What Are the Essential Elements of a Business Plan?
How to draft a perfect business plan for your EB5 green card?
If you are applying for certain types of US Visas (EB-5, L-1, E-1, and E-2), your attorney might recommend a business plan to support your petition.
Whether you’re hiring a professional writer or creating your own business plan, it’s important to understand the key points that should be included in every business plan. A good writer will have a clear understanding of the specific needs of your case, emphasizing the most important points for pertaining to your business. Overall, every standard business plan should include:
- Executive Summary
- Business Description
- Products and Services
- Competitive Landscape
- Industry Overview
- Marketing Plan and Market Analysis
- Operations Plan
Realistically, this may be the only section your reviewer reads carefully and it should draw out the most important information from your plan. It should flow as a standalone section but may use language repeated verbatim in the plan.
This section generally includes a brief “who, what, where, when” description of your business, history of the business, vision and mission statement, business goals for the next five years, and location details of your business. Including pictures of your US office location may be helpful.
Products and Services
This section generally includes a description of your products and/or services as well as information about the stage of development your products and services are in currently.
Benchmarking your business against others is extremely useful to put your business in context. Even if there are no other competitors in the marketplace exactly like your business, it is important to communicate how your potential customers are currently getting their market needs met. What are their alternatives? This section should include information about each competitor and should describe how your company stands out from the competition–what are the competitive advantages and unique aspects of your business? A good writer will help you research this information.
Along with comparing your business to competitors, putting your business in the context of the entire industry is useful to explain industry trends and issues that might affect your business. What are some specific environmental, socio-cultural, economic, political concerns and overall industry trends related to your field? A professional writer should have access to research databases and will cite sources to provide credible data in this section.
This section should communicate your marketing and sales strategy and why that strategy was chosen to reach your target market. An overview of the target market and their characteristics should be included to convey your keen understanding of how your product/service meets a market demand and that the market demand is strong enough to support your financial projections. A pricing strategy is also helpful to include.
This section is especially crucial for immigrant investors. It’s important to emphasize your strong business leadership and hiring plan. A clear organizational chart is key in this section, along with qualifications of managers, number of employees, and their annual salaries. This section may also include a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), and implementation plan.
Your business needs to be progressively profitable. Your current financial state (start-up financing or previous financial statements for existing businesses) and five years of financial projections, including one year of monthly cash flow projections should be included.
Resources: Business Plan Templates
Every business plan will have some variations; the above is designed as a brief guide to inform you when writing your own business plan or hiring a professional. Some sections may be emphasized more than others, depending on the unique needs of your particular business. Expect your writer to work closely with you and your attorney to ensure all details of your plan are accurate and consistent with other documents to be submitted in your case. The resources below may be helpful to review when considering the essential elements most appropriate for your specific business plan.
- Small Business Development Center (http://www.sba.gov/tools/business-plan/1)
- Business Plan Pro Software (http://www.businessplanpro.com)
Click here to read more about Business Plan for EB5 and E2 visa.
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Author : Kerri Feazell is the owner of Immigration Visa Plans, a boutique consulting firm that provides professionally written business plans for EB-5, L-1, E-1, and E-2 investors applying for US visas as well as specialty writing services. Kerri has written over 100 business plans for entrepreneurs of all types. To find out more about her services or ask a question, visit her website.