Illinois Small Business Development Center
Waubonsee Community College
Business Plan Start Up Guide
Before beginning your business plan, make sure you can answer the following questions. You should
be able to support your answers with specific data and verifiable facts. Once you have done your
research, and answered the questions below, organize your data into a formal business plan format,
similar to the one found on the following pages.
Define the opportunity
• What problem are you trying to solve?
• What are you doing that is unique?
• How big is the market?
• What percentage will you get?
• What will be your revenue and profit/loss for the first three years?
• How much money will it take to get to profitability?
What business are you in?
• Describe your industry, and how you fit in it
• What products and services do you offer?
• What business structure will you choose (Corp, LLC, Sole Prop)
Are you qualified?
• Where does your expertise lie?
• What is your personality type?
• What management experience do you have?
• How financially stable are you?
• What business resources do you have at your disposal?
• What licensing and/or certification requirements are there for your business?
How will you get customers?
• Who are you selling to, exactly?
• How will these people find you?
• Who else is offering similar products/services?
• Why will customers buy from you?
• How many customers will you have – and when?
• What will they buy, exactly?
How much will it cost?
• What will it cost to get started: capital investment (Building, F&F, equipment, inventory)
• What will it cost to run the business: working capital (ongoing expenses, incl. salary, professional
services, insurance, taxes, and loan payments)
• What does it cost to make each sale: cost of sales/gross profit margins
Can you afford to start the business?
• How much of your own money are you planning on investing?
• How much of each product/service will you sell each month?
• Are you qu