Your business plan is an absolutely critical document in determining the success of your business. That said, it’s probably not something you should rush. However, there are certainly times when you need to create a business plan quickly since you are so busy with other tasks. This article explains how to do just that.
You’ll first learn 3 key organizational tips and then 2 tools that will allow you to more efficiently create your business plan. You’ll then see what research to assemble before starting your plan. Finally, you’ll learn what to put in each of the 10 sections of your business plan.
The 2 Keys to Your Success
The key to successfully creating your business plan in just one day is to:
- Be highly organized
- Have the tools you need
With regards to organization, it’s very similar to having a written shopping list when going to the supermarket. Better yet, a written list organized by aisle. Since we all know that when you go to the supermarket without a list, you either waste time going to the same aisle twice or forget something (and need to go back or live without it).
With regards to having the right tools, an analogy probably isn’t needed. But remember Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Now imagine chopping down the tree if you didn’t even have the right tool; that is, you didn’t even have an axe!
With regards to organization, I suggest the following:
- Block out time to complete your plan. If you budget 8 hours for the total plan completion, I suggest four 2-hour blocks. During those blocks, you must remain 100% focused. That means no answering the phone, no checking email, no looking at social media, etc. Every time you lose focus, your productivity will suffer sorely.
- Get the input you need from others before sitting down to write your plan. For example, if you have a marketing manager and she has the key details about your marketing plan, consult her prior to writing your plan. At a minimum, you should have a consensus about the key marketing elements such as how you will promote your company.
- Assemble any business documents (e.g., incorporation papers) you have accumulated since your organization’s inception.
With regards to tools, have these handy:
- A business plan template or a business plan outline: these will ensure speed since if you already have a document with section headers and/or questions to answer, it will be much faster than starting with and completing a blank document.
- Appropriate word and spreadsheet processing software. While Microsoft Word and Excel are the standards, more and more options like Google documents are available. Use whatever word and spreadsheet processing software you are most comfortable with. Just make sure you have both as completing your plan without them will take much longer.
Finally, ideally, you can complete the key market research for your business plan before sitting down to write your business plan.
This research includes:
- Industry Research: which answers key questions such as how large your industry is and what trends, if any, are shaping it.
- Customer Research: which answers questions about your target market such as how many people comprise it, what their demographic make-up is (e.g., age, gender, socioeconomic status), etc.
- Competitive Research: which details not only who your key direct and indirect competitors are, but their strengths and weaknesses.
Let’s Get Started
Now that you’re organized and have the tools and market research you need, it’s time to get started on your plan.
Below are the 10 key elements of your business plan and how to complete them most effectively.
Section 1: Executive Summary
Your Executive Summary is the most important part of your business plan, since if it doesn’t excite readers, they’ll never get beyond it to the rest of your plan.
Complete your Executive Summary last, and have it include a brief synopsis of all the other sections of your plan. Of critical importance, you Executive Summary MUST answer why your business is unique. That is, what is it about you, your products/services, your market, your marketing plan and/or anything else that makes you extremely likely to succeed? Answering this is the cornerstone of not only a successful business plan but a successful business, so spend time on this one.
Section 2: Company Analysis
Your Company Analysis gives a snapshot of the current state of your company. If you’ve incorporated, you’ll state your type of business (e.g, C-Corp) and the date of your incorporation (remember, you pulled out this documentation in the Organization phase above).
Even if you’re just starting out, you can provide background information such as when and why your idea for the business was conceived.
Section 3: Industry Analysis
Here is where you’ll include the industry research you conducted above.
Importantly, don’t just copy/paste a research report into your business plan. Rather, the ideal research helps prove the viability of your business. For example try to show how industry trends favor your success.
Section 4: Customer Analysis
Above you identified your target customers, and conducted research into their demographic profiles. When targeting consumers, these profiles include factors such as their age, gender, and socioeconomic status as mentioned above. If targeting businesses, detail the types of businesses (e.g., size, location, industry) and the target contacts (e.g., title, function) within those businesses.
