For many people creating a business plan during a company start up is a real drag, but it does not have to be! You can create a high quality business plan quickly if you have the right mindset and a few easy steps to follow, such as the ones below.
1. Create an Outline
Before stressing over the entire plan, start with a simple outline. There are ten sections of a business plan so start by creating this outline: Executive Summary, Company Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, Financial Plan, and Appendix
The first section potential investors will read is the Executive Summary, outline it first. Within this section, you will want to show who needs your product or service. Lead into the unique service or product that your company can provide to meet this need. Next, demonstrate that the industry is not only present but also growing and sustainable. This should lead to strong value propositions. Now highlight the vast experience of your team and finally present good but realistic financial expectations.
Go back and create applicable subheadings for each section. An easy way to accomplish this is by writing subheadings in the form of questions an investor would ask.
Be as thorough as humanly possible and fill it all out completely.
2. Brainstorm with the Team
Even if you are the one and only person on the team, you should still brainstorm! Take the outline you have already completed and brainstorm each piece of information included. You may come up with some interesting solutions.
During this session write until your finger cramp, you may not need it all but that is okay! The more information the better and there is no such thing as wrong information. You can take care of impertinent or repetitive information at a later date; the goal here is to keep the ideas flowing as you follow the outline.
3. Niche Market Research is Worth the Investment
If you want, any chance of passing muster with savvy investors this is a crucial piece of information. You can do your own research via the internet but the information will be more credible coming from a market research company. They know how and where to dig for the most relevant information on your niche. This is definitely a case of getting what you pay for so invest wisely in research.
4. Make and Stick to a Schedule
Once you get to this point, you should be able to put your business plan together in a week or less. It will take about eight hours per day and you should try to finish one section per four-hour block. Do not forget a break! Take a 30 minute to 1-hour break between sections. The Customer Analysis and Industry Analysis can usually be finished in one four-hour session while the Appendix usually comes together as you go.
Using the tips above you should have a business plan in a few days rather than weeks.