Your business plan is an important part of creating a business and a critical tool for drawing in lenders and investors. If you’re thinking about launching a small business or if you want to take your small business in a new direction, a business plan is essential. As you develop your plan, you may want to keep these points in mind.
1. Think About Your Audience
Who is going to read your plan? What do you hope they learn about your business from your plan? As you draft your plan, keep your audience in mind and tailor your plan to reach them.
You may want to create multiple versions of your plan to appeal to different audiences. For instance, you may want one plan to guide internal efforts with your management team and a separate plan for prospective investors.
2. Focus on Benefits
In addition to thinking about your audience, consider how your business can benefit them. If you’re writing to your management team, what promises can you offer them down the road? Ultimately, if your business thrives they should as well.
In that same vein, show potential investors how your business will hopefully help to line their pockets as they get involved. Often, one of the best ways to achieve these goals is by elucidating how your products or services can change the industry and help your customers in ways that will turn your business into a success.
3. Do Your Due Diligence
A plan full of speculations and assumptions will not provide you with the foundation your small business needs for success. As you work on various parts of your plan, make sure that you do ample research to support your ideas. In particular, you need to research the market, your customer base, and the competition.
4. Balance Broad Strokes With Details
Your business plan should provide the broad strokes related to your objectives and the steps you are going to take to reach them, but it should also go into detail. Ideally, you want to strike the perfect balance between providing ample detail without overwhelming your reader with unnecessary information.
You may want to divide your plan into several sections. For instance, you may want to start with an overview. Then, break out into sections that take a deeper dive into your marketing, customer acquisition, business structure, management team, or other details.
5. Get Help
To ensure you include the right amount of detail, consider having people look over your plan. Do they have questions? If so, that may be an indicator that you want to add certain details. On the flip side, if they get bored and overwhelmed, you may want to be more concise.
In particular, you may want to consult with business mentors who have experience in your industry. You may also want to run your plan past specialists such as accountants, lawyers, or financial professionals who can give you insight based on their expertise.