Self-Employment Steps for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors: Helping a Consumer Start a Business

Chapter 6:

Business Plan Checklists

Business Plan Checklists are a useful tool for evaluating the business plan and for informing the consumer how you will evaluate the completeness and contents of the plan. We recommend providing the consumer a copy of these checklists when he or she begins developing the business plan. They should become part of the consumer's file. 

Figure 13: Business Plan Checklists

Overall Content and Style Checklist
Item   Yes      No   

Language is fluent and commonplace

Industry jargon is explained adequately    
Plan avoids repetition and includes only information relevant to the target audience
Plan targets the reader
The plan is in an active voice
Uses words like “will” instead of “may”


Business Description Checklist
Item   Needed    Included 

List of owners

Personal financing guarantees    
Current industry trends
Supply of and demand for product or service
Potential owner’s(s’) background information (including management/industry experience)
Business advisor’s(s’) information


Target Market/Marketing Checklist
Item   Needed    Included 
Business owner’s customer philosophy
Business’ image described    
Market’s(s’) unsatisfied need for product or service
Geographic description of the market
History and projected trends (e.g., growth)
Demographics of potential customers
Rationale for business’s location    
Competitor’s(s’) weaknesses and strengths    
Compares proposed business’s product/service with competitor’s(s’)    
Methods for gaining market share    
Message communicated to potential customers about the product or service    
Discusses all promotional activities    
Rationale for selecting proposed advertising media, including estimated cost and effectiveness    
Methods for assessing customer satisfaction    


Operations Plan Checklist
Item   Needed    Included 
Materials description and supplier relationships
Business location and reason for its selection    
Operation costs
Addresses need for and includes if appropriate necessary licenses, permits and zoning, insurance, tax ID, and ownership forms
Capital equipment list, description, and costs
Describes production methods including labor projections, safety precautions and environmental safeguards
Describes the management format and organizational structure    
Describes staffing requirements, staff qualifications, and wage rates    
Lists any services, such as bookkeeping or cleaning, that will be outsourced    


Financial Plan Checklist
Item    Yes       No   
Projected Income Statement for 2-3 Years
Projected Balance Sheet for 2-3 Years    
Projected Cash Flow Statement for 2-3 Years          
Break-Even Analysis
Personal Financial Statements
Credit Report
Need for and Sources of Cash Statement    
Equipment List    

Supporting Documents List:








Break Even Analysis Checklist
Item    Yes       No   
Does the market and customer research inspire confidence that customers who will buy the product exist?
Does the research inspire confidence that customers will pay the product’s price?    
Is the product’s price justified?
Does the production schedule and marketing plan support the product’s price?
Does the description of current and future employees appear adequate to meet current and projected production goals?
Does the description of current and future employees appear to support the product’s price?
Are supporting documents included    

July 1998, 1st Revision June 1999, 2nd Revision February 2001