Writing a Business Plan

So you've decided to add entrepreneur under your name and start a business in Las Vegas. Now what?

One of the most important things that aspiring business owners can do to develop direction is to write a detailed and thorough business plan. One of the biggest myths about entrepreneurs is that they love to take risks. The truth is that most self-employed business owners know how to calculate the risks and view them as opportunities. The following steps should be taken when drafting a business plan:

1. Develop a Business Chart – In short, this step allows you to test your ideas, clarify operation details and assess the marketplace, without much financial obligation. The Las Vegas Small Business Administration describes this process as a business journey. Prospective entrepreneurs should start the trip and learn and change along the way until a logical and well thought-out chart is developed.

2. Determine Financial Risks and Gains – A succinct business plan should help you gauge the cost of starting the business, the ongoing costs associated with the daily operation of the venture and the monetary gains that can be expected when at full operation. This is essential in determining the most appropriate way to finance the venture and keep your head above the tide on your way to being a successful Las Vegas business owner.

3. Establish a Plan to Raise Money – Most small businesses require help from a financial institution or other form of investor to get the operation off the ground. Whether this is a bank or your father-in-law, everyone involved needs to have a clear-cut vision of the risks and rewards associated with the business. Your investor can help develop the plan, offer advice and provide feedback to fine tune the overall document. It is important to note that a business plan can’t be just fluff. Tested information and realistic ideas should be the basis of the document.

To assist members the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce has partnered with SCORE, Counselor's to American Small Business, to offer free seminars and free private counseling sessions for Chamber members.

There is no clear-cut length or style, but a business plan should include the following items: 

  • Executive Summary - This section should be as brief as possible and include the proposed company name, product/service offered, nature of the market, description of key players and financial structure and projections.
  • Business Description - The business history and any background information should be included in this part of the plan.
  • Product/Service Description - Describe, in full detail, the specifics of the product or services that you plan to offer.
  • Market Analysis - In this section of the plan, you should detail the industry that you will fit in and offer market projections for that niche.
  • Competition - Whom will you be competing against? How is your product/service different? These questions should be addressed in this part of the business plan.
  • Operating Plan - This section will detail the day-to-day operations of the business. This includes: facilities, personnel, contractors and technology requirements.
  • Key Employees - Any successful business has key personnel that bring unique talents and skills to the operation. In this part of the plan, background information and straight-forward descriptions should be provided on the individuals who will play a dynamic role in the company.
  • Financial Analysis - This section of the plan is often the most lengthy and will include: profit and loss statements, balance sheets, cash budgets and key ratios.