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Help Me Write a Better Business Plan
Your business plan serves many purposes: it keeps you and your partners on the same page, it tells potential investors whether your business is worth investing in, and it helps you make sure all of your ideas are well thought out. Devote the time necessary to make such an important document all that it can be. Below, you'll find several helpful ways to improve your business plan.
1) Cover all the Areas
Your business plan needs to incorporate all areas of your business. If it doesn't, your readers will see it as incomplete. Make sure you include all of the following sections:
All of these topics are important because they help tell the story of your business. A good business plan will answer all of the questions your readers could have about your company, so it's best to make it as comprehensive as you can.
2) Pay Special Attention to Venture Capitalists
A business plan needs to portray your organization accurately, but you still must consider the intended audience. This is perhaps most necessary when you plan to use yours to solicit funds from potential investors or venture capitalists. People who may contribute financially to your business need to see its value and growth potential. In this case, it's in your best interest to use each section of your business plan to really showcase the positive features of your company.
For example, in the marketing section of your business plan, you'll want to talk about how many potential buyers you have and how you plan to reach them effectively. Make your plan as detailed as possible. Use the opportunity to show potential investors how well prepared you are and how probable it is that your business will make a lot of money.
Venture capitalists also need to see a thorough financial section in your business plan, including how much money you're looking to raise and how much of the profits you intend to share with them. Remember, all of your plans to need to be backed up with financial figures in order for potential investors to take them seriously.
3) Organize Your Information
Business plans are often long and dense with information. They are also not always read cover to cover by your audience. To help your readers find what they're looking for, include a table of contents. This will help them jump right to the section they most want to see. If they can do that quickly, and if they're impressed with the content, they will be more likely to read other sections of your business plan, as well.
It's also a great idea to include an executive summary at the very beginning of your business plan. An executive summary is a brief overview of your business plan's best features. For an attention-grabbing executive summary, write about how great your products or services are, the market potential, and your financial projections. It will help get your readers involved right away and entice them to look more deeply into your business plan to learn more about your company.