A Few Generalizations AboutBusiness Plans
The executive summary is critical:
This twoto three page summary of the business plan iswhat most investors turn to first; it oftendetermines whether they will read theremainder of the plan or decline theopportunity. This section should always bewritten last.
Clarify the focus:
The plan should be clearabout the products to be developed and themarkets to be addressed by the business. Tryto avoid saying that the company willdevelop a widget and sell it to GeneralMotors and the grocery store down the streetwithout explaining how it will actually bedone.
Transition into a rapidly growingenvironment:
Businesses that are emergingfrom less dynamic environments need toprovide an accurate critique of pastperformances (i.e., strengths/weaknesses)More importantly, they need to clearlydescribe what has changed about thebusiness and the reasons for the changes.
The "trust me" school of thought does not work in business plans. If your product is going to be the best in themarket, thoroughly explain why.
Quantity does not equal quality:
A wellwritten plan should be succinct and to thepoint and is usually 30 to 50 pages.
First impressions are lasting impressions:
There are many things that can sink a planincluding incorrect spelling, grammar orpunctuation; the use of unprofessionallanguage; numbers that do not total; or poororganization. Take the time to have the planreviewed by at least three other members of your team.
"Slick" plans can be a turnoff:
Expensivelooking plans are often perceived as formover substance, frivolous and a waste of scarce financial resources. To give yourbusiness plan a professional look, considerincluding a plastic binding, a title pageincluding your company name, address, date,contact name and copy number, numberedpages, and a detailed table of contents.
Support assumptions with independentsources:
Assumptions made with regard tothe target market and competition should besupported by independent, third-party datawhenever possible. This lends credibility tothe plan in the eyes of the reader.
Avoid the use of non-assertive language:
Vague, qualifying words such as "might","probably", "maybe" and "perhaps" can havea subtly negative effect on the reader. Bepositive and definitive.