Zebraheard

Helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into a business

Five Things To Keep In Mind When Writing Your Business Plan


The first thing an entrepreneur encounters when considering starting a business is the business plan. A significant number of people will say the sole purpose of a business plan is to obtain funding. Not so. In my opinion, the most important reason to produce a business plan is to make you a better entrepreneur. The processes you must go through when producing a solid business plan is invaluable to laying a1.      Although it is good to relay a positive tone throughout your business plan, it is just as important to present the downside. Remember, be realistic. No one expects your business NOT to have a downside.  Entrepreneurs who fail to present the downside are obvious “rookies” in entrepreneurship and this causes investors to get nervous.

Business Plan Complete

strong foundation to start your business.

 

 

 

2.      When writing a business plan, be thorough in your effort. There are good business plans and there are bad business plans. Anything other than a good business plan is a failed one. The most important way to ensure your business plan is good is to avoid blind spots in your plan. The blind spot occurs because an entrepreneur is so involved in their idea or concept that they fail to see other perspectives … hence the blind spot. To avoid “blind spots” conduct thorough research on every assumption you proclaim and provide the appropriate supporting data.

 

3.      Long is not always better. The question is often asked, “How long should my business plan be?” The quick answer is, “As long as it needs to be.”  It needs to be as long as it takes for you to concisely convey your business idea. The key word is concisely.

 

4.      Weak revenue model. Entrepreneurs love to write about their idea but fail to focus on the age-old questions, “How are you going to make money?” Your business plan MUST convey the answer to that question. The answer needs to explain from the beginning as to where the customer initially comes into contact with your product/service all the way through to follow-up after the sale. In other words, how are you going to bring in revenue?

  

5.      Please, no grammatical errors. Having grammatical mistakes in your plan is another big red flag to investors. If you don’t care enough about presenting a plan without grammatical and punctuation errors, why would you care to manage a business (and their money) correctly? Make sure your article is well written and please do not rely on any grammar software to check for mistakes. If necessary, hire a professional editor. A mistake-free business plan is that important!

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , | 7 Comments

Business Plans Three Important Elements


OK, you are convinced writing a business plan will help you be a better entrepreneur. Good. Now let’s discuss three things you must keep in mind when writing your business plan. They are:

  • 20 instead of 10.
  • Eye of the beholder.
  • So what?

Writing a good business plan takes into consideration these three elements.

20 Instead of 10

Writing a business plan that has clarity is critical.  If the reader has to re-read your plan or paragraph then you haven’t been clear in your writing. The reader should never have to re-read what you wrote. The following guidance should help in writing for clarity:

  1. Keep your sentences short.
  2. Don’t use multi-syllable words when one or two-syllable words will work.
  3. Try to avoid writing in the passive tense.
  4. Start each paragraph with the key idea in one sentence.
  5. Review your document. Eliminate unnecessary words.
  6. Give your document to at least two people to read and critique. More eyes on it the better.

Remember! Why say it in 20 words when 10 will work?

Eye of the Beholder

Yes, we know you love your idea and it may make you the next Bill Gates. But when writing your business plan remember the reader is not necessarily in love with your idea. In addition to being clear in your writing you must also be persuasive.

In some part of your business plan you will have information that you are relaying to the reader. This is good, but you are also or interpreting the information so the reader can understand why this information is pertinent to your idea.

Remember your readers are trying to understand your idea and it is your job to help them.

So what?

In reading and critiquing business plans I have found a mistake entrepreneurs often do is making statements without providing back up data. The purpose of the “So what?” test is to undo the clutter in your business plan and allow you to focus on only the metrics that will convince readers of your statement or belief.  Statements that fall into the ‘nice to know’ or the ‘I highly recommend or I am not sure why I am saying this, but it sure sounds important’ are subject to the “So what?” test.

For example, if you state; “My product will become the most sought after product in its niche.” Ask yourself, “So what?” If you can’t answer that question your remove that statement from your business plan or at least until you do the proper research that supports that statement.

Ideally if you have to ask yourself “So what” 3 times then remove your statement.  It is an opinion not supported by data.

By keeping these three elements in mind when writing your business plan your reader will be more informed and take you seriously as a prospective business owner.

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , | 2 Comments

Kick Coffee- Write a Business Plan!


Every entrepreneur understands that the best way to deprive yourself of any meaningful sleep is to just think about writing a business plan.    

Entrepreneur Sustenance

 

You want to quit caffeine, then try writing a business plan. It makes grown men cry and the bravest among us to run for the hills.    

Business plans do not have to cause such discomfort. I believe they do because so often the emphasis is in the wrong place.    

One of the first questions out of a prospective entrepreneur is, “Do I need a business plan?” The better question to ask is,“ Why do you need a business plan?”    

Experts often cite the need for a business plan as necessary to present to potential funding sources.  And yes, they will require a business plan.  However, I strongly believe it is not the ‘end product’ that is your goal but the rigorous process in creating the business plan that is most important.  If you do the process the product will come.  However, I have seen prospective entrepreneurs focus narrowly on creating just the business plan and forget completely about the process.  The result is a sub-par business plan, and an entrepreneur that is far less prepared to begin a business then if he had invested the necessary time in research.      

If you do the proper research necessary, the result will take care of itself. You will have a good document, but you will be a better entrepreneur.  When preparing the business plan, always focus on how it can  help you become a better entrepreneur.    

By doing that, the rest will take care of itself.    

This topic could become a whole other blog, but for now I want to focus on this topic for the next couple of days.  Since it is a critical tool to the entrepreneur, I feel a few days devoted to this topic is warranted.

April 3, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , | 4 Comments