

Carrying out market research for a technical and vocational college

As you consider writing your business plan for a technical and vocational college, conducting market research becomes a vital step to ensure accurate and realistic financial projections.

Market research provides valuable insights into your target customer base, competitors, pricing strategies, and other key factors that can significantly impact the commercial success of your business.

Through this research, you may uncover trends that could influence your technical and vocational college.

You may find that potential students may be more interested in flexible learning options, such as online or part-time courses. Additionally, you could discover that there might be a need for more courses related to emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence or big data.

Such market trends play a significant role in forecasting revenue, as they offer valuable data about potential customers' spending habits and preferences.

By incorporating these findings into your financial projections, you can present investors with more accurate information, helping them make informed decisions about investing in your technical and vocational college.

Developing the marketing plan for a technical and vocational college

Before delving into your technical and vocational college business plan, it's imperative to budget for sales and marketing expenses.

To achieve this, a comprehensive sales and marketing plan is essential. This plan should provide an accurate projection of the necessary actions to acquire and retain customers.

Additionally, it will outline the required workforce to carry out these initiatives and the corresponding budget for promotions, advertising, and other marketing endeavours.

By budgeting accordingly, you can ensure that the right resources are allocated to these vital activities, aligning them with the sales and growth objectives outlined in your business plan.

The staffing and equipment needs of a technical and vocational college

Whether you are at the beginning stages of your technical and vocational college or expanding its horizons, having a clear plan for recruitment and capital expenditures (investment in equipment and real estate) is vital to ensure your business's success.

To achieve this, both the recruitment and investment plans must align coherently with the projected timing and level of growth in your forecast. It is essential to secure appropriate funding for these plans.

Staffing costs for a technical and vocational college might include salaries for teachers, administrators, and support staff, as well as benefits such as health insurance and retirement contributions. Equipment costs could include computers, software, textbooks, lab equipment, and other materials needed for teaching and learning.

To create a financial forecast that accurately represents your business's outlook, remember to factor in other day-to-day operating expenses.

Now that you have all the necessary information, it's time to dive in and start creating your business plan and developing the financial forecast for your technical and vocational college.

What goes into your technical and vocational college's financial forecast?

The financial forecast of your technical and vocational college's business plan will enable you to assess the growth, profitability, funding requirements, and cash generation potential of your business in the coming years.

The four key outputs of a financial forecast for a technical and vocational college are:

  • The profit and loss (P&L) statement ,
  • The projected balance sheet ,
  • The cash flow forecast ,
  • And the sources and uses table .

Let's look at each of these in a bit more detail.

The projected P&L statement

The projected P&L statement for a technical and vocational college shows how much revenue and profits your business is expected to generate in the future.

projected profit and loss statement example in a technical and vocational college business plan

Ideally, your technical and vocational college's P&L statement should show:

  • Healthy growth - above inflation level
  • Improving or stable profit margins
  • Positive net profit

Expectations will vary based on the stage of your business. A startup will be expected to grow faster than an established technical and vocational college. And similarly, an established company should showcase a higher level of profitability than a new venture.

The projected balance sheet of your technical and vocational college

Your technical and vocational college's forecasted balance sheet enables the reader of your plan to assess your financial structure, working capital, and investment policy.

It is composed of three types of elements: assets, liabilities and equity:

  • Assets: represent what the business owns and uses to produce cash flows. It includes resources such as cash, equipment, and accounts receivable (money owed by clients).
  • Liabilities: represent funds advanced to the business by lenders and other creditors. It includes items such as accounts payable (money owed to suppliers), taxes due and loans.
  • Equity: is the combination of what has been invested by the business owners and the cumulative profits and losses generated by the business to date (which are called retained earnings). Equity is a proxy for the value of the owner's stake in the business.

example of forecasted balance sheet in a technical and vocational college business plan

Your technical and vocational college's balance sheet will usually be analyzed in conjunction with the other financial statements included in your forecast.

Two key points of focus will be:

  • Your technical and vocational college's liquidity: does your business have sufficient cash and short-term assets to pay what it owes over the next 12 months?
  • And its solvency: does your business have the capacity to repay its debt over the medium-term?

