Develop Business Plans In a Snap!
best way to show bankers, venture capitalists, and angel investors that you are
worthy of financial support is to show them a great business plan.
Make sure that your plan is clear, focused and realistic. Then show them that
you have the tools, talent and team to make it happen. Your business plan is like
your calling card, it will get you in the door where you'll have to convince investors
and loan officers that you can put your plan into action.
Once you have raised the money to start or expand your business, your plan
will serve as a road map for your business. It is not a static document that you
write once and put away. You will reference it often, making sure you stay focused
and on track, and meet milestones. It will change and develop as your business
Do I need a business plan?
Not everyone who starts and runs a business begins with a business plan, but it
certainly helps to have one. If you are seeking funding from a venture capitalist,
you will certainly need a comprehensive business plan that is well thought out
and contains sound business reasoning.
If you are approaching a banker for a loan for a start-up business, your loan
officer may suggest a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, which will require
a business plan. If you have an existing business and are approaching a bank for
capital to expand the business, they often will not require a business plan, but
they may look more favorably on your application if you have one.
Reasons for writing a business plan include:
- Support a loan application
- Raise equity funding
- Define and fix objectives and programs to achieve those objectives
- Create regular business review and course correction
- Define a new business
- Define agreements between partners
- Set a value on a business for sale or legal purposes
- Evaluate a new product line, promotion, or expansion
What's in a business plan?
A business plan should prove that your business will generate enough revenue to
cover your expenses and make a satisfactory return for bankers or investors.
- Executive Summary--features the highlights of your plan and sells your idea
in two pages or less.
- Company Summary--a factual description of your company, ownership, and history.
- Products (or Services or both)--describes your products and/or services and
how they stand out from competitive products and services.
- Market Analysis-provides a summary of your typical customers, competitive
landscape, market size, and expected market growth.
- Strategy and Implementation-describes how you will sell your product, how
you will put your plan into action, and establishes milestones.
- Management Summary-provides background on the management team, their experiences,
and key accomplishments.
- Financial Plan-contains key financials including sales, cash flow, and profits.
What makes a successful business plan?
- A well thought out idea
- Clear and concise writing
- A clear and logical structure
- Illustrates management's ability to make the business a success
- Shows profitability
How do you write a business plan?
Sitting down looking at a blank computer screen as you prepare to start your business
plan can be daunting. You may want to look at some alternatives that will make
the process a bit easier.
Hire a Professional
A professional consultant will create the business plan for you, but you still
have to be prepared to think through your business and understand the underlying
concepts in your business idea. You will have to work closely with the consultant
to ensure that he or she develops a good plan that accurately represents your
business or business idea. You can find a list of business planning consultants
Buy a Book
There are many good books on the market that will help you to understand what
needs to go into a good business plan. You can read Timothy Berry's "Hurdle: the
Book on Business Planning".
Use Business Planning Software
A good business planning software package will provide you with an outline for
a well-developed, objective-based and professional business plan. Software packages
will remove the problem of starting from scratch by structuring your plan for
you. The software should ask you the right questions that will pull out the most
important underlying concepts within your business idea. Find
out more about the leading software package on the market, Business Plan Pro.
Business planning resources