For any new US startup, it is imperative that the company have a good business plan even if the company has been in business abroad before this time. An EB-5 visa was denied in In the Matter of Ho, 22 I&N Dec 206 213 (Assoc. Comm. Examinations 1998) because of a poorly crafted business plan. The commissioner, however, took the extra time to explain what the elements of a good business plan include. The first thing that the Commissioner noted is that the plan must be comprehensive. It should include:
- A market analysis;
- The names of competing businesses and their relative strengths and weaknesses;
- A comparison of the competitor’s products and pricing structures;
- A description of the target market/ prospective new customers of the new enterprise;
- Permits and licenses required;
- The manufacturing and production process;
- The materials required and the supply sources;
- The plan should detail any contracts executed for the supply of materials and/or the distribution of products;
- It should discuss the market strategy of the business inlacing pricing, advertising, and services;
- The plan should set forth businesses organizational structure and the personnel’s experience;
- It should explain the business staffing requirements and contain a timetable for hiring, as well as job description for all positions;;
- It should contain sales, costs,a and income projections, and detail the bases thereof;
The commissioner also stressed that the plan should be credible. There are a number of very good guides and sample business plans online. I particularly like this guide, but it is hardly alone. The United States Small Business Administration has a nice guide here.
The key, however, is that the plan must be custom to address the strengths and weaknesses of your plan. There is a tendency for people to slavishly copy plans that are out there and this can be a problem. You need to show the U.S. Government that you have thought about your plan and your prospects for growth. While everything does not need to be up and running, you need to convince them that there is a credible and realistic chance that your business will succeed.