Article

Business and Strategic Plans

Guide to Writing a Business Plan for an

Assistive Technology Reuse Program

 

Before You Start

This is a basic guide for developing a business plan for a new or existing Assistive Technology (AT) Reuse Program.  Before starting to write the business plan, you may find it helpful to examine the feasibility of the proposed program by using several forms of analysis.

First, review the Indicators of Quality for Assistive Technology Reuse (IQ-ATR) to gain a better understanding of the framework needed. The IQ-ATR highlights promising practices for successful programs. A walk through may identify some overlooked tasks or activities.  This can be done by reviewing the written document or by using the online program assessment tool. You may do this alone or as a group exercise with key members of the startup team. Both the document and the online tool can be found at the Pass It On Center web site at http://www.passitoncenter.org.

Next, develop a strategic plan (see separate outline) prior to writing the business plan. Some of the basic start-up tasks are addressed in strategic planning and the results will provide input for this business plan.  The strategic planning process should include examining the proposed program through a commonly used tool in business called SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. This tool examines the strengths and weaknesses (internal environment) of the proposed program, as well as the opportunities and threats (external environment) to the program. This group exercise may highlight sustainability issues.

Third, address the organizational issues of legal structure, by-laws, board of directors (or advisory council), mission statement and key leaders.

Using the Outline

Step 1.  Identify the audience(s) for this business plan.

Who will read it? Why? Will it be used to refine the design of the proposed program? Will it be shared with prospective partners, sponsors or funders? Each section of this outline poses questions to be answered to focus the information in the plan.

Step 2.  Skip the Executive Summary and go to the detailed outline.

Step 3.  Skim through this outline and delete requested information or questions that do not apply to the proposed (or existing) program.

Step 4.  Work through the outline, answering the questions briefly and noting points to be made in the narrative. Collect statistical data or other information as requested. Before writing the plan, you will probably want to prepare the suggested financial worksheets and a project timeline for implementing the program. References to sources of additional information in the Pass It On Center Knowledge Base are included at the end of each section.

Step 5.  After all the information has been collected, use the notes and data to create a narrative that provides a clear, concise explanation of the program that you propose to create or improve.

Step 6.  Write the Executive Summary.

Step 7.  Share the document with key team members. Revise and improve the content and language where possible.

Customizing the Business Plan to Secure Funding

After you develop the business plan, it can be customized to suit the audience for which the plan is intended. You may create one version to present to donors and a slightly modified plan when seeking sponsored funding in the form of contracts or grants.

To Borrow Money

Lenders want assurance of orderly repayment. If you intend using this plan to present to lenders, include:

§   Amount of loan

§   How the funds will be used

§   What this will accomplish? How will it make the program stronger?

§   Requested repayment terms (number of years to repay)

§   Collateral offered, and a list of all existing liens against collateral

§   Cash flow projection, identifying sources of funds, ability to repay

To Seek Foundation or Corporate Sponsorship

Supporters are looking for capacity for growth and a sustainable program. Specify:

§   Funds needed short-term

§   Funds needed in two to five years

§   How the program will use the funds, and what it will accomplish

§   Estimated return on investment, outcomes and benefits

§   Milestones or conditions that you will accept

§   Financial reporting to be provided

§   Involvement of sponsors on the board or in management

 

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Please note that by selecting an Internet link you will be directed to an external site, and the Pass It On Center does not control the content of the site.

 

DISCLAIMER

This work is supported under cooperative agreement # H235V060016 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and is administered by the Pass It On Center of the Georgia Department of Labor – Tools for Life.  However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the Department of Education, or the Georgia Department of Labor, and the reader should not assume endorsements of this document by the Federal government or the Georgia Department of Labor.

Attachments

Other Information

Title: Business and Strategic Plans
Module: Organization
Author: Trish Redmon
Audience: Administrator
Sub Title: A Guide to Developing a Reuse Program Plan
Procedure: Developing a business plan
Organization Source: Pass It On Center
Last Reviewed: 11-30--0001 12:00 AM