Do you want to put your business plan together quickly? This simple five step process will help.
1. Start with a basic template or plan.
Find a template or guide for a standard business plan which includes all of the following sections (in order):
You may be tempted to get creative with section terminology and order, but don’t do it. Investors are used to this layout and will know exactly where to turn to get the information important to them.
2. Collect your data.
You will need to consult with sources trusted in your market for all of the analysis sections. Get all of the relevant statistics and trends as they will relate to this business venture. For the financial, operation, and marketing planning sections you will need to compile realistic numbers as far as what it will take to get the business running or get it to that next level of success. You should also get some data on your own company as it stands right now.
3. Make a critical decision to quit or continue.
Taking all of your collected data into consideration, determine whether you want to continue with this business or need to reconsider other ideas. Do you want to quit or continue? This is the time to make the decision.
4. Put your financial plan together.
This is the most important section of your business plan because investors will give it the most attention and will notice any weak points. If you don’t know how to create the pro forma financial statements in Excel or another spreadsheet application, you should consider hiring an accountant to help you out. It’s worth the expense, since this section alone could make or break a deal with an investor.
5. Compose all other sections of the business plan, based on researched data.
Skip the executive summary and compose all other sections of your business plan. You can then add on the appendix and compose a great executive summary that ties everything together and creates urgency in an investor to keep reading to the other sections.
Your business may be at stake, but don’t make the mistake of leaving out complete analysis of the market and your competitors. It doesn’t have to all be about the glories of your own business. Open the door to more information and your plan will be more enticing to investors.