Section 5: Competitive Analysis
This is the final “research” section of your business plan, where you will detail your direct (similar offering to similar customers) and indirect competitors (similar offering to different customers OR different, but related offering to similar customers).
For your top 3-5 direct competitors, document each of their strengths and weaknesses. Then document the strengths and weaknesses of your indirect competitors as a whole.
Section 6: Marketing Plan
There are four sub-parts to your marketing plan:
1. The products and services you offer: document them
2. Your pricing strategy: tell what it is; are you the low-cost provider? The premium cost?
3. Your channel strategy: how will customers buy your products/services (e.g., sell via your website, via retailers, etc.).
4. Your promotions strategy: how will customers hear about you: pay-per-click advertising, social media, etc.
Section 7: Operations Plan
Here you will document your growth plan.
To do this, write down the next 6 months, the following 2 quarters and the following 2 years and detail the key accomplishments you plan to attain during those time periods.
For example, if today were January 1, 2020, your operations plan would look as follows:
- January 2020
- February 2020
- March 2020
- April 2020
- May 2020
- June 2020
- 3rd Quarter 2020
- 4th Quarter 2020
- Annual 2021
- Annual 2022
Once again, for each of these time periods, you would detail your key goals.
Note that the reason we start monthly and then move to quarterly and annually is that it’s much easier to determine market conditions in the short term. Longer-term there is much more uncertainty and it’s thus harder to predict what will happen.
Section 8: Management Team
In your Management Team section, write the key facts about yourself and other key members of your team. This is often written the same way as the “Management Team” or “About Us” sections of most websites.
Tell the past accomplishments of team members here. If you are planning to add key team members in the future, document the roles you will fill and the key criteria you will use to fill the roles.
Section 9: Financial Plan
The Financial Plan includes two elements.
The first element is completing, in a spreadsheet, your Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. These three financial documents detail key information such as the profitability of your business and how much funding, if applicable, is needed to grow the business. Your full financial statements will appear in your Appendix.
The second element is completing the section of your word document. In this section, you will show summary/top-level figures from your financial statements such as your Revenue and Profit projections for the next five years.
You will also provide written commentary supporting your financials, such as how you will generate the sales you expect and any key assumptions you’ve made.
Section 10: Appendix
Your Appendix will include any supporting information. As mentioned above, your full financial statements will go here. But also include any other information that supports your potential future success such as references from customers, signed contracts or purchase orders, etc.
The Time is Now
You now have all the information you need to complete your business plan in just one day.
Remember, start by organizing your efforts and making sure you have the right tools. This seemingly simple first step makes a huge difference.
Then methodically make your way through the 10 business plan sections. Don’t allow yourself to be stumped in any one section. Rather, if you get stuck, move on and come back to it. This way, you’ll make lots of progress quickly, and most likely when you come back to the issue that stumped you earlier, you’ll already have conceived an answer.
How to Create a Business Plan in 1 Day Infographic
Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.
To further help you expertly create a business plan in one day, we put together the slide presentation below to walk you through the “10 Key Elements of a Business Plan.”
In this article, you will learn what an elevator pitch is and why it is so important.
You will then learn how to create a great elevator pitch for your business, using the comparative formula or elevator pitch template provided below.
What Is An Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief summary of your business. It is designed to quickly convey the key elements of your business to investors and get them interested.
As the name “elevator pitch” implies, it’s derived from the amount of time you would have to speak to an investor if you were riding an elevator with them. Accordingly, the goal of your elevator pitch is to convey your message and get the investor interested in 60 seconds or less.
Why Elevator Pitches Are Important
Most investors are constantly pitched with new ideas. As a result, if you can’t convey your story and gain their interest in 60 seconds, they’ll move on to the next opportunity. There are just so many hours in the day, and investors are too busy to invest time thoroughly reviewing all companies they come across. So, if you can’t convey your business quickly and effectively, you won’t receive funding.
Similarly, venture capitalists generally work in teams. So, if one member of the venture capital firm is interested in funding your company, they need to present it to the others. In doing so, they need an effective elevator pitch. If they don’t have it, they’ll fail to convince the others to fund you.
