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5 important parts of a successful business plan

Starting a new business is about more than just having a great idea and some cash to fund it. Without the right components in your business plan, your ideas may flop and you may become that has-been before you even have a chance to get off the ground. When you're thinking of starting a business and want to be successful for more than a few months, your business plan should have the following five vital elements.

1. Vision or mission statement

Sure, you want your products to fly off the shelves, but do you have a bigger goal or mission? Think long term when you determine what you are trying to create. It's about more than just a product; it's about creating an organization that you can be proud of five or 10 years down the road. Think past the first year and flesh out what your true vision or mission is for your company.

2. Detailed description of service or product

Unless you are selling an idea that has never been discovered, you must show your audience why the item you have is better. Come up with a strong, detailed description of your product or service, and identify the pieces that make it completely unique and better than the others on the market. Provide this to your customers up front so they can see why they should choose you over the other options.

3. Marketing plan for product or service

Marketing options change daily, and just relying on TV ads or the yellow pages isn't going to get you anywhere in today's digital world. Every successful business has a strong marketing plan in place before conception to guarantee it can spread the word about what it has to offer. You have this amazing product and it's different, but how do you plan to tell the world about it?

4. Opportunity, threat, strength and weakness analysis

The more you know, the better your chances are. Address your strengths and weaknesses head on so you know how to counteract problems. What opportunities does your product offer, and what threats are you going to face as you grow your business?

5. Revenue projections

How much money can you realistically expect to make off your product in the first year or the first five years? You'll want a projected goal and a stretch goal to set your standards high and encourage employees to work harder to reach them.

While starting a business can be a risk, the rewards when it becomes a success are many. If you are thinking of creating a business plan, an attorney may be able to help you flesh out problems early.

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