If you can tell an amazing story, then you know exactly how to write a business plan.
Your business plan is an integral roadmap charting how your company will make its way from point A (where you are now, available resources, individuals at the helm) to point B (multiplied profits, market ubiquity). It should spell out plainly how you’ll accomplish goals that help your brand and assets expand. What’s more, a winning business plan is a valuable gem when wooing potential investors for your startup.
There’s a lot of ground to cover and hitting all the right notes along the way can only increase you company’s chances of success. Today, we’ll touch on some of the more essential parts of a business plan.
Tell a Damn Good Story
First, you’ll need what’s called an executive summary. This should be a sweet and simple introduction to your business for the uninitiated. You’ll need to answer a few simple questions:
- What products and services are you offering, and how do you expect to turn them into a profit?
- Where would you like to steer the company in three years’ time?
- What steps are necessary to get you there?
- What’s your strategy for getting you brand’s name out there?
In a nutshell, if it’s the sort of thing a loan officer is bound to ask, be sure to include it, and do so neatly—a poor, unclear, or cluttered executive summary will likely amount to a loan rejection.
Sell With Powerful Words
Next, you’ll want to explain not just the nature of your wares, but the state of your market in general. If you’re starting an ice-cream venture, for example, you’ll have to summarize where similar establishments like Dairy Queen and Baskin Robbins are; stress that certain something that sets you apart in the field, and explain your plans to crush the competition like grapes.
You may be a quivering David in front of business Goliaths at this point, but take heart – people love an underdog. Let them know they should root for you by highlighting the amazing talents of your brilliant superheroes ‘aka’ management team.
Numbers Still Matter
If you haven’t guessed by now, much of this is an effort to put on your best face for investors. But as charmed as they might initially be, any shrewd investor is very quickly going to want to look at the numbers. You’ll have to spell out all things financial right down to the letter.
And though it’s oftentimes difficult, it’s always a great help to bring a decent bit of capital of your own to the table. This goes a long way towards bringing others on board; a reluctance to place your bet on your own venture can only make a would-be investor skittish.
Honesty Is the Best Policy
Write your business plan as if you were trying to sweet-talk an interrogator. You’ll be bombarded with endless questions that will require clever, honest responses. (Wouldn’t you question people who are asking you for money?)
Notice that I said clever AND honest answers. You’re really going to want to arrive at that big red “X” on the treasure map in three years, so gauge your strategy appropriately. Your business plan will serve as the basis of every move you make, from securing finances to climbing your way to the top.
What’s the Word: Your business plan isn’t written in stone. As you face challenges and achieve goals, update your plan to reflect the next chapter in your company’s journey.