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Tune Up Your Business Plan with QuickBooksDo you have a business plan? If you don’t, even if you’re a sole proprietor, you should. Business plans can be a good barometer for the health of your finances as a way to gauge whether or not you’re on the right path. If you don’t have a business path (or if yours is less than organized or polished), you can use QuickBooks’ tools to create or fine-tune one. We’ll show you how to use these tools to get the job done quickly and easily.
The game plan
The first topic you’ll be asked about is your company. If you’re a new business, you’ll have to estimate in some areas, like the percentage of your sales that will come through credit. In other cases, you’ll be better able to answer in concrete terms. For example, what will your customer payment terms be? When do you want your business plan and financial projection to start?
Figure 1: QuickBooks walks you through the process of creating a business plan with an easy-to-use interface.
What’s coming in?
Figure 2: The QuickBooks Income Projection Wizard.
• Material: What percentage of each dollar pays for the cost of product(s)? If you’re a service company, enter the associated materials costs.
Business expenses and more
In the Interview section, you’ll need to have numbers available, including:
• Beginning account balances
As in other areas of the business planning tool, existing data in QuickBooks will be automatically filled, such in Figure 3.
You’ll also answer questions here about inventory (i.e., fixed or variable, minimum balance), vendor financing, lines of credit, and your total credit limit.
Writing your plan
Though this is primarily a text-based section including information about things like your company background, products and services, and the competition, you’ll supply some numbers, too, and the rationale for arriving at them.
Once you’ve completed all of the sections, you simply preview and print your plan. QuickBooks assembles it with all of the text, tables, graphs, and charts in the right place, and presents you with a professional business plan that you can take to the bank, or simply revisit from time to time to make sure you’re on course.