A detailed business plan is essential for your practice to operate, grow and secure financing. There are many tools and resources you can use to help pull together this plan, including web-based templates, books and guides. But there are a few common threads, no matter how you construct your plan.
The plan needs to:
- Be concise yet detailed to provide the user with all the information needed to understand what you intend to do and how you intend to do it.
- Guide you in the operation of the practice and help you set realistic and achievable goals and benchmarks.
- Be coherently organized.
The business plan concept is not based on multiple choice or right and wrong answers. It is as individual as you are. The point of the business plan is to think through all of the essential elements, create a plan and then execute it.
The plan should not be static. This is not something you write once and forget about. Ideally, you should revisit your plan annually and revise it to reflect the reality of your practice.
When writing a business plan (especially for a startup), you will be making assumptions. Hopefully, they will be well-reasoned and researched, but the assumptions are still educated guesses as to what will happen.
Reviewing and updating the business plan will help you adjust to your circumstances and effectively manage the financial health of your practice.
Online Business Plan Tools and Templates
There are many tools offered online to help you write your business plan and we've provided links on this site to several. You need to carefully weigh which tools you will use to build your business plan from scratch. As with most business decisions, there are pros and cons to each approach.
- Ease of Use: Business planning templates are easy. They ask you to plug in certain information and then generate documents for you to use in your business plan.
- Professional Appearance: Templates are capable of generating well-designed documents, which present a professional image of you and your practice.
- Cost: Many of the tools, templates and software available are for sale and the cost ranges from $20-$150. There are many more available through sources like SCORE and the Small Business Administration, which are free of charge. Weigh the cost and benefits of paying for software.
- Cookie-Cutter Product: Be cautious of writing a business plan that looks like it is an off-the-shelf product. Your practice is unique and your business plan should be too. If you are using a template, be sure to research everything you include in the plan. You will be expected to defend your document when talking with lenders.
Your business plan should begin with an Executive Summary that provides a recap of the entire business plan. Although it is the first component of your business plan, it is typically written last. The goal is to allow the reader to quickly grasp the plan's concepts and ideas. Once the reader understands what the plan is about, he or she can determine if there is interest in reading further to find out more about the details of how the business will be put together and how it will operate.
Key concepts in the Executive Summary include:
- A brief explanation of dental
- How you intend to practice
- Why there is a demand in the market for what you plan to do
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