Ingredients for a Good Business Plan

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A great idea for a company or business, although the first step, will not guarantee success without a lot of ‘boring bits’ to go with it. Not only will a business plan help streamline the initial start-up process, but also it is a concise way of eloquently communicating your ideas with potential investors who require everything documented and in their ‘business language’. So, how do you write a great business plan?

Identify your motivation

For any business to be successful, it needs to have a driving motivation or passion and it is important to convey this to your investors and make them believe it. How do you do this? Firstly, identify what your motivation is. Have a chat with a friend, describing to them your desire for your company or idea, your target audience, who you want to help and the degree of success you want to achieve. Once you have these points clear in your mind, it will be a lot easier to communicate them to your investors or mentors.

Choose your words wisely

Since writing a business a plan is all about communication, the words you use to get your idea across are extremely important. If eloquent writing is not your forte, simply hire someone who specialises in writing business plans. Your words need to appeal to your target audience (investors). On this note, research your audience and what makes them tick then incorporate that into your writing.

Think Twitter

We live in the age of short, concise, efficient and 30 hours of activity crammed into 24. A whole story can be cleverly crafted to fit in a 140-word Twitter post. So too must your business plan be succinct and to the point without any excess ‘fat’ that has no bearing whatsoever on the idea. Unfortunately, with the world becoming a more global market, there are more ideas out there competing with yours and investors can tire quickly of reading page after page of words that fail to actually address the idea and the market, however complex their syntax is.

Be a straight shooter

We have covered words and being succinct, but how should you format your business plan? Paragraphs of accurately chosen words are still not going to cut it.

  • Business plans should have bullet points
  • The main ideas need to be easy to pick out
  • The reader should understand your motivation within a few minutes of reading
  • Each point should stand alone and be comprehensible, leaving no confusion

A picture is worth a thousand words

There is no requirement to say business plans need to be black and white with a stiff upper lip.
Incorporate the colour and the pictures. Incorporate site photographs and floor plans. Often, a lot
more can be conveyed through a picture, which requires less time to read and comprehend.

Measurable goals

The key to any achievement is breaking it down into a series of measurable goals. The same goes for a business idea and by having documented, measurable goals not only will it keep you accountable but it also promotes a degree of confidence in the idea from the investors.

Financial transparency

Whether you already have financial backing or are seeking it, having clear and accurate start-up costs highlighted will help instigate support in potential investors or mentors. They will want to know that the business will likely be financially viable and that you, as a key driver, understand the financial costs and commitments if they should involve themselves.

Points to cover

Finally, the aforementioned information in conjunction with market analyses and proposed sales strategies, should all be included under the following subsections in a good business plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Product/service description
  • Sales and marketing strategy
  • Organisational and management structure
  • Financial projections

A business plan is straightforward to draft but a good business plan, one that will portray your idea in the best possible light and get you the investment you need, requires crafting and attention to detail. It is not imperative for you to have these skills but certainly ensure you are not afraid to access them, as a well-written business plan is vital to any successful business endeavour.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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