If you’re looking to start a business or just want to make sure your existing one is doing well, then you must write a good business plan.
The more information you include in this document, the better it will be. However, don’t get carried away with details! Here are 15 tips on how to make your business plan stand out and show why people should invest in your company:
|1. Craft a business plan with a well-defined structure.|
|2. Address key questions and challenges in your plan.|
|3. Understand the importance of market analysis.|
|4. Set clear and achievable business objectives.|
|5. Create a compelling executive summary.|
|6. Develop a strong marketing and sales strategy.|
|7. Analyze your competition and identify your unique selling points.|
|8. Outline a detailed financial plan and projections.|
|9. Highlight your team’s expertise and roles.|
|10. Be concise and avoid unnecessary jargon.|
|11. Regularly review and update your business plan.|
|12. Consider potential risks and mitigation strategies.|
|13. Seek feedback from mentors and experts.|
|14. Tailor your business plan to attract investors.|
|15. Use visual aids to enhance clarity and understanding.|
|16. Stay adaptable and flexible in your approach.|
1. Write Your Business Plan In English
- The business plan is not a legal document, but it should be written professionally.
- You will not be submitting your business plan to potential investors or banks, so don’t bother translating it into another language.
- If you need help with grammar or punctuation, ask someone else for their opinion on your draft.
Writing a business plan is a crucial step for any aspiring entrepreneur. In our guide on how to write a business plan in 9 simple steps, we break down the process into easy-to-follow stages, helping you turn your ideas into a well-structured plan for success.
2. Don’t Be Too Detailed
The second most common mistake is that you’re likely to go overboard when it comes to the details. If your business plan is longer than 10 pages, it’s time for an edit. Too much information can leave your reader overwhelmed.
Instead of making them think “this is great!” about your idea, you might make them think “this is too much work!”
Instead of telling them what financial forecasts you have for the next three years, give them a high-level overview and then point out why this specific forecast matters by referencing others.
Sections in your plan like the marketing section or operations section where more context will help paint a picture of how those numbers relate toward achieving key goals and success metrics defined earlier on in this document (which we’ll get into below).
3. Start With A Cover Page
Do you know how every book has an introduction to the contents? You can do the same thing with your business plan. It’s a good way to lay out what you’re going to cover and how long it will take, as well as give some background on why you’re writing this particular plan.
The title of your business plan should be something that describes what your company does or wants to do, like “Plan for Growth” or “Business Plan for New Coffee Shop”. The name of the owner should go in here too, along with contact information and any other relevant details (like when they wrote it).
If there’s someone else who helped write this plan then their name goes here too! And finally, write down both today’s date and when each section was written so you don’t forget later on down the road.
Every successful business plan should address important questions. Our article on 12 questions every business plan answers guides you through the key elements your plan should cover, ensuring you have a comprehensive strategy to navigate the competitive market.
4. Use The Word “You”
We hope the tips in this article will help you craft a plan that works for your business, but there’s one last piece of advice we want to share: use the word “you.”
We know what you’re thinking: “But what about ‘I’ and ‘me?’ Shouldn’t we use those words instead?” You could argue that using “I” makes your business plan more personal and relatable, but it also makes it longer and harder to read. That’s why we recommend using the word “you” wherever possible instead of using first person pronouns like I, me, or my.
Using first-person pronouns is grammatically correct (and even encouraged by many language experts), but they can sometimes come across as stilted or overly formal when used incorrectly and they don’t make sense at all in some contexts (e.g., if no one else is around).
The best way to avoid this problem is by replacing those words with plural ones whenever possible which means using third-person pronouns like us or our instead of first-person pronouns like I or me.
5. It’s Not About The Length, It’s About The Content!
The length of your business plan is not as important as the content. Your plan can be a single page or 30 pages, but if it contains a well-written description of your company and why you are in business, then you have succeeded.
The length of your business plan depends on what you want to include. Make sure that every section has something important to say and that it is relevant to your audience. If there are sections that don’t fit into this criteria, remove them from the document until the next draft!
You may also find yourself taking out sections because they don’t seem necessary at first glance but keep in mind that these could be used later when writing another document such as annual reports or other financial documents since they contain information that might prove useful down the road (and would save time if they were already written).
6. Have A Table Of Contents And Page Numbers
A table of contents is a good idea if your business plan is long and complicated. It’s a list of all the main ideas in your plan, listed by page number. This makes it easy to find information quickly and helps you avoid having to read through every single word to find what you’re looking for.
Page numbers are also important when writing citations (references) because they let readers know exactly which parts of your plan were used as sources for each point made in the document.
Wondering why writing a business plan is so crucial? Find out in our informative post on why you should write a business plan and how to do it. Discover the benefits of having a solid plan in place to attract investors and steer your business towards success.
7: Find A Good Title For Your Company
The title of your business plan is very important as it will be the first thing that potential investors will read. The best way to choose a title is to think about what you want people to know about your business, what they’ll remember, and why they would want to invest in it.
You should aim for a short, easy-to-spell name that doesn’t take up too much space on a page or look cluttered when typed out.
