One absolute necessity if you’re trying to raise capital for your business is a well written business plan. One thing that a lot of entrepreneurs ask is how long their business plan should be. While there are no hard and fast rules about this, a business plan should be no longer than it has to be to get prospective investors interested. At the same time, it also needs to be no shorter than it needs to be to lay out the facts which show that you understand your industry and your market inside and out.
This is the balance that entrepreneurs must strike when writing a business plan and in general, you’ll find that business plans tend to be somewhere between 15 and 25 pages in length. However, there are a lot of other questions which business owners in search of funding ask, including the two which follow:
How Long Should The Executive Summary Be?
The Executive Summary is the first section of your business plan and as such, it needs to get the attention of potential investors quickly. Some say this section should be no more than one page long ideally, but definitely no more than four pages; the first page should convey everything that an investor needs to know to decide if they want to take the time to read the rest of the plan.
Is It OK To Go Over 25 Pages Including The Appendix?
Maybe. If the appendix is too long (over ten pages, for instance), then it’s best to bind it separately from the rest of the business plan. It’s possible that your appendix will be fairly long, since it needs to include your pro forma financial statements as supporting information for your Executive Summary and Financial Plan.
Depending on the nature of your company, your appendix might also contain documents such as patent information, schematics, letters and/or contracts with other businesses or larger customers, detailed reviews and competitive analysis and any other information a prospective investor might need. One advantage of binding your appendix separately is that it makes your business plan seem much more concise.
As they say, form follows function and the same is true for length. If your business plan can keep the attention of investors, it can be any length. However, keep this in mind: the purpose of your business plan isn’t to make your readers make a decision right away. It’s to get them interested enough to call you in for a meeting; this is where you’ll have a chance to give them all of the details they need to make a decision.