Writing a business plan is a vital step in creating a business from the ground up. Even if writing is not your strong suit, you still will need to craft a written business plan if you want to get serious attention from financial institutions or potential investors. Here some frequently asked questions that can help you navigate this task.
1. Question: Why Do I Need a Business Plan?
A business plan makes it clear what your goals are for your new company and how you plan to achieve them. Having this outline written down can make the ideas more concrete and give you a solid plan of action rather than just making it up as you go. Plus, anyone else involved in the business can read the plan to get a clear picture of the vision and path.
2. Question: Who Should I Write the Business Plan For?
The business plan is initially for you and your potential partners or employees. However, if you plan to seek business loans from banks or financial support from investors, they will want to review your written plan before they decide whether to give you money. In order to be persuasive, they need to be well-written, comprehensive and concise.
3. Question: What Format Should my Business Plan Follow?
There is some flexibility in the features of the business plan, but in general, they should contain:
- A cover sheet and table of contents
- Executive summary
- Business overview
- Financial information
- Marketing plan
- Management plan
- Supporting documents
4. Question: Why Must the Plan Be so Extensive?
Again, the plan is your guideline for how you expect the business to run. It’s expected that some aspects will change due to circumstances, but in general, you should be able to follow the plan like a map. Therefore, you should get as much information down on paper as possible. Besides, investors will require all that information. If you don’t have enough answers to fill a business plan, you are less likely to get funding.
5. Question: Do I Have to Do a lot of Research Before I Start Writing?
You will need to know as much as possible about your competitors, your target customers and your possible marketing strategy in order to craft the plan, and that will take some investigation. You’ll also want to know about required licenses, breakeven requirements and myriad other business factors. You should plan to do a lot of research before starting to write.
6. Question: What if I Still Am Uncertain About Certain Parts of the Business?
You should be clear about all parts of your business, or you risk getting off track. Investors understand that some flexibility will be required, but you should know how you are going to address each swerve off of the main path.
7. Question: Do I Have to Print Out the Plan?
If you want banks, investors or a pre-publication editor to look the plan over, you’ll need hard copies. Electronic versions will work in many cases.
8. Question: Should I Have Someone Review the Plan?
At the very least, you should consider having someone who is good with spelling, punctuation and grammar proofread the document. The people with the cash will expect a polished product, or they may lose respect for your business plan. If you will be dealing with products or services that may have legal implications, you will want to hire an attorney to peruse the business plan.
9. Question: What Will Happen if I Decide to Skip Writing a Plan?
You are unlikely to attract financial supporters without a formal business plan. But more importantly, you may not have an appropriately clear vision of your goals and strategies if you don’t put them in writing before getting started. If a business plan is meant to keep the company on track, there is no telling where you will end up if there is no track to start with.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.