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Support systems for new activities in rural areas

Part 3 - Various techniques
Example of a simplified checklist
for a business plan (*)

[Technical Factsheet 4]

How to use this guide & Table of Contents



1. The project promoters

    1.1. The project's title

    1.2. Name, address and telephone number of each of the project promoters.

    1.3. Name, address and telephone number of the project's representative.

    1.4. What are the promoters trying to achieve with the project? (Tease out the main complementarities and contradictions and possible conflicts of interest between producers).

    1.5. Age and experience of each of the project promoters (this should be accompanied by a curriculum vitae).

    1.6. The main strengths and weaknesses in terms of training and experience.

    1.7. What are the proposals for dealing with these weaknesses?


2. The project/product/service

    2.1. Description of the product/service or project.

    2.2. How does it differ from what already exists?

    2.3. How does the price compare to what is available at present?

    2.4. How does the quality compare to current supply?


3. The market

    3.1. Size of the market and its distribution (by product, location, distribution channel).

    3.2. Trends in the main market segments.

    3.3. Who is the product/service aimed at (age, socio-economic group, location)?

    3.4. What is the target market share? How can this be justified?

    3.5. The main competitors and their products.

    3.6. What are their key strengths and weaknesses?


4. Distribution and marketing

    4.1. Target distribution channels (wholesale, retail, etc.).

    4.2. Margins and commissions for each channel.

    4.3. Resources to be devoted to marketing and sales.

    4.4. How will the product/service be promoted and how much will this cost (taking into account the creation of a corporate image).


5. Production

    5.1. Target volumes of production and corresponding time-scales.

    5.2. Description of the main stages of the production process.

    5.3. Raw materials (including energy, packaging, etc.) required at each stage and length of each stage.

    5.4. Minimum volume of production, stock of raw materials and finished product.


6. Technology

    6.1. Equipment required at each stage of the production process (justify the choice).

    6.2. Cost.

    6.3. Is transport required and how much will this cost?

    6.4. Office or administrative equipment and furniture required. Cost.


7. Premises

    7.1. Type, size and location of premises.

    7.2. Cost.


8. Human resources

    8.1. Staff required at each stage of the production process (numbers and skills required).

    8.2. How much will this cost (basic wages, shifts, overtime premiums, taxes, social security, etc.)?

    8.3. Indirect administrative and technical staff (numbers and skills required).

    8.4. How much will this cost?

    8.5. Amount of time to be devoted to marketing and sales and cost of this.

    8.6. Who will manage the project and how.

    8.7. Precise role of each project promoter. Are they happy with their respective roles?


9. Tax and legal obligations

    9.1. What legal form has been chosen for the project and why?

    9.2. Permits and licenses required. How long and how much will it cost to obtain these?

    9.3. Safety at work.

    9.4. Respect of the environment.

    9.5. How will tax, legal, insurance and other issues be dealt with and how much will this cost?

    9.6. Administrative start-up costs of the project.


10. Investment and finance

    10.1. Total fixed investment for the project.

    10.2. Needs in terms of working capital.

    10.3. How much will be financed by own capital?

    10.4. How much will be financed by loans or other financial investments (kind: leasing, factoring, etc.)?

    10.5. How much will this cost?

    10.6. Proportion expected from grants.


11. Three-year financial forecasts

    11.1. Revenues and expenses.

    11.2. Cash flow.

    11.3. Balance sheet.

    11.4. Ratios (margins, profitability, break-even point, etc.).

It is important to contrast "optimistic" and "pessimistic" forecasts.


(*) This is only a brief example of a checklist. The EBN network of Business and Innovation Centres (BICs) have more complete business planning tools. As such, the Cap Alpha BIC (Montpellier, France) has developed a software package entitled "BPAO" ("Computer-Assisted Business Plan"). One of the advantages of this tool (available in English, French, Spanish and Italian) is that it enables the contents and the container of the business plan to be managed independently, and for it to be adapted to the project, the company, etc. (Contact: Cap Alpha BIC F-34940 Montpellier CEDEX 9. Tel.: +33 3 67 59 30 00).

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