Writing a Business Plan that Gets Noticed
Who Needs a Business Plan?
One of the most important steps when applying for business funding, is designing a well thought out and comprehensive business plan. In fact, your business plan is the single most important document when creating a new business. Companies do not always fail because of a lack of money or resources. More often than not, they fail due to a lack of insight or proper planning. If you want funding partners or venture capital firms to take you seriously, you will need a well-structured business plan which shows that you know what you are doing and that you are ready to tackle the challenges that come with running a new business.
How Long Should a Business Plan Be?
If you’re not a naturally gifted writer, you are in luck. The current trend in business plans is to keep them relatively simple and easily readable. You will want to keep your prose in check and stick with the facts. Show that you have done your homework, but leave out the buzzwords or flowery language which only bloats your plan with fluff. Your language should be simple and straightforward, your plan should be highly-descriptive, and you will want to keep your sentences short.
In fact, keep your entire business plan short. The entire document should be under 30 pages with 10 pages or less of appendices. If your business plan is more than 40 pages in total, you should go back and work on summarizing your ideas more thoroughly. There is an exception to this rule. If your business plan includes photographs, artist renderings, blue prints, and other types of graphics, which actually add value to the document, it is acceptable for the business plan to run over 40 pages.
How Should Your Plan Look?
Chances are that you are not a graphic artist. While venture capitalists surely understand this, it does not mean your business plan can be sloppy or unappealing to the eye. At most, you should only use two fonts and ensure that they are simple, sans-serif fonts. You should also avoid using small fonts and keep your text to a 12-point font setting minimum. You do not want your text to appear crowded and be difficult to read, so use spacing liberally. Take the time to spell check and proof read your document thoroughly. Once you are done reviewing, check it again and have someone else spell check and proof read for you as well. Having another set of eyes go over the business plan is always a good idea.
What Should Your Business Plan Include?
Now that you know why you need a business plan, you need to know what it should contain. While it needs to be concise and as simple as possible, it still needs to contain all of the information investors will need to make their decision. Most business plans contain the following sections:
- Executive summary – Tell the reader what you want.
- Business description – Describe the industry and its outlook.
- Market strategies – Analyze the market and identify your target market.
- Competitive analysis – Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.
- Design & development plan – Demonstrate your design and create your development budget.
- Operations & management plan – Indicate how your business will function on an ongoing basis.
- Financial factors – This is the financial data for your business.
Your business plan can help you chart a path for your new business to succeed, but it also helps you to market your ideas to potential investors or venture capital firms. For this reason, a business plan is one of your biggest assets in the funding process and you should ensure that your plan is prepared to win over investors.
Brought to you by Intrepid Executive Group – A Global Financial Company.