Business of the Artemis Project
Section 3.
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Standard Business Plan Outline

Here's the standard outline The Lunar Resources Company uses for business plans.

LRC Standard Business Plan Outline

Once you've thought through each of the things in that shopping list above, identified specific individuals or companies to do each thing, costed everything, and worked through the financials, you'll know you've covered everything you need to establish a commercial business.

The general approach is to make your best educated guess and then refine those guesses as you learn more. The business plan is a living document; you use it to manage the business long after you've got production going. It ought to reviewed and updated at least once a year once a business has reached a stable operational stage; much more often until then.

An example of developing the business plan: consider advertising. It's not enough to say "We'll advertise in magazines." That's an idea, not a plan. You need to say which magazines, when the ads will be placed, what sort of ads they'll be (size, color, message of the advertisement, concept for content). With that information in hand, you can fully develop the pro forma financials, estimate your costs and sales, and determine what resources you need to create those advertisements.

Footnote about advertising: Within our experience to date, advertising a commercial product on the World Wide Web produces near-zero sales. This might change in the future, but as yet the WWW is not an effective marketing tool. It might be more effective when we have photographs of the actual products, so people can see what they're buying. The best outlet for sales, in terms of volume, is retail stores where the buyer can see and touch the merchandise.

For many months I've been meaning to make up a totally fictitious business plan to serve as an example, complete with what the illustrations should look like. Usually someone evaluating your business plan will read the Introduction and skip immediately to the Pro Forma Income Statement to see what the money looks like. Whether they look at the rest of it depends on how well the Introduction and the Money Story grab them.

We're using this standard outline for all levels of the program, from the overall program plan to the most detailed individual product plan. That way the detailed plans should percolate up easily into the top-level plan, and we can determine how sensitive the overall program plan is to changes in the assumptions at the detailed level.

So, for a detailed product plan, some of the sections will be very short. For instance, if we had "business offices" under facilities for an individual product, it would probably just be a sentence saying we'll use the business offices of XYZ Company, which produces the product.

This will be more helpful when we have a full example business plan on line, where people can see the language and style these things are written in. We could even have some templates for financial spreadsheets that folks could download and stuff into their favorite spreadsheet programs. In fact, if we can get people to use a standard format for spreadsheets, it will be easier for us to integrate sundry business plans into higher-level documents until we get to the top document.

Business of the Artemis Project

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