A business plan is a roadmap of how your company is structured, operates, and helps your business grow. Business plans will help you get funding. Investors need confidence that they will have a return on their investment. This article has 13 tips to help you write a business plan.
1. Takes time
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Rome was not designed, financed, and built in one day. Preparing a coherent business plan will probably take longer than you think. If you think you can do it in a month, it will probably take two or more. Moving forward, you’ll stop and say, “Yeah, we haven’t thought through our strategy well enough yet.” Or, “We don’t know our competitors as well as we thought we did.” And you’ll need time to polish your strategies and delve deeper into your competitors before you’re in a position to finalize your business plan. In other words, plan your current business independently of your business plan.
2. Create a business map
Smaller chunks are easier to digest. Start by mapping out your business plan. By breaking down the big problem into smaller components, you will no longer be so afraid of its impracticability. A business plan, to begin with, can be seen simply as answering a series of questions.
Try to answer only a few questions at a time. Preparing a small part of a business plan at one time is more manageable than locking yourself in your office for weeks to complete the work all at once and in its entirety. But if you decide to lock yourself in, do it where there will be access to a shower because you will have to sweat a lot.
3. Document design
Even the details of style and design are important. The importance of document design cannot be understated. Color charts, data tables, paragraphs, headings, different fonts – you should use everything to make the document easier to read, understand and explain business opportunities.
4. Read other business plans
Read a few other business plans first. Those who write novels have probably read a lot themselves. You can learn the craft by studying your favorite authors’ works or dissertation help. You should do the same. Study examples of business plans to understand the writing style, the sequence in which different ideas are presented, and the plan’s sections. After reading a few business plans, you will understand how a business plan is written and organized. Once you understand and remember this, it will be much easier for you to start.
5. Work on one section at a time
Choose one section of the business plan, to begin with. If you have never made a business plan before, you may find it difficult to start somewhere. You will only have a lot of blank sheets of paper in front of you, looking at you expectantly. To get things moving, start with the section that is easiest for you or most interesting. If you are convinced of the technical superiority of your product, start with the product description section, i.e., your product. If marketing is your strong suit, start working on marketing strategies. Many people like to start by describing the company’s history or their vision for the company’s future. When you see the first words on paper, you’ll feel progress, and then you can move on to the harder parts of the business plan more confidently.
6. Schedule your writing time
It will take you some time to write a business plan. People always underestimate the amount of effort it takes to write a business plan. They try to write it overnight or when everything is done, in other words, when they are mentally and sometimes physically exhausted. The best approach is to write when you are full of energy. Go into your office an hour early, and think and write for an hour before the phones start ringing.
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7. First draft
Your first drafts will later make you laugh. First drafts of a plan will undoubtedly look like incoherent, chaotic ideas that will not look the way you had hoped. Don’t be disappointed or frustrated. Put the project down for a few days, then come back, critically review what you’ve written, and rewrite it. Repeat this several times until all the ideas fall into place and the writing is smooth.
8. Legal section
Confidentiality. You may want to put a section on legal protection and confidentiality of your information at the beginning of your business plan. Your lawyer should draft this section for you. However, it generally includes the following points:
Disclosure of the concept of risk (you are not responsible for failing to achieve the results not predicted in the business plan).
Confidentiality (protection against unauthorized copying and distribution of the document by third parties and a requirement that the information in the business plan not be disclosed to third parties without permission from the author or authors).
An indication that the business plan may not be used as security.
9. It is your baby
The business plan is your baby and will be like you. The business plan should reflect your personality and the personalities of the members of your management team members, and the type of company you want to create. As the reader gets to know the business plan, they should learn about the people involved in the company, their vision, their goals, and their place in the company and this business. Give a first-person account of your company’s history. Remember that the business plan for a music recording company will be much different than the business plan for a medical device company.
10. Getting inspiration
Not everyone has a talent for writing. Preparing a business plan is a job that requires imagination. It is a document in which you envision the future, not something that has already happened. For most people, such work is difficult.
Have you heard of the occasional lack of inspiration in a writer? The problems you face when you lose the fluidity and accuracy of your writing are the same ones that famous writers sometimes face. Besides, the latter is sometimes simply obliged to write because the publisher has given them a deadline and they have already spent the advance they received. You remember that Rome was not built in a day, and having plenty of time to complete a business plan, you have no reason to worry. Don’t you?
If you feel something has stalled, don’t worry. It’s typical of the creative process. The essential thing is to keep your hands up. Force yourself to write a few words and then some more. Try to write for yourself at least an outline of what should be written in full and what you will do later.
11. Skills section
Management, management, and management again. When writing a business plan, it is difficult to prove to the reader, i.e., the investor, that the people involved in the business have the necessary skills and experience to create a successful venture.
Investing in a project means investors are not just investing money into new products and interesting technologies. Many great patented inventions will never see the light of day because no one has been able to calculate how to profitably produce and market the product in question.
12. Sales tool
You have to look enthusiastic. A business plan is a sales tool for your business. Its purpose is to draw an investor’s attention to the financial earning opportunity your company provides. But a sophisticated investor can quickly see exaggerated statements about management ability or projected metrics that are far from reality.
You have to keep a balance between not sounding like a dry technical guide and not resembling some auction’s pushy salesman. The more engaging, but within the bounds of reality, you are in describing your business prospects, the more likely the reader will be captivated by the project. The other extreme, however, is to bet on the alleged greed of the investor wanting to make a profit. By making promises to an investor that you can’t keep, you’ll later cause them to be angry and want to take legal action.
13. Your audience
About who will read your business plan. When a client gives us a task to review their business plan and let them know if they can go to an investor with it, we often tell them, “A venture capitalist is not as versatile as you think.”
“How on earth is that possible? – they ask us. After all, this venture capitalist has three degrees! His last name has been known for generations! His phone number is nowhere to be found, which already tells us how important a person he is!”
Well, maybe. But maybe not.
Don’t assume that he will immediately, without any evidence on your part, understand why your product is superior. Don’t assume that he will immediately be able to grasp the essence of your technology. And he may not know how big or small the market for your product or your industry sector is. That’s what you owe him.
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