Business Plan Outline
- Description of the Business
- The Industry - the specific products or services of your business
- Market Share - how dominant a product or service is within an industry
- The Competition - other companies in the same business
- Supply and Chain Distribution Options - find your suppliers
- The Customers - demographics, lifestyle
- Financial Data - balance sheets, profit & loss statements
- Industry Information Research Guide - Compiled by APL Librarians.
- Business Insights - National and international industry information from trade journals. Market size, shares, trends. Click on Industry icon.
- eJournal Finder - Search by subject for your specialized trade magazines covering your industry in publications such as TWICE: This Week in Consumer Electronics.
- Current Industrial Reports: US Census Bureau - Provides detailed production data for a variety of industries.
- Service Annual Survey: US Census Bureau - Data on non-good producing industries including retail trade, wholesale trade, and the service industries.
- Economic Census - Detailed reports on all industries every 5 years.
- Encyclopedia of Associations - Information for international, national, regional, state, and local professional and trade organizations and associations in all fields.
- Standard and Poor's Industry Surveys - Detailed and comprehensive reports covering current industry environment, trends, forecasts, comparative company analysis for over 50 major industries.
- An article search in the database Factiva or Business Source Complete will sometimes be the most effective way to find market size information. Enter your product and the term "market share."
- The Market Share Reporter provides this type of data for many industries. This publication can be found electronically through Business & Company Resource Center.
- International Marketing Data and Statistics is a statistical yearbook of marketing information for more than 160 countries. A companion volume of marketing data isEuropean Marketing Data and Statistics.
- Trade associations are often a good source of market size information. Encyclopedia of Associations provides an easily searchable interface to more than 460,000 international, national, regional, state, and local organizations, including non-profits.
- Search Austin American-Statesman using Factiva, which contains full-text articles that can be a good source of company and industry information in the Austin area. ClickSource, then select Austin American-Statesman.
- AtoZdatabases - Search business listings by, industry, geography, sales and employee size. You can also find new businesses in your area.
- Regional Business News - Covers about 75 publications that include business news from rural and metropolitan areas of the U.S.
- Austin Business Journal - Includes full-text articles and an archive.
- Search for articles in Factiva. Enter suppl* and the company name, or "distribution" and your company or product.
- Thomas Register
- American Wholesalers and Distributors Directory
- Marketing Research Guide
- AtoZdatabases - Choose the Residents module and then select from Household Information and the Interests/Hobbies/Lifestyles options in the menu on the left.
- U.S. Census Bureau - An excellent starting point for demographic information. The easiest way to electronically search for Census data is to use American FactFinder, which lets you browse and search for data from many Census sources.
- Consumer Expenditure Survey
- Sourcebook of ZIP Code Demographics - US income distribution and household spending by zip code.
- Factiva - Search the full text of over 8,000 newspapers, periodicals, wire services, media transcripts, or web sites for articles about demographics.
- The Lifestyle Market Analyst - Combines lifestyle, demographic, and geographic data in one publication.
- Factiva - Look under the "Companies/Markets" tab, conduct a "Company Snapshot" search for a company, then select "Reports" to bring up a "Ratio Comparison Report" that includes financial ratios.
- Financial Studies of the Small Business - Arranged by asset size and establishment type; financial and operating ratios are provided for about 50 lines of small business and manufacturing.
- Fintel Industry Metrics provides financial data for over 2,500 industries. This information is useful for people needing financial information before starting a small business or writing a business plan.
- Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios - Financial ratios are displayed for over 800 lines of business.
- RMA Annual Statement Studies - Financial and operating ratios for more than 400 lines of business whose total assets are less than $250 million.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics National Compensation Survey
Free Business Plan Templates
- Business Planner from Purdue University, allows users to format a business plan using a question and answer format.
- Create a business plan online with Bplans from PaloAlto Software.
- MasterCard Working for Small Business has a step-by-step online Business Plan Workbook that presents the components of a good plan, with in depth explanations of ratios.
- The SBA outlines the entire business planning process with their Small Business Planner.
The Tactics of Creating a Business Plan from Columbus Enterprise Development Corporation, is a detailed question and answer guide to writing a business plan with links to online resources and collections of data.
Sample Business Plans
Gale Virtual Library Business Plans Handbook contains sample small business plans, including statements of mission, competition, suppliers, customers, advertising, pricing, and financial plans. After logging in with your Library card, click Business under "Or Select a Publication", select Business Plans vol. 19, then ebook index. (Older volumes are in print on the 2nd floor of Faulk Central Library.)