A Great Elevator Pitch Formula: Comparing Yourself to Another Successful Venture
One way to concisely explain your business to others is to compare it to another successful business they know and to show how you’re different.
One company who did this well was Bookswim. Bookswim’s elevator pitch was this: “We are Netflix for books.”
From just these five words, investors knew Bookswim was an online book rental company just like Netflix is an online movie rental company.
The Simple Elevator Pitch Template
If you’re able to compare and differentiate yourself from a successful company, that is a recipe for elevator pitch success.
If that formula doesn’t work for you, or if you’re seeking a more comprehensive elevator pitch, use the elevator pitch template below:
A. Start by answering the following questions:
- What does your company do (start with phrases such as we help, we provide, we manufacture, we offer, etc.)?
- Who does your company serve (who are your customers? teenagers? entrepreneurs, new parents, etc.)?
- What key benefits do you offer your customers? (e.g., higher quality/more success, lower cost, more reliable, etc.)?Why is your company better than competitors? (e.g., even faster, less expensive, etc.)? What information gives your firm more credibility (e.g., track record)?
- Is there a clear and clean business sector that your company fits into (e.g., restaurant, CPA firm, etc.)?
B. Combine the key information from Questions 1-5 into a 35 word or less statement that describes your business.
Say it aloud to make sure it sounds good and makes sense. Tell it to friends to make sure they “get” it. Tell it to employees to confirm that they can repeat it back to you.
Here’s an example: Rick’s Bridal sells high-end wedding gowns and accessories to brides in New York City. For twenty years, Rick’s has served over 25,000 satisfied brides through our six locations.
Practice Makes Perfect
Importantly, you should write down/type up your elevator pitch and practice delivering it.
The more you practice, the more easily you will concisely recite it within 60 seconds and the more natural it will sound.
Finally, try delivering your elevator pitch to friends, family, and warm contacts first to get their feedback before giving your first pitch to real investors or lenders.
Elevator Pitch Template Infographic
Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.
To further help you develop your elevator pitch, we put together the slide presentation below to show you “How to Craft a Killer Elevator Pitch.”
The right business plan template will allow you to quickly and easily complete your business plan.
The key is to know the questions to answer in each section of your plan.
Below is a great business plan template for you to use.
Also, at the bottom of this article, you will find a free business plan template you can download.
Here is your business plan template with each of the 10 sections you need in your business plan.
I. Executive Summary
The Executive Summary is the first and most important part of your business plan template.
In the Executive Summary section of your business plan, the key questions to answer are as follows:
- What does your business do?
- What market need does your business solve?
- What are 4-7 reasons why your business will be successful?
- How much capital, if any, are you seeking for your business?
II. Company Analysis
In the Company Analysis section of your business plan, the key questions to answer are as follows:
A. Company Profile
- Where are you located?
- When were you formed?
- What is your legal entity form (e.g, LLC, C-Corp)?
B. Company Vision/Mission Statement
- What goals is your company trying to achieve?
C. Past Accomplishments
- What successes has your company already achieved?
III. Industry Analysis
In the Industry Analysis section of your business plan, the key questions to answer are as follows:
A. Market Need
- What customer need are you fulfilling?
B. Market/Industry Overview
- In what market(s) do you compete?
C. Market/Industry Trends
- What are the key market trends and how do they affect you?
D. Relevant Market Size
- How large is your relevant market (the # of customers who can realistically buy from you)?
E. Unique Qualifications
- What qualifications make your business uniquely qualified to succeed)?
IV. Customer Analysis
In the CustomerAnalysis section of your business plan, the key questions to answer are as follows:
A. Customer Needs
- What are the key needs of your target customers?
B. Target Customer Profile
- Who are your target customers? Give a detailed demographic profile.
V. Competitive Analysis
In the Competitive Analysis section of your business plan, the key questions to answer are as follows:
A. Direct Competitors
- Who are your direct competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
B. Indirect Competitors
- Who are your indirect competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
C. Competitive Advantage
- What are your competitive advantages? Are these sustainable (can competitors emulate them)?
