Perfecting your business plan is the only way to secure that all important funding for your small business.
A good business plan is verifiable, clear and avoids unnecessary filler. You should include analysis of each area’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats if you want to create a well-defined plan.
There are several things to consider if you want a plan that’s guaranteed to secure investment, including proving that you understand the risks and benefits involved. This guide shows you the most important areas to focus on when writing and refining your business plan.
Generally, the exact length of a business plan will be determined by your company’s needs and how much funding is required.
Unless you’re looking to secure a million pound deal, around 10-15 pages is usually enough to create a well-detailed plan.
Even with these guidelines, it’s best to keep your plan as short as possible, as long as you aren’t leaving out any vital information.
You need to include an in-depth section about your company covering its products/services, the market and customers. Talk about your management’s strengths and identify any areas where you need improvement (include how you plan to improve).
When talking about your company’s sales, make realistic financial predictions both for the short term and long term.
You must also provide investors with scenarios for the costs of your company, your cash flow and the types of sales you expect to make.
Content is vital to a good business plan and a professional look will help bring it alive, making key points stand out. A business plan should be laid out neatly, with relevant titles, subheadings, graphs, and tables.
On the other hand, don’t get too bogged down with fancy details and layouts. This can often come across as wasteful, which is not an image you want to portray when asking for financial help.
Next, you should think about the ‘what if’ questions that might arise from your business plan and answer them efficiently.
This could include how your business would react to a sudden decline in sales or an increase in expenditure, as well as potential exit strategies should they be needed.
Answer these questions before your investors have the chance to ask them to demonstrate that you’ve considered every eventuality and are well prepared.
Finally, you’ll want to write up your executive summary. This will be the first thing potential investors see but is best written last. Sum up everything that’s in your business plan, as well as declaring the company’s legal status in around 1000 words. You’ll want to use this
Cover your mission statement, what you offer clients and your future aims for the company. Like the rest of your business plan, it’s best to keep your summary short and to the point. A clear statement will set a good precedent for the rest of the plan.
Once you’ve considered all of these points in detail and had your finances looked over by an adviser, you’re ready to start pitching to potential investors. Many businesses only send the executive summary, to begin with, as this can save money and increase your chances of getting a response.
Always remember to check your business plan several times before putting it in front of investors.