The Nut products and Mounting bolts of a Business Plan

Do you need investors? Buying a loan? Do you wish to apply for a grant? Or has the time just come to execute a self-analysis of your business? Are you growing your business? Looking for new markets? Seeking the next level in your business These are all times that you need a business plan? What are the nut products and bolds of a business plan?

All business plans have more or less the same sections some get the same content.
However, when they arrive at the investor’s or lender’s table some remain where they are yet others pass to the “I’ll read them later” heap or worse still the garbage can! So how do you make your business plan legible and memorable for the best reasons.

Let’s look at what in fact is at the heart of a business plan. A business plan is a technique that becomes and integrates those things that are required for a business idea as a company and expectations that prove it will be profitable. In other words, it is the hook to get an investor and tell them that your idea is innovative and you will be very profitable. Note those two important words: innovative and profitable. No investor will be interested in a company that is not going to be profitable enough to give them their investment back plus a very healthy profit. Now the what could be an interesting word — innovative. For a company to achieve success it must have something that differs from the others to all of those other companies getting work done in the same market. After all if your company is going to be the same as all the others, they are hardly going to move over and let you take their customers. No, your company needs to have something different that will attract these customers away from what they buy all the time. So innovative in some way, be it products, structure or service.

Lets add another word that your need to prove within your business plan — viable. Your investor or lender wants to see that you company is going to be viable. If you do a Google search about the “Internet Bubble” of circa 1995 you will see that thousands of investors invested and credited to new fangled internet companies that stated to make them sums of money in easy profits. Memories are long and now investors look to see that new companies are going to be viable for the for seeable future so that they continue to receive earnings stream and have a good chance of getting their loan or investment back.

Your business plan should be a communication tool selling an original idea that serves to attract and encourage people that you have the ability to implement the plan by establishing and managing the company.

At the beginning we highlighted other reasons for business planning. In addition to raising funds, your business plan is also the best tool for you to assess the viability of your business.

So that is the NUT PRODUCTS of a business plan, lets look at the MOUNTING BOLTS that hold it together:

Professional: Internally it ought to be well structured with an listing, page numbers, headings and bulleted sentences that explain complex matter. Plenty of graphics break up the boredom of too many words. Outside the body it ought to be skillfully bound and have a colorful and attractive cover page. It stands to reason that full company details and contact information should also be on the front cover.

Tempting. Written in a manner that encourages the reader to assess the likelihood of entering the business. Take care of the writing style, be succinct but not brief and certainly not so wordy that tiredness beckons. Keep to the point, zwoding extraneous information it does not support your business planning or structure. Avoid vocabulary and if you must use initials ensure that the first example is spelt out completely with the initials in brackets afterwards.

Dynamic. You need to be creative, but with some constraint. It’s best if you tell a tale but not one that can be found in the fiction section of a library. If the business you propose does not invite big flourishes, save them. It can be counterproductive to distract the reader. Creativity is important as long as you highlight something about the business and is there to keep the attention of the reader. Creativity must only be taken to paint images of how the business will operate in the future.

Accurate. Clarity is fundamental, but so is accuracy and reliability about the current state of your company and its future aims. A little bit of licence emerges by the reader but they do expect you to be truthful about your figures, customer numbers and state of the production of your goods.

Ordered. Guide your reader through your business plan and put supporting documentation within the appendix of the report. Although the key information should be mainly parts of the report, in the appendices you can supplementary data, market study results, resumes of professionals and any letters from recommendation or favorable report.

The last big BOLT that will hold your business plan together is CARE. Your business plan is not just something you have to rush through in order to get your funding. It is the description of what your business looks like now and what you want it to look like in the future. Most business plans start at about 20 pages really miss a small business setting out in the world to at most 50 pages for a business seeking major funding. Whatever the size of your business plan, and please practice writing complex ideas succinctly, it ought to be written with care — after all a good business plan is a roadmap to company success!