VI. Marketing Plan
In the Marketing Plan section of your business plan, the key questions to answer are as follows:
A. Products and Services
- What are your products and/or services?
B. Branding and Promotions Plan
- What is your desired brand positioning? How do you plan to promote your company’s products and/or services?
C. Distribution Plan
- How will you sell your products and/or services to customers? Directly? Through partners/distributors? Etc.
VII. Operations Plan
In the Operations Plan section of your business plan, the key questions to answer are as follows:
A. Key Operational Processes
- What are the key operational processes that your organization needs to accomplish on a daily basis to achieve success?
B. Business Milestones
- What milestones will you need to accomplish over the next 1-3 years in order to achieve success?
VIII. Management Team
The Management Team section of the business plan must prove why the key company personnel are “eminently qualified” to execute on the business model. The key questions to answer are as follows:
A. Management Team Members
- Who are the key members of your management team?
- What are their backgrounds and bios?
B. Management Team Gaps
- Who do you still need to hire?
- What positions will they fill?
C. Board Members
- Do you have a Board?
- If so, who is it comprised of? What are their backgrounds?
IX. Financial Plan
In the FinancialPlan section of your business plan, the key questions to answer are as follows:
A. Revenue Model
- In what ways do you generate revenues?
B. Key Assumptions
- What key assumptions govern your financial projections?
C. Topline Projections
- What are your topline 5-year financial projections?
D. Funding Requirements/Use of Funds
- How much money do you need to start and/or run your business? What are the primary uses of these funds?
E. Exit Strategy
- How will equity investors be paid? How will debt investors be paid?
The Appendix is used to support the rest of the business plan. Include the following (if applicable) in the Appendix:
- Projected Income Statements, Balance Sheets, and Cash Flow Statements
- Technology: Technical drawings, patent information, etc.
- Product/Service Details
- Partnership and/or Customer Letters
- Expanded Competitor Reviews
- Customer Lists
Business Plan Template Infographic
Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.
To further help you expertly complete your business plan, we put together the slide presentation below to walk you through the “10 Key Elements of a Business Plan.”
Your business plan is a critical document in the success of your business. It forces you to think through the key strategic decisions before executing on them. It makes you map out your action plan. And it ensures you have a cohesive and thorough story to tell investors or lenders from whom you might be seeking funding. Use the above template, or download this free business plan template to type up your answers and create a winning business plan!
In showing you the six biggest mistakes to avoid in your business plan, it’s helpful to start with the goal of your plan. In general, this goal is to get someone else to say “yes.”
That someone may be an investor or lender who you want to write you a check. It might be an employee you want to join your company. It might be a firm with which you want to partner. In any case, you want them to say “yes” to your plan.
Thinking about it this way, you will realize that your business plan is essentially a marketing document. Its goal is to market your business to the reader and get them to say “yes.” Anything that could dissuade them from saying “yes” is thus a mistake.
Below I will cover the most common mistakes.
1. Typos and Bad Grammar
The first mistake to avoid in your business plan are typos and bad grammar. Consider the following statement/question a prominent venture capitalist once asked me: “If this entrepreneur can’t even put together a well-written business plan, then how could they possibly run a successful venture?”
So, make sure your business plan doesn’t have typos and that it’s well-written. Likewise, make sure it visually looks nice. No one wants to read pages and pages of unformatted text.
2. Too Much Information
The second mistake to avoid is having your business plan be a ‘data dump.’
An example of a ‘data dump’ is adding tons of information to your business plan that is neither enticing nor easy to read. Your business plan can’t just be a bunch of information about your business. No one wants to read that. Remember, your business plan is a marketing document that markets your business to investors, lenders and/or other readers.
So, instead of, for example, providing four pages of industry research with loads of statistics, include two succinct pages of research that offer select statistics. And most importantly, focus on why these statistics support the success of your business.
Each piece of data included in your business plan should support why your business is a good opportunity for the reader.
3. Mentioning Past Achievements
The third most common mistake in your business plan is failing to discuss what your business has already accomplished.
