Ten Things To Consider When Writing a Business Plan

Starting a business is a major commitment that will consume 24/7 of your life with no end in sight. It is always good to know what you are getting into before you take the plunge. From my experience writing business plans for large and small companies alike for the last 8 years, there are basically two reasons why you need a business plan – the first reason is to re-assure yourself that this wild dream that you have in your mind is actually attainable. And, the second reason is to convince a lender or a venture capitalist. More than likely, you are writing for the second reason. Whatever your reason may be, as the legendary management guru Peter Drucker would bluntly put – always ask yourself what your business is, who your customers are, and what the customer considers value.

In my opinion, here is a list of pointers that will save you headaches later.

a. Be clear about what you are selling.

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A Strong Business Plan Will Help Attract Lenders And Investors

No business can effectively operate nor attract the funds needed to survive prosper and grow without a good business plan. A good plan is a management tool that shows where your business is going, and just how you plan to get there, and is a necessity for attracting lenders, investors, partners and key personnel, plan outlines vary but they all must cover certain key areas, such as: Executive Summary, Business Description, Marketing Plan, Financial Plan, Management Team, and Appendix.

Moreover, there are many kinds of software on the market that can help you write you write a good plan, but you must still input the data needed to write your plan into the software. The output of the software can never be any better than the data you put into it and you must manually put that in yourself. Here are four steps to help you write a strong business plan:

1. Put all of your plan data and information into several good old fashion file folders and label each folder so that you know what is in it. This data and information will include such materials as marketing methods you will use, market research, management team bio’s, financial statements, profit projects and other similar items.

» Read more: A Strong Business Plan Will Help Attract Lenders And Investors

Writing a Business Plan is Not Something to Delegate

How to write a business plan is among the very first decisions you, as a future business owner must make. Do you write it yourself, or give in to the temptation to take an easier path? By taking ownership of this first, most important step in building your business, you will gain far more than a crisp document to be read by others. You will develop a deep understanding of what it will take for your business to succeed. For this reason, it is essential that the business owner be the primary thought leader or sole author of the business plan. Outside help should be reserved for fine tuning, validation and in some cases to prepare financial projections.

Let it be YOUR Business Plan

As the founder and business owner you will be charting the course for the business. It will be important that the business plan be an extension of your personal vision for the company. For most entrepreneurs, the opportunity to call the shots and lead the way was an important part of why they wanted to get into business. Now is the time to start being a leader. Leaders develop their own plans and call the plays along the way. When it’s not your plan, you relegate yourself to performing as an operator. You will find yourself going back to the business plan someone else wrote to occasionally re-read the directions, or ignoring it altogether. Either way, the value of having a plan has been greatly diminished.

» Read more: Writing a Business Plan is Not Something to Delegate