The Importance of a Solid Small Business Plan
If you are thinking about starting your own business, one of the first things on your itinerary should be coming up with a smart and solid small business plan. Without this plan, you will have trouble drumming up capital for your new business, you won’t have a good idea of what your goals are, and you will generally be like a ship at sea, without a compass and without any sense of direction. It is a cliché to say, “Those that fail to plan, plan to fail”, but it is as true now as it has ever been. Take the time to draw up a complete and thorough business plan and you will be that much closer to success when it comes to the starting of your own company. Banks will look at you more closely, you’ll be able to convince investors to part with their money, and you may even be able to take part in government programs to help your business get off the ground.
Before you get started, you should know there are different types of business plans, and each of them has their place in the road to gaining capital for your new business.
If you are starting out, you would be wise to draw up three separate business plans, each of them to be used at various points along the way. This will include the so-called “elevator pitch” plan, which is more or less a teaser, with the purpose of getting the attention and interest of those with money to invest. Sometimes investors are leery to waste too much of their time listening to an initial pitch. This is why this type of plan is so valuable. You should be able to get across the salient points in under two minutes, which may be all the time you’re afforded.
Let’s say your elevator pitch got you an appointment. With more time, you’ll be called upon to deliver an oral presentation. This presentation, while maintaining the rules of professionalism, will be more strongly focused on entertainment and excitement values than the boring crunching of numbers. Charts, illustrations, and a commitment to keeping your energy level high (but not too high; these investors don’t want to see a clown show) will be the best way to present this plan.
If your oral presentation is successful, investors will then want to see the third type of business plan, which is the written plan. Depending on the type of business you plan to open, this plan could be anywhere from ten to a hundred pages long. Any questions a potential investor would have will be presented in this plan. If your writing skills are not particularly strong, you may want to consider hiring a professional to write the business plan for you. This will be the last step to procuring capital, and you want to make it the best plan you possibly can.
Several examples of well written business plans are available on the web. You can find them with a little search engine research. You can also take online or community college courses in developing a business plan. The more you can learn before beginning, the better. The money is out there, waiting to be scooped up, but you must put your best foot forward if you want to get a piece of it.
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