From Forbes Magazine 3/10 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 7/13
If you think you only need a Business Plan to go “fishing” for capital, you are sorely mistaken. A Business Plan –thoughtfully assembled & diligently updated– is the very Blueprint for any company. It sets direction, facilitates communication & establishes performance metrics. Better yet, well-articulated Business Plans force business owners to constantly weigh the strengths & weaknesses of their operations. And, yes, these documents are absolutely necessary, when courting professional investors. Begin with a 1page Briefing and follow up with an Executive Summary of a few pages, before you release your full Business Plan.
Tips & Traps for making a “great” Business Plan
Investment-strength Business Plans –which usually run about 20 pages long– are grounded in deep knowledge of an industry & the money-making opportunities you’re offering. Below is the highlight of the 10 key elements that matter most –to business Founders and their Investors.
1. Definition Of The Problem. Every plan must start with an explanation of the “problem” the business aims to solve –not a description of your company & your product. Lay it out in terms almost anyone could understand, and quantify the “cost of pain” in dollars or time (if you can). Avoid broad generalizations like – “every customer needs this” & gobbledygook like “next generation platform” –they mean nothing & undermine your credibility.
2. Solution & Benefits. This is not the place for a detailed product specification. Instead, explain How & Why your product works, including a customer-centric quantification of the benefits. Again, skip the technical jargon hyperbole so the Investors can easily understand it.
3. Industry & Market-Sizing. Without compiling excessive information, capture the evolution of the overall industry, market segmentation, market dynamics & customer scene. Relevant charts & graphs, with figures from accredited sources, sell a story very efficiently.
4. Explanation of your Business Model. This section should explain (concisely & clearly), how you will make money & how much of that you get to keep after expenses. A mere glance should yield a decent grasp of the business’ growth potential.
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