It doesn’t take a genius to know that you need to have a strong business plan in place. A business plan could either be a way to attract investors or it could serve as a guide.
Writing a business plan can be unnerving, especially if you've never written anything quite like it before, or maybe you do have a plan but you’ve never thought of writing it down. It doesn't have to be difficult. Below are some tips on how create a business plan that conveys your vision effectively and convinces people that your business is worth it.
Before planning, make time for extensive research
To create a well-founded business plan, you've first got to learn about your business and your industry inside and out. Just to be sure, spend twice the amount of time researching your business than you spend writing your business plan.
You need to know every aspect closely so you can answer any questions investors may have and eliminate any doubts they have in their mind. Your product or service, your target market, expenses, your geographic area — these are all the things you'll have to know by heart, and once you do, only then can you begin creating a business plan.
Get acquainted with your competition
It’s easier to develop a business plan when you’re fully aware what makes you different from (and better than) each of your competitors. You might think you’ve come up with something brilliant and innovative, but without proper knowledge on what other businesses do, you might discover that you’re actually way behind in terms of strategy, technology and brand awareness.
Support actions with historical data
If you claim that your product or service will take the market by storm in a year, you have to support this statement with data. If you say your management team is fully qualified to deliver what is expected of them, be sure your team’s credentials demonstrate the skills and experience required. In short, each assertion that you stipulate on your business plan has to be substantiated by measurable data and insight, otherwise your words will not carry weight.
Make sure that you have enough time and resources to carry out your plans
Being overly optimistic with time and resources is a common error business owners make. If you fail to properly assess the extent of your ability to meet your deliverables, it may cause your business to struggle in fulfilling promises you can’t keep. Lend credibility to your business plan by maintaining realistic projections and claims. Always assume that things take a fraction longer, or that things require a bit much more than what you’d normally need.
Superlatives and strong adjectives like “major,” “incredible,” “amazing,” “outstanding,” “unbelievable,” “terrific,” “great,” “most,” “best” and “fabulous” don’t have a place in a business plan. This is especially important when talking about finance management. Sure you want to look good, but resist optimism here. Use half of what you think is reasonable. It's better to underestimate than set expectations that aren’t fulfilled.
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