Financials: Financial Plan & Needs Summary
If you're seeking funding for your business venture, you have two options. You can go to banks and other lending institutions and seek a business loan, or you can go in search of venture capitalists. Which source you choose, will depend on the amount of funding you need. And the type of funding you need will dictate how your plan (especially the financial section) is written. In other words, investors will want to know how they are going to profit from this investment down the road, while lenders will want to see how you will be repaying their loan.
Regardless of the funder, you'll need solid financial projections that cover all of the bases. Your business plan's Financial Plan is critical. For many, the financial portion of your business plan is its heart. If you think about it, why else are you going into business? To fill a need you saw in the market? Yeah, maybe, but most likely what you're really after is making money! And, your potential investors or lenders are reading your plan to see when (or if) you're going to make that money. So the financials of your plan can certainly be referred to as the heart, the meat, the big enchilada -- insert your own mega metaphor here.
What makes up the heart of your business plan is the profit and loss (or income) statement, the balance sheet, and a cash-flow statement. If your business is a startup, these will all be projections, or pro forma statements. If you're writing this for an existing business, then these statements will reflect your past business history and current financial situation. Break your financials down into monthly projections for the first two years and then move to annual projections. Since this is a very critical part of your business plan, make sure you follow Generally Accepted Accounting Standards, and that your financial statements are all prepared correctly. It may be well worth the expense to enlist the help of an accountant to prepare them, or at the very least to review them. If you do have an accountant prepare your financials for your company, make sure you completely understand the process and what the terms and figures mean. Potential investors often feel more comfortable investing in a company whose owners have shown a good understanding of the financial aspects of the business.
Financial Needs Summary
Before you throw numbers and spread sheets at your readers, summarize your financial needs. If you are seeking investors, this is where you will indicate how much cash you need to begin operations. Then describe how these funds will be used. How much will have to be spent on computer equipment, office furniture, etc? You can break these down into "operating projections" or "capital needs" or whatever makes the most sense based on your needs and what you are seeking. Also, remember to have documentation to back up this information.