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Why You Need a Business Planning System NOT a Business Plan

Why You Need a Business Planning System NOT a Business Plan

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Published by Martin Vika

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Martin Vika on Jun 14, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 ==== ====Find a plan from our easy A2Z listing...http://lnk.co/I1NYN ==== ====For many entrepreneurs the creation of a business plan is the biggest hurdle in the developmentprocess of their fledgling enterprise. There is a mystery, almost a dread in many people whendiscussion of a business plan requirement is first broached. They conceptualize a boring, dry,painful experience and many would like to avoid this step if at all possible. What is a Business Plan? A business plan is a document that qualifies, quantifies and narrates a commercial opportunity. Itis that simple to state, more difficult to execute, but anyone can customize a business plan thatgets results. The plan must have an exciting Executive Summary. Like the opening scenes of amovie, or the first chapter of a book, the writer must set a hook. Typically, active investors, angels, venture capital groups and investment bankers are delugedwith business plans. Screeners typically read the document before passing along to decision-makers within the firm. However, very few move along the decision making food chain preciselybecause the Executive Summary lacks excitement, punch or sets a high level of anticipation aboutwhat is inside the document. Having written dozens of business plans for clients I can attest that creating a plan that works is,well, work. No two plans are alike. The plan must be customized, well researched, structured anddirect. I receive more than 500 business plan submissions annually in my consulting firm. Lessthan 1% have commercial potential as written. Many describe products, services, retail or newbusiness development ideas that otherwise might be exciting. However, the plan does not conveythat potential. One of the worst things to evolve from the arrival of the inter-net is the ability to download abusiness plan template and write the document by filling in the blanks. The template itself is notproblematic, I use a self-developed template when I customize plans. The problem is that manyentrepreneurs do not have the writing skills, the research in hand, know the keys that turn oninvestors and thus, take shortcuts. Filling in the blanks without sweating the details and doingcomprehensive research results in a document that will not be read and an opportunity that willnever launch. Rule number one in the development of any commercial opportunity: shortcuts equal failure! I am a self-taught business plan writer. If I can do it, anyone can. In reality, however, most people just want to expose their opportunity to investors, licensees or potential partners. They don't havewriting skills, do not know the types of research necessary to support the plans sales model, needhelp in creating the marketing strategy, and will never be able to narrate financials.
Where can they go to create and exciting business plan document. The following are resources readily available in most communities. Many are free. Many colleges, community colleges and universities have developed small business incubators.They attract additional state funding, as small business growth and development are keys to jobcreation and an increased tax base. Take advantage of this community asset. Students, graduatestudents and professors are often available to direct your efforts. Ten years ago there were only ahandful such programs. Today, over 1000 schools have some version of an entrepreneurialprogram. Many states, regional and local governments offer business development programs. They haveretired business people and mentors on hand to support, guide and train prospectiveentrepreneurs and guide business plan creation. There is no charge for utilizing this service, afterall, your tax dollar supports these programs. SCORE, the Service Core of Retired Executives is a Federal Government sponsored initiative.Thousands of retired, experienced business people make themselves available to evaluatecommercial opportunities and direct the development and launch of those deemed to havepotential. They are often intimately involved in creating business plans. The Ewing Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, MO is devoted solely to the development ofentrepreneurial development. Mr. Kauffman started, nurtured and developed Marion Labs from atiny drug local company into a multinational, multi-billion dollar powerhouse. He also owned theKansas City Royals baseball team. His devotion to developing and promoting the entrepreneurialbase of the United States resulted in creation of the foundation that bears his name. Seek out a consultant. Typically consultants charge a fee, just like lawyers, accountants orplumbers. The advantage of an experienced consultant is that they write business plans for aliving, will be strong writers, able to properly direct or perform research, narrate financials anddifferentiate a commercial opportunity by creating an exciting word picture. Always seekreferences and talk to several before deciding on a consultant. Why Do I Need a Business Plan? You might not. You might not need a deeply customized business plan if you are seeking tolicense or sell an invention, a patent or a prototype product. In this situation, the potential licenseewould take your work product and develop a plan that fits their internal organizational needs. However, if you are attempting to fund a start-up business, self-market a product or buy a smallbusiness you will absolutely need to create a road map. That road map is your business plan. Themap is not linear, there will be curves and setbacks, but by quantifying, qualifying and narrating awell- researched, customized business plan you are much closer to success. Geoff Ficke is President of Duquesa Marketing, Inc. An international consulting firm with over 35experience in creating customized strategies and business plans, product development and

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