The projected cash flow statement

A cash flow forecast for a technical and vocational college shows how much cash the business is projected to generate or consume.

example of cash flow forecast in a technical and vocational college business plan

The cash flow statement is divided into 3 main areas:

  • The operating cash flow shows how much cash is generated or consumed by the operations (running the business)
  • The investing cash flow shows how much cash is being invested in capital expenditure (equipment, real estate, etc.)
  • The financing cash flow shows how much cash is raised or distributed to investors and lenders

Looking at the cash flow forecast helps you to ensure that your business has enough cash to keep running, and can help you anticipate potential cash shortfalls.

It is also a best practice to include a monthly cash flow statement in the appendices of your technical and vocational college business plan so that the readers can view the impact of seasonality on your business cash position and generation.

The initial financing plan

The sources and uses table or initial financing plan is a key component of your business plan when starting a technical and vocational college.

It shows where the capital needed to set up the business will come from (sources) and how it will be spent (uses).

sources and uses table in a technical and vocational college business plan

This table helps size the investment required to set up the technical and vocational college, and understand how risks will be distributed between the business owners, and the financiers.

The sources and uses table also highlights what the starting cash position will be. This is key for startups as the business needs to have sufficient funding to sustain operations until the break-even point is reached.

Now that you have a clear understanding of what will go into the financial forecast of your technical and vocational college business plan, let's have a look at the written part of the plan.

The written part of a technical and vocational college business plan

The written part of a technical and vocational college business plan is composed of 7 main sections:

  • The executive summary
  • The presentation of the company
  • The products and services
  • The market analysis
  • The strategy
  • The operations
  • The financial plan

Throughout these sections, you will seek to provide the reader with the details and context needed for them to form a view on whether or not your business plan is achievable and your forecast a realistic possibility.

Let's go through the content of each section in more detail!

1. The executive summary

The executive summary, the first section of your technical and vocational college's business plan, serves as an inviting snapshot of your entire plan, leaving readers eager to know more about your business.

To compose an effective executive summary, start with a concise introduction of your business, covering its name, concept, location, history, and unique aspects. Share insights about the services or products you intend to offer and your target customer base.

Subsequently, provide an overview of your technical and vocational college's addressable market, highlighting current trends and potential growth opportunities.

Then, present a summary of critical financial figures, such as projected revenues, profits, and cash flows.

You should then include a summary of your key financial figures such as projected revenues, profits, and cash flows.

Lastly, address any funding needs in the "ask" section of your executive summary.

2. The presentation of the company

The second section in your technical and vocational college's business plan should focus on the structure and ownership, location, and management team of the company.

The structure and ownership part provides an overview of the legal structure of the business, who the owners are and how much each has invested and owns. If you are seeking financing it is important that the reader gets a clear picture of which legal entity is receiving the funds, and who controls the business.

The location part should give an overview of the premises from which the company is operating, and why that location is of particular interest (catchment area, accessibility, amenities nearby, etc.).

When describing the location of your technical and vocational college, you may emphasize its access to a large labor market and highly skilled workforce.

You could also note that the region is home to several major universities and colleges, providing students with access to a highly educated population. Additionally, the area may have a diverse economy with a variety of industries, providing students with access to a range of internship and job opportunities.

Furthermore, the region could be a prime location for a technical and vocational college due to its proximity to major transportation hubs, allowing students to access other regions easily. Finally, you could emphasize the region's ability to attract students from a variety of backgrounds, as the area could be known for its vibrant cultural attractions and diverse communities

Finally, you should introduce the management team. Explain each member's role, background, and experience.

It is also important to emphasize any past successes that the members of the management team have achieved, and how long they've been working together, as this will help potential lenders or investors understand why they should trust in their leadership.

3. The products and services section

The products and services section of your technical and vocational college business plan should include a detailed description of what your company sells to its customers. 

For example, your technical and vocational college might offer a variety of online and in-person courses in areas such as business, technology, engineering, and hospitality. Additionally, your school might offer career counseling services to help students identify and pursue job opportunities that align with their skills and interests. Finally, the college could provide job placement services to assist with resume writing, interviewing techniques, and networking. These services can help students gain the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to launch successful careers.

The reader will want to understand what makes your technical and vocational college unique from other businesses in this competitive market.

When drafting this section, you should be precise about the categories of products or services you sell, the clients you are targeting and the channels that you are targeting them through. 

4. The market analysis

When outlining your market analysis in the technical and vocational college business plan, it's essential to include comprehensive details about customers' demographics and segmentation, target market, competition, barriers to entry, and relevant regulations.

