Business plans are an indispensable starting point for startups and even growing businesses. They help entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investment companies, banks and other financial institutions, and other stakeholders.
A well-written business plan can impress recipients and yield desired results such as acquiring loans, convincing key people about your business, and inspiring confidence in core employees regarding your vision.
So, how do you come up with a business plan that wins? Well, there is no concrete formula to create the perfect business plan. But you can raise your chances of creating a winning business plan that gives you the desired results with the following steps:
Include Each of the 10 Critical Points in your Business Plan
A detailed description will give a clear idea of your business to funding companies and other entities interested in your company. Your business plan should include the following:
- Executive Summary – a summary of your business
- Company Background – a detailed description of your company history and accomplishments
- Products and Services – a detailed description of the products and/or services that your business is offering and how they can help intended customers
- Market Analysis – explains your target market and competitors
- Sales and Marketing – describes the marketing strategies and sales processes you intend to use
- Financial Projections – financial information such as balance sheets and forecasts to help investors assess risks and returns
- Milestones – objectives that you intend to reach in each business segment, including sales, HR, marketing, product development and finance
- Funding – the amount of money your business would need for the next 3 to 5 years
- Management Team – information on your management team and other key members associated with the business
- Appendix – provides supporting documents such as resumes and permits
Research More to Make your Business Plan Insightful
You may have a great idea, but your practical knowledge of your industry and your business is more important. So, spend more time on researching your industry, customers, existing market, competitors, and your product or service, before hurrying to come up with a business plan.
Your research can give you numerous industry insights that you could include in your business plan to provide greater clarity to readers. An in-depth document will also showcase your intimate knowledge of your industry and business, which increases your chances of convincing your target audience.
Share Information about All Aspects of your Business
While it is great to pitch your product or service, do not limit your business plan to this aspect alone. The target audience of your plan, especially banks and investors, will be more interested in knowing how your business would benefit them.
So, include all aspects of your business, including operations, processes, cash flow, expenses, and financial and industry projections. Include supporting documents to prove your statements.
Be Specific about your Marketing Plan
Your target audience will be interested in knowing not only what you can do for them but also how you can do it for them. So, be specific about your marketing plan.
Describe, in detail, your marketing objectives and strategies for each. For example, are you looking to increase sales for a specific product line? If so, how do you plan to do it?
Are you looking to create your brand presence in new territories? If so, how are you going to market your products or services? By refining the existing product, creating new client partnerships, or through content marketing? Specify each move you intend to make.
Customize your Plan to your Target Audience
The kind of information your target audience will be looking for in your business plan will vary. For example, bankers and investors will be more interested in financial projections while employees may be keener on management details and milestones.
Therefore, take the time to modify the plan to your audience’ requirements so that they find desired information faster. However, retain key information such as statistics, and financial or industry projections as they are.
Let your Passion Come Through
Plans, data and projections are all fine, but your business plan needs a soul. It is reflected only through your passion for what you are doing. Include a short description detailing why this business is so important to you. Share a personal story if possible.
The element of passion will reflect your commitment to a larger cause. It will help you connect with your target audience on an emotional level, which can earn you their lasting support.
Writing a great business takes time, money and resources. But, given the benefits of a solid plan, the investment is worth it.