Writing a business plan is an essential part of establishing a new business if outside capital needs to be raised, as potential investors will want to see what the business is trying to achieve. Some potential financing options for start-ups are outlined in the embedded infographic.
Even when not trying to attract start-up capital, a business plan can help set the strategy for the first few years of a business, acting as a guide to achieving objectives and a benchmark for measuring performance.
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The first step to writing a successful business plan is the executive summary.
The executive summary is a synopsis of the entire business plan, written to give potential investors an overview of your ideas for the business. Some people will never read more than the summary – almost everyone will want to read the summary first to determine if the rest of the business plan is likely to be worth spending time reading.
A good executive summary immediately grabs the attention of the reader and incudes all pertinent information, such as what the business will do, what the target market is, what problem the product or service solves for that market, and any financial highlights. As a rule of thumb, the executive summary should be kept to under two pages to hold the reader’s attention.
The short video attachment contains a couple of tips on how to create attention grabbing content.
People generally do not want to wade through huge reams of information in one go, but there may be vital financial, technical or statistical information you want to include in your business plan that helps back up the viability of your ideas.
Rather than padding out the business plan with lists of facts and figures, it can be a good idea to include an appendix. This way, investors and other readers know the information is there if they need to see it but can read through the meat of the plan without getting bogged down in numbers and complex data. The bulk of the main business plan can then be taken up with objectives and analysis.
The PDF attachment looks at three key types of analysis to include in a business plan.