Business Plan Writing Tips For Dummies

Creating a business plan, especially for beginners, can be intimidating. On the surface, it can sound like an impossible feat, something that can be done only by highly-skilled individuals. However, with just a bit of research and practice anyone can create an impressive business plan. The following are some of the most effective tips and pointers shared by companies and entrepreneurs for creating a professional, effective business plan:


Before you begin creating any part of your business plan it is imperative that you be aware of the state of the current market for your proposed product or service. Take the time to thoroughly research factors such as market size, how to gain access to your target market and that market's projected growth. Take into consideration demographics such as local and/or more expansive population, demand within your target area, cost of living in the area, and ease of reaching your prospective clientele. It is this information that will lay the solid foundation for a well-developed business plan.


Consider your audience, those who will be reviewing your business plan. Let your mind formulate the questions they will be looking to have answered: What is the main goal of the business? Does it have a secure, dependable funding source in place or in the works? Has the project been thoroughly researched, the target client base defined and outlined? Any serious potential investor/backer will be looking to have these questions answered clearly and in detail before even considering becoming involved in any business venture. It is your primary responsibility to provide this information. Put in simple terms; put yourself in the other guy's shows. What would you, as an investor, be looking for that would make you sit up and take notice and want to be involved in this business venture?


Each and every step of your business plan must be outlined and explained in minute detail. Nothing can be left to speculation. Anyone who reviews it will be looking for specifics, because it is in the smallest details that the success or failure of any business venture lies. As the designer of this business plan, you will want to make certain that there are no holes in the project that everything flows together smoothly and nothing is left to chance or speculation. State exactly what you intend to do with your business/service, whom it will benefit both directly and indirectly, what the market/demand for what you are offering looks like, how you intend to meet this demand, and how you plan to handle any stumbling blocks along the way. Investors will be greatly impressed with the fact that you have thought ahead and prepared for any unseen possibilities. The more detail your business plan contains, the better your chances for success.


It may sound like the most simple, most unnecessary advice in the world, but once you have completed your business plan, proofread it and correct any spelling and grammatical errors. Even if you use a spelling- and grammar-checking program, read over your completed project to make sure it flows, that the sentences come together and that there are no fragments or run-ons. Double-check paragraph structure and length. Most importantly, double-check all figures. Do the math a second and third time. Simple errors like these will lead a potential investor to believe that you are lazy and careless; and if you are lazy and careless with regard to the simplest components of a business venture, there is no way you will find supporters for the more significant aspects of a business plan. Polish up your work. Ask a friend or two to read over it for a fresh perspective. Remember, your business plan will introduce you to the potential investors, so you will want to put your best foot forward in every way possible.


No matter what your business plan is built upon, rest assured there is already someone out there doing the same thing, and very likely in your same area. This means that you must really dig in, do your homework, and discover ways to trump the competition right out of the gate. You must have something to offer that they do not, something that will make potential customers choose you and make your competitor’s current customers turn to you and your business. This is another key point potential investors will be looking at, especially if your business/service is something that is already oversaturated within the market. You must find effective, honest ways to stand head and shoulders above your competition.


Although it may be unspoken by some, the very first question any potential investor/supporter/promoter is going to ask is, "What's in it for me?" Your plan should outline clearly exactly what the investor will be getting for his support. This is, after all, the main reason for an investor to back any business venture. Your idea should be lucrative for all parties involved. Keep it realistic; you want to be careful not to promise more than you can reasonably deliver. A seasoned investor/supporter/promoter will spot this right away and will back off of your project immediately. Later on, once your business has caught fire and become successful, then will be the time to reward your investors with bonuses and the like. However, in the beginning you must keep it simple and realistic yet with enough potential to gain the interest of backers.


If you are still uncertain about creating your own business plan, there are several great programs on the market to assist you. You can choose one that will take you through the process step-by-step and give you pointers at each section regarding what information should be included where. You will still need to put your own personal spin on your project in order to give your potential investors some insight into you personally. A program for writing a business plan can help you to do just that, but backers will want to know the person behind the plan.

Most people psych themselves into believing that they could never write something as "professional" as a business plan, but the steps are all it takes to create exactly what you need to do just that. After all, who better than you to present yourself and your plans in the most favorable light possible? Go for it. You will impress even yourself!


Pete White Pete White

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