Writing a business plan can be hard. Boiling down your idea to a few pages and making investors understand your vision to invest in it is the real challenge. That’s why there are business plan writing services for hire.
If you’re thinking of writing a business plan, here are some of the most important factors that you should remember.
The Best Qualities of a Great Business Plan
A business plan is usually built on the same template. You have to answer, the same basic questions like What, Why and How. If you can do that, you’re set.
You need to do your research on whatever you’re making or marketing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a product or a service. What matters is that you can sell it to the market and the customer has a reason to pay. This research can compare different companies that are doing the same thing but failing.
It can encompass how a certain need has arisen due to the changes in people’s lifestyles over the last decade. It can also include whether people are experiencing a problem that you have created a solution for. It can even involve surveys from people that have used your product or service.
You simply need to convince the investors that you have the “What” the customer is looking for.
You need to show what the purpose of your plan is. If it’s a roadmap that describes how a business will grow, you’ve got to account for the speed bumps. You also need to convince investors that this model will be profitable down the line.
If your business plan doesn’t have a purpose beyond convincing investors though, you’re dead in the water. It shouldn’t be an ad for your company. On the contrary, you should be showing everyone how prepared you are to succeed. The investors should recognize “Why” they’d be missing out if they don’t invest in your company.
This is “How” you will publicize and sell to your main customers. Your business plan has to be comprehensive and strategic. It has to target your ideal customer; it has to know what stages the marketing will have to go through, etc.
The marketing strategy should also point out if the company has to enter new territory or refine a product. You also have to include economic projections, e.g. what if the shifting economy warrants raising prices, or revising the strategy?
Some call it passion, Mark Cuban calls it obsession. He believes that if you don’t love what you do, it will fail. Since he’s a billionaire who’s also a judge on Shark Tank, I tend to believe him. You also need to convince investors through your business plan that you’re passionate about your business. If that passion doesn’t come through, you may as well not try at all.
Some Tips to Refine Business Plans
After you’re done making your business plan, you should go over it twice and then do it again. This is to make sure that you haven’t sugar coated anything or used rainbows and butterflies to describe your vision. Investors know when they see a good idea and a dud.
Hence, you need to be honest with them about everything. If things aren’t going well, they’ll smell it. Also, if you fool yourself into thinking that you can solve problems later by dressing them up, you’re wrong. Do yourself a favor and go back to the drawing board if that’s the case. If not, then here are some excellent tips to refine your business plan.
Set realistic goals. Don’t tell your investors that you’re going to make billions in the first year or that your tech is revolutionary. Others may have thought about something very similar quite recently. However, if your idea has an aspect to it that is unique, use that as your selling point. Investors are usually looking for businesses that differentiate themselves because of a practical advantage.
Plan conservatively. It’s always a good idea to under promise and over deliver. The opposite is mostly true with people that apply for jobs and ask for funding. Investors know that.
Hence, do your research and calculations. However, present a conservative picture of what you hope to achieve in the next year or five years. That works much better than claiming you’re the king of the world.
Use visuals to explain your plan. Investors go through so many business plans every single day. They get bored with reading and want to move on to something that interests them. Hence, giving them visual representation like graphs, charts, pictures, concept art, etc., is much better.
Add your own flair to the plan. There’s no rule that says you can’t show off. Entrepreneurs and businessmen usually have something unique to them. It usually helps their cause. Hence, you should also add a personal touch to your business plan in the form of something creative. It can be an image, an approach to business, etc.
What Do Investors Want In a Business Plan?
Peter Thiel, the angel investor that brought Facebook into the mainstream, has a few rules for a business plan. He says that startup dogmas are empty. He doesn’t believe in ‘best practices’ since they turn up empty after a few years. He believes in treading new paths and challenging the old dogmas.
However, he also recognizes that whatever is proposed needs to be backed up by actual data. He believes in going after solutions for problems rather than sunshine and rainbows.
Mark Cuban detests business plans that brag about the latest technology. He believes in using the technology that someone knows best. Hence, if a business plan suggests that a business will succeed due to access to the latest technology, he passes on it. He asks entrepreneurs to question the technology they use and why it provides value instead of buying expensive gadgets.
If you’re making an effort to write a business plan, it should include solid reasoning and research. Remember that it’s much better to convince investors rather than to impress them.
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