The best indicator of future success is past success. As such, if you’re able to show that in the last months or years your business has already accomplished specific tasks and/or milestones, this helps prove you’ll be successful in the future.
So, be sure to highlight all key accomplishments your company has achieved to date.
4. Exaggerating Your Market
The fourth key mistake to avoid in your business plan is to overstate the size of your market.
Rather, get as specific as possible as to the size of your relevant or specific market.
Let’s use the healthcare market as an example. If someone says they’re competing in the $1 trillion healthcare market, that is clearly not a relevant market. Even if they say they’re competing in the multibillion-dollar medical device market, a sub-segment of the healthcare market, they are still not being targeted or relevant enough.
You must continue to pare down your market to get the relevant market, such as the stent segment of the medical device market. Then, as well as you can, determine the size of that relevant market.
5. Not Focusing on Your Customers
The fifth biggest mistake to avoid in your business plan is not focusing on customer needs.
At the end of the day, your business will succeed or fail based on whether or not you satisfy customer needs. Your customers, with their checkbooks, ultimately determine whether your business prospers or fails. So spend time focusing on who your customers are, what their needs are, and proving that what you’re offering really caters to these needs.
6. Unrealistic Financials
The sixth and final mistake to avoid in your business plan is showing outrageous or outlandish financial assumptions.
Rather, your financial assumptions in your business plan and specifically your financial model must be more realistic. For instance, if you say you expect $1 billion in revenue in your first year of operations, you will turn off any sophisticated investor.
That’s because no company in the history of the world has ever achieved such revenues so quickly. While your business may be unlike any other, you should still research other companies to understand the most likely growth scenarios such as how fast your revenues can grow, how quickly you can hire and train employees, and so on.
Most entrepreneurs haven’t created scores of business plans. Nor have most presented their business plans to experts who provided feedback. As a result, most business plans, unfortunately, exhibit one or more of the mistakes detailed above. Now that you know about them, yours won’t.
Business Plan Mistakes Infographic
Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.
In addition to business PLAN mistakes, there are many business mistakes to avoid. We put together the slide presentation below to show you “20 Business Mistakes to Learn From.”
Your business plan should be as long as is required to convince the reader that your business plan is worth investing in or taking an interest in.
That being said, the average length of a business plan to accomplish that goal is 15 to 25 pages.
The Ultimate Mission of Your Business Plan
Importantly, to determine the ideal length of your plan, remember the ultimate mission of your plan. That mission is to convince the reader to get involved in and or fund your business. If your business plan is too short, you’re probably not giving them enough information on your business. Conversely, if it’s too long, you’re providing too much information and you’re going to bore them, with the result being that they’ll lose interest.
Because length matters, the most important part of your business plan is clearly the first page or pages of your business plan. The first page is usually the cover page, followed by the table of contents. And then, the first real page of content is your Executive Summary. This is why the Executive Summary is so important. Because if you don’t capture the interest of the reader here, on these first pages, they’re just not going to read on.
In particularly, the very first paragraph of the Executive Summary is of critical importance because if you don’t excite somebody right away, they are not going to keep reading.
I typically want the Executive Summary to be one to two pages to get the reader interested in your business. Then, the rest of your plan supports the Executive Summary and goes into more detail about what your business is about, what products and or services you will offer, what is your marketing plan, what are the highlights of your financial plan, etc.
After the Executive Summary, there are 9 other key sections of your business plan. Each of these sections should be one to two pages each. And so, if we take an average of 1.5 pages per section times 10 sections (including the Executive Summary), we now have our 15-page business plan.
Importantly, the final section of your plan is your Appendix. Your Appendix could be longer than other sections because here you’ll include your full financial statements — your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement – and any other supporting documentation. But once again, the core of your business plan should be only 15 to 25 pages, or whatever amount of text and or pages is required to convince the reader that this is an opportunity worth pursuing.
Your Plan Supports Your Executive Summary
Let’s revisit your Executive Summary since it’s so important to the success of your plan. Importantly, in your Executive Summary, you must convey why your business is exciting and why it’s going to be successful.
