The Starting Date for your business plan is somewhat arbitrary, especially if you’re a start-up. It could be the day you first start writing your business plan, the day you open for business (or begin a planned expansion), or anytime in between.
In general, a new business should set the starting date on or before the day they first pay employees a regular salary or generate sales. So, if today is January 10th, and you plan a Grand Opening for March 1st, you could set the starting date for January, February or March. This means you may have some time in your plan where you have to pay expenses, but have no income, as when you train new employees. This is typical for a start-up, and should be budgeted for ahead of time when you think about the cash needed at start-up.
For a new business, the starting date may help you separate the “start-up period,” in which you plan, obtain funding, buy any necessary inventory, and interview potential employees, from the “opening of the business,” when you have to start paying your employees, and begin receiving sales income.
For an ongoing business, try setting the starting date to match your current fiscal year cycle; this will help with your accounting, later. Alternatively, you could set the plan starting date for the launch of a new product, an expansion, or a major business milestone, like handing the family business down to the next generation.