Top 5 Tips For Writing A Killer Business Plan

Writing a business plan is a detailed process that is both  revealing and educational.    With  existing  companies  it is  an opportunity  to re-evaluate profit margins and focus on  the prominent  areas of the business  while cutting  out the  departments  that are  not profitable.   For business plans involving  new  companies it is  a chance  to really  focus on,  and understand the industry and evaluate whether your shiny new opportunity will be successful before you make  an investment of time and money. 

While up to 44% of new  companies   will last  4 years or more the success of any new business is proper planning and projection,  access to capital  and  solid management.   

Here are  the 5 best tips  for  developing  a killer business plan that  will undoubtedly  impress:

1)  Don’t Skip The Research

 Developing  a solid business plan is the  singular  first step in knowing your industry and understanding what it will take to be successful in your chosen field.  Part of  developing a  plan should be to evaluate the competition ,  define  your business strategy and  start  to understand if your  company value  proposition meets a  realistic  need in the marketplace.  Going through the  initial steps  of  development for a  business plan is an invaluable process that will help to ensure that your business  can  survive the market trends.  Don’t pay someone else to do  your research  for you or it may end up  being more costly  than you think.

2)  Consider Your Audience

Business plans are created for  numerous  reasons.   Is it  for presenting to a board for project approval?  Will it be to submit for funding?  Is it simply to re-evaluate the business for profitability?  Each of these  avenues  will  necessitate  adjustments to the  business plan  format and style you choose to  incorporate  throughout the document.  If you are  attempting  to  secure  funding then you will  have to  have very detailed cost and ROI projections that are  measurable and realistic.   If you are  making a presentation  to a board or non-profit it is likely that you will need to include a focus on  involvement in the community  and impact (either positive or negative) to the  current   company.   Keep your audience in mind as you  develop  your document to ensure you hit the right points and leave no questions unanswered.

3)   Develop Quality Resources 

It is important to use a  diverse  mix of reference material in your business plan.  The internet is great for  the latest news  but is not nearly as reliable as printed  documents.    Always  use a good mix of reputable  internet  research along with  well known  facts and  industry specific  statistics commonly found in printed books.  Industry  specific publications  and  industry magazines  are  an excellent  way to get the most current  news and trends in a reputable place.  Include research from industry publications as well to enhance your  business plan  and build credibility in your  research.   Always be sure to cite your  references  or any quotes you may use.  This will also build credibility while ensuring you are not infringing on any protected or copyrighted  content you use.  To  easily  cite your  reference sources  there is an  web-based  tool that you can use to enter in your info and get back the properly formatted entry for a works cited page.  It  will help make  the process a breeze:  http://www.easybib.com/.

4)  Find A Good Template

Now that you have  various  articles and notes,  industry insight and  information and  loads of statistics  it is time to  combine  it all together in a  layout  that will highlight the  information  you have compiled.  Finding business plan examples can be  difficult  as every  plan  is different (see point #2 above), however you can create your own based on a  compilation  of the different areas or topics you  desire  to cover.  If you  do need  a business plan template that is already formatted with  different categories and sample headings  already setup,  try  using the plan  layout  from a site like http://www.business-plan-examples.com.  This site offers  an actual  business plan in Word format for  quickly  changing out  information and headings.   In addition the plan comes with a break-even analysis template in Excel as well as a  Pro-Forma financial spreadsheet template  in Excel with the formulas  already built  for  quickly  updating and projecting costs for  for your business.    This is a big time saver and an easy  solution  to quickly get the business plan document underway without starting from scratch.

5)  Talk To Industry Experts  

Finally,  after  you have compiled your data,  seek  out to some industry experts like local college professors, trade show organizers, or even the local Chamber of Commerce for some feedback and input on your plan.  It always helps to get a critical eye on the  document  before making the final presentation.  Having one or more  individuals  review the work will shed light on areas that  need to be revised  or  reinforce  that the  plan  is ready to present.

 Do not  get  distracted  spending too much time figuring out the  Works Cited, Table of Contents  or  general  plan  layout.   Use the  resources and templates  that are  easily  available to you and spend the time focusing where you should, on the  reporting  and presentation of your business idea.  

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