How to create a compelling business plan: advice from the experts

How to create a compelling business plan - advice from the experts1

Just like a driver needs a map when heading towards an unknown place, an entrepreneur needs a business plan to outline his professional objectives in a clear manner and the most efficient ways to achieve them.

The key ingredients that every single business plan must include refer to market and competition research, business model, company’s advantage, marketing strategy, executive team, funding considerations and growth assumptions.

What type of problem does the company aim to solve? What can the company bring new on the table in terms of products or services? Is the solution provided by the company customer-centric? Who is going to pay for the goods? What compels the target audience to choose your offerings instead of others already existing on the market? Do you have a pricing strategy? What distribution channels are you going to use? How do you convince investors that your team has what it takes to exceed even the highest expectations? How do you plan to use the capital raised? How are you going to manage finances?

Focus on content, not on form

A business plan has to meet certain requirements: it has the be realistic, easy to implement and specific; it has to define responsibilities and identify assumptions clearly, it has to engage people and be versatile because in time, it will inevitably suffer certain modifications caused by the growth of the company, which represents the entire purpose behind the work of all those involved and the business plan. However, an important question remains: how do you know that you have a valuable and compelling business plan? Well, the answer is more than simple: you have to analyze its content, not its form. A business plan can be 80 pages long but have no substance and such a business plan could never help a company conquer the market. Thus, the business plan might be short, but if it includes three main points, namely the market, the current problem in the market and the solution, which refers to the business, then you own the roadmap to success. Shortly, the winning plan has to be concise yet comprehensive. Each of the point mentioned has to contain accurate data resulted from thorough research.

Thumb rules for business plan writing

Consequently, after researching the relevant sections, choosing the legal structure of the company, managing the numbers, which include the startup costs, funding requirements, break-even point and financial forecast, obtaining industry reports, assessing demand levels, securing a single-channel or multi-channel route to market, hiring competent people and clearly defining customer benefits, writing the actual business plan becomes fundamental. Remember the golden rules: keep it short, avoid using elevated language and do not bother to include technicalities. Just think about it: not many people are going to read over a hundred pages, particularly when including polished words that make you think twice in order to grasp the main idea so instead of writing something too complicated worthy of an award, you should focus on the primary objectives that you all are trying to achieve. Remember, you can make changes to the existing business plan as you move forward because you will be able to learn more about the industry and about business management in general.

The benefits associated with a winning business plan

Before tackling the major components of any business plan, you should identify the benefits associated with its writing.

These involve giving the appearance of professionalism, which is enough for investors to align their funding with your company, seeing the big picture of the company, matching the business offerings to its target audience, finding a surefire method to thrive in a competitive market, aligning priorities to get the venture off the ground, creating backup plans, facing challenges and overcoming failures, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the business, maintaining proper regulation of cash, joining forces to turn milestones into stepping stones and keeping track of metrics.

In what concerns the actual writing of the business plan, you can use paper, slideshow, business plan software or even a napkin.

You know how it is: when inspiration strikes you better be prepared to catch it. What if this happens during lunch? You have to make use of the means available in order to write down your thoughts and later communicate them to your team.

Do not hesitate to ask for professional help

Now that you understand the significant benefits that come with a well-thought business plan, you should master its components, which refer to business description, executive summary, industry, market and competition analysis, management plan, marketing plan and financial projections.

If you believe that you cannot touch on these matters because you do not have yet the necessary knowledge, you can opt for business plan writing services. Asking for professional help shows that you are not afraid to embrace your own weaknesses. However, you should use this opportunity to become familiar with the main features of a compelling business plan.

As the business owner, you probably can write the company description, which mostly refers to concrete information regarding the goods offered, the audience buying them and strategies that can help you integrate them into the marketplace. Shortly, you need to help others grasp the essence of the company as well as its structure, history and vision.

Use data to make predictions

However, when it comes to business environment analysis, industry, market and competitive analysis, you might need some help because you need to analyze market forces and macroeconomic forces, study regulatory, technology, cultural and social-economic trends, identify practices adopted by other similar businesses, laws and legislation, the government’s regulatory and deregulatory policies, use all the data accumulated following the research to make market predictionsand explain how the company will take advantage or seize the opportunities provided by the industry.

Market growth, needs and trends also represent crucial factors that you cannot overlook when creating a business plan. Furthermore, your business will probably face certain barriers. How do you plan to crush them? How do you plan to build a customer base? How do you intend to manage your employees?