Have you started working on a business plan? Even if you have or even if you are just about to send it to some investors stop for a moment and consider the advice below. Read it and make sure whatever you write from now on will be perfect:
A business plan is an index of your thoughts and your business; the first contact investors have with your venture business. If certain points are not touched, the investors will forget about it in just a few seconds.
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A perfect business plan requires a systematic analysis.
Firstly, let`s take the Executive Summary. Ask yourself if you made it clear enough, concise enough and convincing. Can outsiders understand what is your business all about and who wants your product? DonΓÇÖt forget to talk about the characteristics and size of the target market. Make a strong point out of your unique ability to succeed.
Is the Company Analysis complete? Does it contain information about the date of formation, the legal structure, growth stage or location? Put in the achievements of the company and arguments about what makes it qualified for success.
Is the industry identified correctly in the Industry Analysis? If so, it should illustrate the market share size, the trends and the growth rate. Sustain this with data from an independent market research firm.
Are the customer segments pointed out in the Customer Analysis? Include and detail demographics, psychographics, customer need, and customer decision-making processes.
Is the direct and indirect competition mentioned and described in the Competitive Analysis? It is important to describe their weaknesses and how you will overcome them, but mention also the strengths. Describe the biggest competitors in a detailed mode and if possible all publicly traded competitors.
Is the Marketing Plan full of information about how to serve the customer and deliver the product? Follow your description by the four PΓÇÖs:
- Places or locations
Describe how you will keep customers and mention strategic partnerships you count on.
Check again if the Operations Plan includes your companyΓÇÖs short-term and long-term actions? Short-term means what needs to be done everyday (R&D, manufacturing, distribution, etc.) Long-term means important milestones like product release dates, revenue benchmarks or exit strategies (IPO, buyouts, mergers.)
Are the bios of the management team and board member complete in the Management Team section? If you need to hire more Management Team members describe why and what type of people you want.
Have you made accurate financial assumptions and projections in the Financial Plan? Check the Financial Plan twice, as this is the most important section for the investors. Talk about the following elements in both prose and charts:
- Revenue sources
- Pro forma (projected future) revenue streams
- Market share
- Operating margins
- Employee head counts
- Additional funding sources
- Exit strategies
Is the Appendix complete with all the documents necessary to paint a complete picture of the business? DonΓÇÖt forget any schemata, patents, diagrams, additional financials, customer testimonials, etc.
In the end, check if it looks good and if all the pages are in order. A business plan shorter than 30 pages is preferable. Format it in a clear and readable way. DonΓÇÖt forget the cover sheet and the logo. Finally, is it credible?