Are you looking to start your own business? If you are, it's always a good idea to have a solid plan in place, and that's where a business plan comes in. A business plan is key to any aspiring entrepreneur, and whether it's meant to attract investors or you're only using it as a guide, it's an important tool for leading your business to success. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, writing a business plan makes your startup more likely to succeed.
Writing a business plan can be daunting, especially if you've never written anything quite like it before, but it doesn't have to be difficult. by following a few simple tips, you'll be well on your way to creating a business plan that conveys your vision effectively and convinces readers that your business is worth it.
Get ready to start writing; take a look at these five tips for creating the perfect business plan.
1. Do extensive research.
This might be one of the most obvious tips, but it's certainly the most important. To create the perfect business plan, you've first got to know your business and your industry inside and out. Some experts suggest that you should spend twice the amount of time researching your business than you spend writing your business plan.
You need to know every aspect intimately so you can answer any questions investors may have and eliminate any doubts they have in their mind. Your product/service, your target audience, expenses, competition, your geographic area and more. These are all things you'll have to research in order to write an effective business plan. Start reading everything you can about your industry and talking to your potential audience to find out as much as you can.
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2. Identify what not to do.
If you want your business to be successful, you need to identify and be aware of what not to do just as much as you need to know what to do in order to reach success. In other words, where have other businesses in your industry gone wrong, what mistakes have they made and how will you do things differently?
For example, if you want to open an art studio and you know that last year another art studio in your area closed its doors, do whatever you can to identify what went wrong and do the opposite. Not only will you be able to differentiate yourself apart from the competition, but you'll avoid falling into the traps many new businesses make that lead to disaster.
3. Simplify the process with business plan software.
Instead of trying to create a business plan from scratch on Microsoft Word, simplify the business plan creating a process by using a business plan creation software. Putting together a business plan that looks professional and organized can be difficult, so by using a software a lot of the hard work can be done for you.
4. Use visual elements to hook investors.
Sure, your business plan is a serious document that needs to be professional, but you also don't want to bore your readers. That's why visual elements are so important to include in your business plan. Not only will images make your business plan more visually appealing, but relevant images help your reader retain more of what you have to say. For instance, studies show that people following directions with text and illustrations do 323 percent better than people who follow directions with just text.
So add some visual elements to hook your readers and investors like infographics, photos, charts, and graphs. There are free online tools that can help you easily create stunning infographics and marketing images in minutes.
5. Make it adaptable for your audience.
Just like you tailor your resume depending on what position or company you're applying to, you should be tailoring your business plan to each of your different audiences as well. Obviously, a financial advisor or banker will be interested in seeing all of your financial statements and balance sheets, for example, while a venture capitalist will be more interested in your growth rate and user acquisition costs.
Make sure your business plan can be modified for whoever is reading it. Although all the information should be the same throughout, you can display them in different ways for each viewer depending on their needs and what they're most interested in.
Starting your own business is an exciting time in your life, but it can also be very stressful. You're one step closer to opening the business of your dreams, and with these easy tips for creating the perfect business plan, you can alleviate some of that stress and write a business plan that will win anyone over.