Then, the rest of the document, that is, in the rest of your business plan, you will support this. For example, you might say in the Executive Summary that “our business is poised for success because we are competing in this market. This market currently enjoys sales of $845 million per year and is growing at a rate of 9% per year.”
This is enough research to include in the Executive Summary to get the reader or investor interested. Then, in the body of your plan, particularly in the Industry Analysis section, you must include whatever supporting information to prove this fact and go into more depth.
Specifically, in the Industry Analysis section, you would not only repeat that “the market size is $845 million and is growing by 9% per year” but you’ll cite different sources proving these figures. You’ll discuss different segments of the market. You’ll mention different geographic regions of the market, and so on. In summary, in the Industry Analysis section of your plan, you’ll go into as much detail as is required to further prove that the market opportunity is sound.
Likewise, in your Marketing section, you’ll go into as much detail as is required to prove your marketing plan is sound. For example, if one of your promotional strategies is PR or public relations, you’ll detail what specific newspapers, magazines, and websites you will target backed up by research on the customer demographics of those media sources. You’ll also discuss your PR strategy, such as whether you’re going to hold events or create stories.
Nobody’s Going to Read a 100 Page Business Plan
A final and important point on the ideal length of your business plan is that you want to make sure to include enough information to answer the reader’s most important questions, but not every question.
If you answer every question, your plan will be too long and you will bore most readers. Remember, nobody’s going to read a 100-page business plan. Rather, include the critical, concise information upfront in your Executive Summary and then, in the other sections of your plan, provide enough information to prove what you’ve said in the Executive Summary, add additional detail, and answer core questions that investors or readers will have when reading your plan.
Business Plan Length Infographic
Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.
We put together the slide presentation below entitled “How Your Business Plan Should Look” to give you additional pointers on creating a great business plan. These pointers allow you to keep your business plan short in length, but still very impactful.
There are 7 core strategies I use most. These are the same strategies I’ve taught to thousands of entrepreneurs, and most importantly, which have allowed them and me to create thriving businesses.
Below, I’ve detailed each one. Learn them and use them as I’m confident the level of your success will increase dramatically.
1) Have a Clear Vision Of Where You Want To Go
If you don’t have a clear picture of the company you want to build, there’s no way you can build it.
Spend time figuring out the precise attributes of the business you would like to build. How much will your revenues be? What products and services will you be offering customers? How many employees will you have? And, by what date will you achieve all this?
2) Have a Written Business Plan
Your vision is your dream. And to attain the dream, you need a business plan that details how you will achieve it.
Among other things, it must document your product strategy, your marketing strategy, and your human resource strategy. Your plan should detail your long-term vision, but focus more specifically on what you must accomplish in the next year.
3) Have Quarterly, Monthly, Weekly, And Daily Goals
If you were able to draw a line from where you are now to where you want your company to be, that line would be known as a trajectory. Success is about getting on the right trajectory. That is, as long as what you accomplish today, this week, this month and this year progresses you farther and farther along the line (versus going below the line or stagnating) then you will eventually reach your long term goal.
To stay on the right trajectory, you must set quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Each goal should be set with an understanding of the larger goal. For example, figure out what you need to accomplish this quarter in order to properly progress towards your annual goal. And then figure out what you need to accomplish this month to properly progress towards your quarterly goal. And so on.
By creating and achieving these smaller, periodic goals, you start to ride the trajectory to your ultimate vision.
4) Educate Yourself Continually
To succeed you need to continually invest in educating yourself.
You should be reading the right books. You should be attending the right seminars, conferences and trade shows. And you must read the right newspapers, magazines, newsletters and blogs.
Do not skimp on spending money on educating yourself. Investing in your education (and that of your key employees) will generally give you a larger return on investment than anything else in your business.
5) Satisfy Your Customers
Satisfied customers are the key to your success. If you can’t satisfy customers, you will fail.
They say it takes one dissatisfied customer to undo the good that nine happy ones provide by spreading the word about their experience with you friend-to-friend or in online reviews.
