New Business Development > Starting a Business > Feasibility and Business Plans

Create Your Own Business Plan -- Project/Business

File C5-69
Updated March, 2010

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Business/Project Description and Background

In this section you can give an overview of your project or business.  Provide both a current description and background information.

You may want to consider the following points in preparing this section.

1. Description

  • Briefly describe the business or project.  This should provide an overview of what you are planning to do. You will go into more depth on some of these issues in later parts of the plan.
  • What type of business are you planning (production, processing, manufacturing, marketing, service, other)? What does it produce and what market does it serve?
  • What is the stage of your business? – investigation, proof of concept, start-up, ram-up, expansion, merger/consolidation, etc.
  • Describe the strengths of your business or project and its core competencies (what are you good at doing).
  • List and describe the results of any business or project analysis that has been conducted like a feasibility study, market assessment, etc.

2. Background

  • If this is a start-up business, describe how the project started and evolved.
  • If this is an existing business, describe the business and current financial status. 
  • List business (project) milestones you have already achieved.

Mission Statement, Goals and Objectives

A mission statement is made up of several elements including a statement of vision, a statement of mission and a listing of core values of the business.

You may want to consider the following points:

  • Vision – A vision statement is a mental picture of what you want to achieve.  Don’t make it cluttered or complicated.  A vision statement should be simple enough so you can hold the meaning of it in your “mind’s eye”.
  • Mission – A mission statement defines how you will achieve your vision.  It is an action statement and often begins with the word “to”.  Once again it needs to be simple so that you can easily hold the idea in your mind.
  • Core Values – Core values are standards you place on your business activities.  Examples include ethics, environmental issues, labor standards, etc.

In addition to the mission statement you may want to state your goals and objectives for the project. 

  • Goals – A goal is a general statement of what you need to achieve to accomplish the vision of your business project.
  • Objectives – An objective is a specific time-sensitive milestone used to measure your progress towards achieving your goals and vision.

Business Structure

In this section you can describe the business and legal structure of the business.

You may want to consider the following points in preparing this section.

  • Describe the business model (how the business functions and how it will make money).
  • Why will the business be successful?
  • What is the existing or proposed legal structure – new generation cooperative, Limited Liability Company, corporation, etc.?
  • What is the organizational structure?
  • Include any joint venture partners, subsidiaries, affiliates, or other important stakeholders.
  • Describe your overall business strategy (e.g. low cost producer, differentiated product, niche market, etc.).  Will the company focus on growth or cash returns to investors)? 

Describe any competitive advantage the business has over its competitors.

Products/Services

In this section you can provide a clear description of the product(s) and/or service(s) provided by your business.

You may want to consider the following points in preparing this section.

  • Describe the product or service and its features.
  • Is the product ready for the market or in development (if so, what stage of development and what obstacles remain)?
  • Is the product a consumer product, ingredient, commodity, etc.?
  • Describe what is unique or different about your product/service.
  • Compare the product and its features to those of competitors.
  • Describe how the product will be packaged and any specific features of the package.
  • Has product acceptance been tested with consumers? Have sales actually been realized?  Describe sales results to date or product testing results.

Research and Development Plans

If your business will have a research and development component, describe it here.  Use the points below to help you prepare this section.

  • Describe plans for ongoing research and development (e.g. plans for process improvement or new product development). 
  • Identify the extent to which resources will be committed to future research and development. 
  • How will research and development efforts be inter-connected with customer needs (e.g. ISO)? 
  • Identify the use of third parties and any strategies related to the outsourcing of future research and development capabilities. 
Describe contractual relationships with internal staff and external parties pertaining to intellectual property rights and future claims.

 

Don Hofstrand, retired extension value added agriculture specialist, agdm@iastate.edu