When writing a business plan, use most of your time to focus on aspects of the business you know best. While certain aspects of the business plan can be standard language, spend your own time highlighting the aspects of the business that only you can explain. This will likely serve as the meat of the document, which will resonate with investors. Its sad to say, but while a great deal of time is spent creating business plans, very few investors read all of the details inherent in a business plan, they simply don’t have enough time. Instead, investors will likely skip to the most relevant sections of the plan, including the general discussion of the idea itself, how it will affect the market, and your intended plan of action to address the market.
This website is not intended to delve into all the intricacies of writing a business plan, but there are a few major elements that need to be discussed. To start, describe the business and how you envision it. This means detailing who the product/service will serve. What are the target markets you hope to address? At the same time you need to detail the companies currently active in the market. Following the introduction of your product or service, will these companies serve as competitors or facilitators who could potentially help to promote your venture. Fundamentally, you will need to detail why your venture is different. What are the differentiating factors that describe your venture? In a sense, this will answer the general question as to why your venture is necessary.
Other major elements of a business plan include an industry overview and financial analysis. Its important to acknowledge the industry itself and show your audience that you understand the general market dynamics. Use the document to show your knowledge of the industry and position yourself as an expert. Business plans available online will be helpful in showing you how to detail elements such as barriers to entry, industry composition, and other factors affecting growth.
A section highlighting relevant financial information is a requirement in any business plan. Financial information must include a discussion of estimated revenues and the related costs that will be incurred creating those revenues. Any financial discussion will also need to highlight the start-up capital necessary to launch your venture. Very few, if any, ventures will be profitable from day one, so your document must acknowledge this fact. Don’t forget to include a financial section detailing what value you ascribe to this company (what’s it worth) and how much you’re asking for from investors.
A business plan is a dynamic, constantly evolving document. Its likely that every investor you pitch will see a different version of your business plan. Instead of thinking of the business plan as a document, set in stone, you must view the business plan as a framework from which to navigate. As you gain a better understanding of the idea, the industry in which you intend to operate, the financials related to operation, and other factors, you will need to update the business plan accordingly.
Try This: Look online for business plan templates. Use this as a starting point to plug in your relevant information. Don’t worry about filling in every section, start with what you have a build from there.
Avoid This: Don’t let your business plan look generic. As with any presentation, your idea has to stand out. If you simply download a business plan template and put little effort into making your idea stand out, it will be harder to generate support from others (investors, customers, or potential employees).