Levi_Strauss_Vintage_womens_jeansFrom the 1910s – 1930s we saw the Wild West American lifestyle move largely from a way of life, to ever-increasing faded memories and folklore. The western world was getting smaller. Technology and transportation were ushering in a new era of industrialized cities and advanced accessibility. The real denim-rockin’ cowboy lifestyle of days past were kept alive over the decades largely through the Western fashions worn by the stars of silver screen and music.

These images remind us when the American cowboy was an actual lifestyle and not just a passing trend. Some of these images were taken by LIFE photography giants like Loomis Dean, and Ralph Crane to name a few. It is amazing to see how what was once a style dependent upon necessity has now become a fashion icon inspiring much of today’s trends. Vintage jeans, worn in full length or cut-off, western cowboy boots for dress of for the field, denim jackets and leather belts, cowboys hats and belt buckels are all pat of today’s looks.

tall-womenIrish McCalla, the towering beauty who posed for Vargas, and then found fame as “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle” was tought to measure up against. She grew up humbly, forever the athletic tomboy, and even did her own vine-swinging and tree-climbing with her pet chimp, Chim, on “Sheena” until the day she misjudged a vine swing and crashed into it tree, smashing her knee. After that, the producers did the only thing they could do (due to her size), they hired male stunt men, and dressed them in leopard skins and blond wigs.

raisingcapitol“Money is the lifeblood of business.” This truism points out the importance of the financial statements section of the business plan. The financial statements (or the “financial plan”) is one of the most closely scrutinized sections of any business plan. Investors have been known to go from the executive summary straight to the financial statements to judge the merit of a business plan. Your business plan must address the financial issues of cash flow, start-up capital and, of course, profit.

However, this is not an accounting or finance tutorial. Furthermore, if you are a business student it is likely you have taken, or are taking, an accounting course. We don’t propose to duplicate all that content here. Therefore, some knowledge of accounting principles and financial statements is assumed. The purpose of this lesson is to describe the fundamental requirements for a financial plan in an e-business plan and outline the financial statements that are required, without defining every accounting term that is used.

building-a-brandThis section of the business description offers the reader a thorough and straightforward description of the products and services you will provide to customers. For example, include product characteristics such as functionality, design, styles, and colors.

The product description should be complete enough to give the reader a clear idea of your products, but not overly detailed or technical so the reader is confused or loses interest and attention. If the product is unusual or not easily described, include a picture or a drawing. If a range of products are being offered, highlight the principal one or two and list the rest of the range here and/or put the full product  range in an appendix. As much as possible, describe the product from the customer’s perspective.

Operational-PlanIn most cases, entrepreneurs begin tackling the challenge of writing a business plan before the business exists. Doing that, of course, means that your plan will focus much more on the potential of the business and how you, as the entrepreneur, plan to take advantage of those opportunities. But, if you are writing a business plan for a 25-year-old business that you’ve just acquired, with the intent to turn a money-losing operation into a cash cow, you’ll need to focus on an area neglected in many business plans produced by entrepreneurs: the Operating Plan.

The operating plan is the section of your business plan where you dig into more of the nuts and bolts of your business, areas like: merchandising, inventory, and sales. In other words, this is the time where you put aside the conceptual aspects of your business to get your hands dirty in terms of writing out the specific of how you’re going to attract customers, sale to them, and then make return customers out of them.

Retail-Store-LayoutThe Business Concept section for a retail business plan is one of three primary elements that potential investors will actually read because it answers the question, “What am I investing in?” This section provides an opportunity to create a visual image of your concept in the mind of the reader. This is your chance to get others excited about your concept, enough so that they will ask two more questions, “How much will it cost me?” and “What is my return on investment?”

Investors and bankers, first and foremost, want to be sold on the thought that your business concept is a great idea. They need to be convinced that the concept should succeed in appealing to customers; after all, those reading your plan shop retail too.