8: Don’t Bother With Special Fonts, Layouts, And Colors
Don’t bother with special fonts, layouts, and colors. If you want to make a good impression when writing a business plan, avoid using fancy fonts. The same goes for colors and special layouts (such as columns). The only exception is if you’re going for something creative that will stand out from the crowd, but even then keep it simple and don’t go overboard.
9: The Executive Summary Is A Summary Of All Parts Of Your Business Plan
The executive summary is a short, one or two-page overview of the entire business plan. It should be in a clear and concise format that’s easy to read and understand.
For example, if you were writing an executive summary for your marketing plan, you might want to include information on your target market and customer profiles.
If you’re writing an executive summary for a finance plan, your executive summary may include key financial metrics such as sales projections, earnings per share estimates, and cash flow statements.
10: Use Graphs To Illustrate Important Points About Your Business Plan
Use graphs to illustrate important points about your business plan. Graphs are more interesting to read than plain text and can be used to illustrate financial information, as well as other aspects of your business.
A bar graph is a simple way to show how revenue has changed over time. For example, if you want to show that sales have increased by 15% since last year, you could use a bar graph in your business plan with the following data:
- Month/Year Sales
- Jan 2019 $1,000
- Feb 2019 $1,100
- Mar 2019 $1,200
- Apr 2019 $1,300
Using this data for each month from January through April of 2019, draw a bar graph on one side of a piece of paper with each value listed above it (for example “Month/Year Sales”). Then draw horizontal lines for each month and mark where each line intersects with your bars; this will allow you to see at what point during the year sales increased by 15%.
Investors pay close attention to well-crafted business plans. Learn how to create a plan that stands out in our article on how to write a business plan that investors actually read. Get practical tips to make your business plan investor-friendly and increase your chances of securing funding.
11: Keep It Simple!
In the same way that a 5-year-old shouldn’t make an infographic for their favorite cereal, you don’t have to get fancy if you don’t want to. You can keep your business plan simple and still be effective.
Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Don’t use too many words (use bullet points instead)
- Don’t use too many graphs (some are fine, but not all of them)
- Don’t use too many examples (one or two is enough)
- Don’t use too many tables (keep it short and sweet)
- Don’t use headers/footers
12: Research Is Important! Write Clearly Which Sources You Used To Find Information For Your Business Plan
With research, you can make sure that your business plan is accurate and easy to read.
Include references in the body of your business plan. For example, if you have a statistic from an industry organization’s annual report or press release, include this as reference #1 on page 6: “According to the National Association of Small Businesses (NASB), 70% of all businesses fail within their first five years.”
Make sure every source is easy to find and read if needed. If you can’t easily find a resource online or at the library, consider whether it’s necessary for your plan and/or replace it with something else that is more accessible for readers who might want to follow up on what you wrote about them.
Research should be a continuous process throughout your life as an entrepreneur (and even before).
Even if there isn’t anything new under the sun right now for example everyone knows how much money they are going to invest in starting their new company there still may be useful data points that relate through history which could give you some ideas where trends are going.
What kinds of things competitors might be doing differently from each other so that yours stands out from theirs?
13. Add Appendices To Your Business Plan If They Are Needed; Make Sure They Are Easy To Find And Read
It is important to include appendices in your business plan. They can provide additional information that supports the rest of your plan, and they are especially helpful if you want to provide additional details on an option or strategy.
When adding appendices, keep in mind that they should be easy to find and read. You don’t want someone who reads only one appendix out of curiosity before deciding on whether or not to invest in your business to have trouble finding it!
A Well-Written Business Plan Can Help You Succeed In Business
A well-written business plan is a roadmap for your company, a way to communicate your business idea to investors and other stakeholders, and a way to communicate your goals to employees. It’s also an opportunity for you to make sure that everyone involved with the business knows what they’re doing and how they’ll get there.
A good plan is not just about getting funding; it should also keep them on track with their goals so that everyone knows what needs to be done next!
Still hesitant about writing a business plan? Check out our post on 9 reasons why you should write a business plan to discover the numerous advantages it offers. From defining your objectives to mitigating risks, a well-crafted business plan sets a strong foundation for your entrepreneurial journey.
Writing a business plan is an important step in starting your own company. We hope these tips will help you with this process. If you have any questions or comments about what we’ve covered here today, please leave us a comment below!
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How to write a strong business plan?
Crafting a strong business plan involves thorough research, clear goals, and a well-structured format. Identify your target audience, outline your business objectives, and include financial projections.
What are some essential components of a business plan?
A solid business plan should include an executive summary, market analysis, product or service description, competitive analysis, marketing strategy, and financial projections.
How can I make money with my business?
To make money in business, focus on providing value to your customers, offer competitive pricing, optimize your operations, and explore new revenue streams.
How do I plan for business growth?
Planning for business growth requires assessing current performance, setting realistic growth goals, identifying opportunities and challenges, and implementing a scalable strategy.
What are some effective marketing strategies for small businesses?
Effective marketing strategies for small businesses include leveraging social media, email marketing, content marketing, local advertising, and collaborating with influencers.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.