The primary aim of this section is to give the reader an understanding of the market size and appeal while demonstrating your expertise in the industry.

To begin, delve into the demographics and segmentation subsection, providing an overview of the addressable market for your technical and vocational college, key marketplace trends, and introducing various customer segments and their preferences in terms of purchasing habits and budgets.

Next, shift your focus to the target market subsection, where you can zoom in on the specific customer segments your technical and vocational college targets. Explain how your products and services are tailored to meet the unique needs of these customers.

For example, your target market might include individuals who are looking for career-oriented education. This could include students who have just graduated high school but are looking for a more specialized education, as well as people who are looking to switch their career paths. This could be anyone from a recent college graduate to someone looking to pursue a new career several years into their current role.

In the competition subsection, introduce your main competitors and explain what sets your technical and vocational college apart from them.

Finally, round off your market analysis by providing an overview of the main regulations that apply to your technical and vocational college.

5. The strategy section

When crafting the strategy section of your business plan for your technical and vocational college, it's important to cover several key aspects, including your competitive edge, pricing strategy, sales & marketing plan, milestones, and risks and mitigants.

In the competitive edge subsection, clearly explain what sets your company apart from competitors. This is particularly critical if you're a startup, as you'll be trying to establish your presence in the marketplace among entrenched players.

The pricing strategy subsection should demonstrate how you aim to maintain profitability while offering competitive prices to your customers.

For the sales & marketing plan, outline how you plan to reach and acquire new customers, as well as retain existing ones through loyalty programs or special offers.

In the milestones subsection, detail what your company has achieved thus far and outline your primary objectives for the coming years by including specific dates for expected progress. This ensures everyone involved has clear expectations.

Lastly, in the risks and mitigants subsection, list the main risks that could potentially impact the execution of your plan. Explain the measures you've taken to minimize these risks. This is vital for investors or lenders to feel confident in supporting your venture - try to proactively address any objection they might have.

Your technical and vocational college faces many risks. One risk your college may face is a decrease in student enrollment. This could be due to a change in the local economy or a lack of interest in the educational programs offered. Another risk your college could face is the inability to secure funding for new programs or initiatives. This may be due to changes in the availability of government grants or a lack of local philanthropic support.

6. The operations section

The operations of your technical and vocational college must be presented in detail in your business plan.

The first thing you should cover in this section is your staffing team, the main roles, and the overall recruitment plan to support the growth expected in your business plan. You should also outline the qualifications and experience necessary to fulfil each role, and how you intend to recruit (using job boards, referrals, or headhunters).

You should then state the operating hours of your technical and vocational college - so that the reader can check the adequacy of your staffing levels - and any plans for varying opening times during peak season. Additionally, the plan should include details on how you will handle customer queries outside of normal operating hours.

The next part of this section should focus on the key assets and IP required to operate your business. If you depend on any licenses or trademarks, physical structures (equipment or property) or lease agreements, these should all go in there.

You may have physical assets such as buildings and tools, as well as intellectual property such as proprietary software or trade secrets. The college might also possess the expertise of its staff and the support materials used in its courses, which could be valuable for potential investors.

Finally, you should include a list of suppliers that you plan to work with and a breakdown of their services and main commercial terms (price, payment terms, contract duration, etc.). Investors are always keen to know if there is a particular reason why you have chosen to work with a specific supplier (higher-quality products or past relationships for example).

7. The presentation of the financial plan

The financial plan section is where we will include the financial forecast we discussed earlier in this guide.

Now that you have a clear idea of what goes into a technical and vocational college business plan, let's look at some of the tools you can use to create yours efficiently.

What tool should I use to write my technical and vocational college's business plan?

In this section, we will be reviewing the two main solutions for creating a technical and vocational college business plan:

  • Using specialized online business plan software,
  • Outsourcing the plan to the business plan writer.

Using an online business plan software for your technical and vocational college's business plan

Using online business planning software is the most efficient and modern way to create a technical and vocational college business plan.

There are several advantages to using specialized software:

  • You can easily create your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
  • You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
  • You can access a library of dozens of complete business plan samples and templates for inspiration
  • You get a professional business plan, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank or investors
  • You can easily track your actual financial performance against your financial forecast
  • You can create scenarios to stress test your forecast's main assumptions
  • You can easily update your forecast as time goes by to maintain visibility on future cash flows
  • You have a friendly support team on standby to assist you when you are stuck

If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try The Business Plan Shop for free by signing up here .

