It is very similar to a gantt chart but it doesn't have all the features that a typical gantt chart would have.
A formal business plan, intended for circulation to investors, usually must project business operations for three years. Informal business plans can operate on shorter time frames, depending upon the needs of the managers of the business.
The core of a business plan time line is cash flow and revenue over time. Write the narrative for your business over the period of time predicted by the business plan. For example, you may intend to start operations with a single product line, then expand to two more such lines in the second year of operations, funded from ongoing revenues.
Alternately, your business plan may be to spend a year operating off of investment capital, doing the research and development for your first product. This narrative is based on what you hope will happen over the course of your business; it should be realistic, but it need not be pessimistic.
Create a spreadsheet to write the pro formas or budget for your business plan. Across the top row, label 12 columns, one for each month of the coming year or starting with the month you intend to start business operations.
Down the left column, label one row for each kind of revenue your business anticipates and one row for each expense. Include investment capital in these revenues for the purposes of cash flow calculations.
Enter the anticipated income and expenses for your business in its first month. This will be in the second column under the first month in your spreadsheet for example, "January "in the appropriate row for each income and expense line item.
Add totaling calculations for all of your revenues and expenses. Append a cash flow section to the bottom of the worksheet. The top row is your cash on hand at the beginning of that month.
Use spreadsheet calculations to copy the totals of your income and expenses to the next two rows. Add a row at the bottom adding your cash on hand to income and subtracting your expenses.
This is your cash on hand at the end of the first month. Repeat this step for the next month. Copy the cash-on-hand at the end of month 1 to the starting cash on hand for month 2. Other calculations can be copied across columns in the same row, as can expenses that will not change from month to month.
Repeat step 6 until you have completed your budget for the first year. If your cash on hand at the end of any month has gone negative or is dangerously close to zero, you must adjust either your expenses or the anticipated amount of investment capital to keep your business solvent.
Create a second worksheet, if necessary, to continue this budget for years 2, 3 and beyond. For these worksheets, calculate in annual quarters rather than months: Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4.
Pro Forma Income Statements About the Author Ellis Davidson has been a self-employed Internet and technology consultant, entrepreneur and author since He has written a book about self-employment for recent college graduates and is a regular contributor to "Macworld" and the TidBITS technology newsletter.
He is completing a book on self-employment options during a recession.Guide for small and mid-size businesses looking to compose and implement a sustainability plan.
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A business plan describes how a new business will meet its primary objectives over a given period of time. It is both a strategic document that can act as a roadmap and a tool for securing funding and communicating with stakeholders.