A sole proprietorship is a form of business that operates as an alter ego of the owner as opposed to a separate and distinct legal entity, such as a corporation or an LLC. A business plan is a document that describes the overall objectives, market challenges, various risks and specific opportunities of the business venture, including its projected financial status. Although there is no specific format for a business plan, traditionally they include several standard pieces of business information.
The sole proprietor should evaluate the marketplace of the proposed business. This includes evaluating competing products and services, estimating potential demand, and determining how the business will meet the needs of the market. Often a business will define its competitive advantage, examining whether it has a superior product, better service or offers a better value to its customers than its competition.
The sole proprietorship should describe how it plans to produce its products, deliver its services and identify, attract and retain qualified staff for its operations. If the business is based on an individual trade or professional skills of the sole proprietor, the operating structure may include additional elements, such as business location, relevant business equipment or technology that enables the sole proprietor to operate efficiently and effectively.
The business plan should describe a basic marketing strategy for the sole proprietorship. This marketing plan should seek to distinguish the sole proprietorship and its products from its competitors. This can include promotion via various advertising channels and creating targeted proposals for potential clients among other means of attracting customers. Additionally, the business plan should describe the trade name and logo of the business.
Financial Projections and Budgetary Plan
The sole proprietorship should do its best to prepare an operating budget that reflects estimated costs and projected revenues under both best-case and worst-case scenarios. This will allow for an assessment of capital requirements and potential investment returns. Additionally, this will assist the sole proprietor in managing the business as variances in the budget can be addressed as they occur.
Jeff Clements has been a certified public accountant and business consultant since 2002. He has also worked in private practice as an attorney. Clements founded a multi-strategy hedge fund and has served as its research director and portfolio manager since its inception. He holds a Juris Doctor, as well as a master's degree in accounting.