Hiring a business plan writer to write your technical and vocational college's business plan

Outsourcing your technical and vocational college business plan to a business plan writer can also be a viable option.

These writers possess valuable experience in crafting business plans and creating accurate financial forecasts. Additionally, enlisting their services can save you precious time, enabling you to concentrate on the day-to-day operations of your business.

It's important to be mindful, though, that hiring business plan writers comes with a cost. You'll be paying not just for their time but also for the software they use, and their profit margin.

Based on experience, a complete business plan usually requires a budget of at least £1.5k ($2.0k) excluding tax, and more if revisions are needed after initial meetings with lenders or investors - changes often arise following these discussions.

When seeking investment, be cautious about spending too much on consulting fees. Investors prefer their funds to contribute directly to business growth. Thus, the amount you spend on business plan writing services and other consulting services should be negligible compared to the amount you raise.

Another aspect to consider is that while you'll receive the output of the business plan, you usually won't own the actual document. It will be saved in the consultant's business plan software, which will make updating the plan challenging without retaining the consultant on a retainer.

Given these factors, it's essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing your technical and vocational college business plan to a business plan writer and decide what best suits your business's unique needs.

Why not create your technical and vocational college's business plan using Word or Excel?

Using Microsoft Excel and Word (or their Google, Apple, or open-source equivalents) to write a technical and vocational college business plan is not advisable. Allow me to explain the reasons.

Firstly, creating an accurate and error-free financial forecast on Excel or any spreadsheet demands technical expertise in accounting principles and financial modelling. Without a degree in finance and accounting and significant financial modelling experience, it's unlikely that the reader will fully trust your numbers.

Secondly, relying on spreadsheets is inefficient. While it may have been the go-to option in the past, technology has evolved, and software now performs such tasks much faster and more accurately.

The second reason is that it is inefficient. Building forecasts on spreadsheets was the only option in the early 2000s, nowadays technology has advanced and software can do it much faster and much more accurately.

And with the rise of AI, software is also becoming smarter at helping us detect mistakes in our forecasts and helping us analyse the numbers to make better decisions.

Moreover, software offers ease in comparing actuals versus forecasts and maintaining up-to-date forecasts for clear visibility on future cash flows, as we discussed earlier in this guide. Such tasks are cumbersome when using spreadsheets.

Now, let's address the written part of your technical and vocational college business plan. While it may be less prone to errors, using software can significantly boost productivity. Word processors lack instructions and examples for each section of your business plan. They also won't automatically update your numbers when changes occur in your forecast, and they lack automated formatting capabilities.

In summary, while some entrepreneurs may consider Word or Excel for their business plan, it's far from the best or most efficient solution when compared to specialized software.

  • Having an up-to-date business plan is key to maintaining visibility on your future cash flows.
  • A business plan has 2 parts: a financial forecast highlighting the expected growth, profitability and cash generation of the business; and a written part which provides the context needed to interpret and assess the quality of the forecast.
  • Using business plan software is the modern way of writing and maintaining business plans.

We hope that this guide helped you to better understand how to write the business plan for a technical and vocational college. If you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Also on The Business Plan Shop

  • How to write a 5 years business plan
  • Internal plan vs business plan
  • How long should your business plan be?
  • Is business proposal and business plan the same?
  • Business plan myths

Know someone who owns or wants to start a technical and vocational college? Share this article with them!

Guillaume Le Brouster

Founder & CEO at The Business Plan Shop Ltd

Guillaume Le Brouster is a seasoned entrepreneur and financier.

Guillaume has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade and has first-hand experience of starting, running, and growing a successful business.

Prior to being a business owner, Guillaume worked in investment banking and private equity, where he spent most of his time creating complex financial forecasts, writing business plans, and analysing financial statements to make financing and investment decisions.

Guillaume holds a Master's Degree in Finance from ESCP Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Business & Management from Paris Dauphine University.

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    6. The operations section. The operations of your technical and vocational college must be presented in detail in your business plan. The first thing you should cover in this section is your staffing team, the main roles, and the overall recruitment plan to support the growth expected in your business plan.