A business plan can be an essential tool for a new company or fast-growing startup. However, many leaders struggle initially with what they should include in their business plan and how to best represent their information. See what top business publications and entrepreneurs have suggested as key elements to consider in writing your business plan.
Writing Your Business Plan
In their book Write Your Business Plan, the staff of Entrepreneur Media provide a detailed, step-by-step guide to writing a business plan.
Several of the specific components they recommend include: the statement of your business’s basic concept; several specific goals, and your strategy to reach them; the competitive advantage of your product; the market or target audience you are aiming for; information on your executive team; and your projected financial needs. See their blog post for a more detailed run down of each of these features.
While the content of your business plan is extremely important to attract investors and gain funding, the aesthetic look of your business plan can also be a deciding factor.
Dave Lavinky at Forbes provides a detailed explanation on how to style and present your business plan. He recommends that business leaders start their presentation with a cover page displaying their contact information to facilitate communication with potential investors further down the road.
If investors don’t have a way to contact you, they won’t be able to support your business. In addition, Lavinsky recommends that entrepreneurs utilize an appendix to provide your potential investors more detailed information about your financial projections, including cash flow statements and balance sheets. Check out his business plan template to help your company get started.
Business News Daily, a site devoted to help small business owners on their
entrepreneurial journey, provides its own take on writing the business plan, identifying several elements that entrepreneurs often forget to include.
They explain that companies which value innovation, like many startups, should emphasize how their business will revolutionize the industry. In the article, HomeLife Media founder Justin Palmer suggests that new companies should also include a contingency plan, in case parts of their business strategy do not go as predicted. For more information, view their entire blog post on the surprising things that a business plan should include.
Here is a brief breakdown of the different elements that top business leaders and publications recommend you include in your business plan. These are all important things to keep in mind when your company is just starting out and hoping to scale up quickly.
Use these tools to create a detailed and specific business plan that will wow investors and help you gain funding fast. Explore these publications’ websites for more detailed information and guidelines.