You can satisfy your customers on the front end (at or immediately after the time of the first sale) by making the sales and delivery process smooth and seamless, by reducing the customer’s participation or steps required to use the product, by managing their expectations so that what they get is exactly what they were promised, and of course with spectacular customer service and support.
In addition to providing a great experience as just specified, the product or service you deliver them should be high quality and fully satisfy them.
6) Market to Your Customers
This is a big one, particularly since most business owners don’t do it enough. Most entrepreneurs and business owners are so focused on getting new customers that they neglect their current customers.
And, unlike prospective customers, current customers have a track record of buying from you…and are much more likely to buy from you again than prospective customers.
So spend time listening to and communicating with your current customers. Find out what that truly want and need, and stay top-of-mind so they buy from you again and again.
7) Be Laser-Focused in Your Work
This ties in with #3 (Have Quarterly, Monthly, Weekly, And Daily Goals), but deserves its own mention. Which is this: be sure to focus on one aspect of your business at a time. Conversely, trying to do too many things at once will diffuse your focus and inevitably result in failure.
Limit the number of projects you’re working on until they are finished. Remember, twenty projects that are 99% complete but not live yield less revenue that just one project that is 100% complete and live.
As we keep hearing in the presidential debates, you, the entrepreneurs and small business owners, are the backbone of our economy. Follow these strategies and you’ll be more successful, and so will the economy!
7 Proven Strategies to Methodically Grow Your Business Infographic
Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.
Strategy #2 above is to have a written business plan. To help you expertly complete your business plan, we put together the slide presentation below to walk you through the “10 Key Elements of a Business Plan.”
There is one business plan tip I give above all else, particularly if the goal of your business plan is to access funding.
This tip is to treat your business plan like a brochure or marketing document with the key goal being to get readers excited about your company. This tip and other critical business plan tips are explained in detail below.
Your Business Plan as a Brochure
When you create a brochure, you must determine they key value propositions that customers care about. For example, in the toothpaste business, certain brands promote whitening your teeth. Others promote anti-cavity properties. Some focus on fresh breath and still others promote all or several of these value propositions.
What toothpaste companies do is very simple, but powerful: they figure out what their customers want, and then position their offering as the perfect solution. Importantly, in addition to simply telling customers their product is right, they prove it. For instance, they mention their ingredients, show before and after photos, or tell what percentage of dentists trust them.
Identify Your Target Audience & Needs
Now, let’s move back to your business plan. Because a successful business plan does much of what the toothpaste companies do. The first thing to do when creating your business plan is to identify your target audience. This audience may, for example, be banks, angel investors or venture capitalists.
Next, think about their needs. Their needs are generally to fund a company that’s going to give them the greatest potential for a high return on their investment with the lowest possible risk
Prove Your Case in Your Business Plan
So, to write a business plan that gets you funded, you need to convince readers that you have a business with growth potential and with as little risk as possible.
You also need to show you have a product or service with unique attributes. And you want to prove your market is large, and ideally growing, and present your proof in the form of market research and statistics.
Finally, you want to prove the competence of your team. Show what your team has already accomplished in the past, in order to give readers the impression they can do it again.
Some additional business plan tips to boost your chances of raising funding include:
- Proofread your plan. Typos and/or grammatical errors will cause you and your plan to lose credibility.
- Keep it concise: 15 to 25 pages is a great length for a business plan. Don’t bore your readers with useless information.
- Create realistic financial assumptions: don’t show growth rates that no company in the history of the world has ever achieved
To summarize, in order to write a business plan that gets you funded, you need to start by considering your target market. Think about their needs and the value proposition they seek. Then deliver your answers in a well-written, easy to digest document that excites rather than bores them. Keep your plan concise and well-formatted, with realistic assumptions, and you will put yourself in the best position possible to raise money for your business.
Business Plan Tips Infographic
Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.
Business Plan Tips Slideshare
We put together the slide presentation below to show you “10 Tips For a Successful Business Launch.” In addition to the business plan tips above, this should help you better understand the keys to ultimate building a thriving business. Good luck!