A solid, impressive business plan is the foundation upon which your business can then be built. Your plan is therefore a vital piece of work that, if done correctly, can set you on your way to achieving your entrepreneurial goals.
If your business plan isn’t up to scratch, then of course there are consequences. For a start it will turn off investors. Furthermore, a poorly designed and calculated business plan makes you vulnerable to unforeseen obstacles in your company’s future that could otherwise have been avoided.
The importance of creating the best business plan you can then isn’t in doubt, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here at Raj Dhonota Investments we recognise the necessity of a top-notch plan to your industry aspirations. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips that will help you produce the best business plan you can.
1. Read other business plans
This isn’t to steal product or trade ideas, but simply to research what makes a business plan good. That is something you’ll need to understand before being able to produce one yourself. A business plan is not an art project, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the design elements. Much like the information you’re conveying, you want your business plan to appear clear, concise and uncluttered.
Make your plan stand out. If you’re using a template, use a slick one that you feel highlights the professionalism of your proposal. Also, include visual elements. Charts, diagrams and graphs bring ideas to life. Balance is key though, just make sure you don’t overdo it with the flair and flourishes.
2. Know your market inside out
Before assembling your business plan, you need to put the hard yards in with your homework. A thorough understanding of the market or industry you wish to enter is critical to your prospects of success. You need to be utterly convinced that a viable market exists that’ll be responsive to your business. You also need to know why that is, and what you can do to exploit that opportunity to the maximum.
Any potential investors will want to know all they can about this identified market, as after all that’s where their money (plus profit) will be returning from. Investors will want to know about market size, structure and validity. Therefore, both you and your business plan will need to be able to provide answers.
3. Know what your company needs
No company can get off the ground without any investment whatsoever. Be that on your part, or on the part of external benefactors. This isn’t just financial investment we are talking about either, but also time, graft and resilience. Before going in you need to know what this is going to take to stand a chance of success. If you miscalculate here then it could land you in trouble down the line when people aren’t getting their expected returns on investment.
Therefore, you need to be able to put as much detail of your company’s initial needs as possible in your business plan. This provides potential investors with an as accurate up-front breakdown of the required efforts as possible. In business, things change fast and crises can occur, but if you’re always honest and open with your investors, colleagues and partners then you stand the best chance of weathering those storms together.
4. Identify potential investors
A beautiful business plan is all well and good, but it needs to then be shown to the right people. Be empathetic with what you believe any potential investors would be looking for. If you were an investor, would you invest in your business? If so, then what kind of investor would that make you? Once you’ve identified the kind of investor you need, then seek them out. Also, decide as early as possible what you’re willing to offer in exchange in terms of split equity, ownership and powers within your company.
5. Define, strategize and design
These are the three pillars to build your plan upon.
Define what your business is, what it is aiming to achieve, and how you believe it can get there. Why is it something that people should invest in and be excited about? Be realistic at this point – optimistic too – but keep your feet on the ground. It is always preferable to go on to overachieve rather than underachieve. However, you’re selling your business idea here after all, so make sure it’s clear that this is a viable shot at entrepreneurial success.
Once you’ve defined your beginning point and end goal for your company, then you need to extrapolate upon your conceived strategic route between these points. This strategy and structure is what potential investors need to be sold on. Again, it’s important to be conservative here and offer a realistic, rather than fanciful, proposal.
The design of your company includes its hierarchical structure, how it shall operate as a brand, and how you’ll organise your workforce. Be mindful that as your project progresses these plans will surely change. However, it is important to demonstrate to potential investors that you’re able to have these initial ideas.
A winning plan can be your first step to business success, but it’s still the first step of many on that road. Even if it helps to attract and secure investment then there is still a long way to go, but it’s a good start.