When considering the purchase of a small business here are the 6 elements I think should be in a well written plan:
- Cash flow forecast: It's not enough to be able to make a profit, the business plan template should include a cash flow element, first 90 days week-by-week, after that monthly for 1 year.
- A detailed step by step, minute by minute plan for exactly what you need to get done in the first 60 days.
- A marketing section that deals with two elements a) what are you going to do to keep the business that is already there b) what are you going to do to get new business
- A detailed plan for personnel, what you will discuss with each employee and a well thought out plan for anticipating the employees questions (insurance, benefits, pay, etc)
- A detailed description of where you see the business in 3 years, bigger? Smaller? New products? New geography?
- A detailed plan for keeping current vendors happy and a separate plan for identifying and nurturing back-up or new suppliers.
Take the time to make it make sense and avoid the common trap of convincing yourself you're a genius and then create some pie-in-the-sky plan that is useless as soon as you hit the print button.