If you’re looking to start a business, a great business plan is a necessity. It’ll keep you organized, help you secure funding, and ultimately help articulate a way to make a good idea into a reality.
While there is no one way to write a great business plan, there are a number of components that you will typically include. These include an executive summary, industry research and analysis, financial reports and projections, and a request for funding (among others). Below are three tips to make your plan as strong as possible.
1. Include a Comprehensive Executive Summary
The executive summary is typically the first portion of a business plan. In it, you will outline your plans for the business, vision for your product or service, agenda for success, and more.
A good executive summary should be comprehensive, and engaging. It should convey a wide portrait of your business, and help draw lenders into the remainder of your plan.
2. Include Lots of Detail
Detail is important, particularly when it comes to industry analysis and your own financials. As far as market research goes, you want to back up your understanding of the industry you intend to join with statistics, trends over time, future projections, and other details. Saying that you “know” an industry isn’t sufficient; you have to show it. Charts and other graphics can be a great way to help with this.
The same goes for your own financials. You want to give some information about your financial background — but almost more importantly, you want to accurately project what business will look like for you. Show how and when you’ll make money (and pay back any loans). Naturally, once your business is up-and-running, this will serve as a template that can be updated and adapted as needed.
3. Include a Reasonable Request For Funding
Your funding request should be soundly backed by the preceding sections of your plan. It should be hefty enough to cover what you actually need (and it doesn’t hurt to sometimes make it a little larger than needed, in case a lender doesn’t loan you the full amount). But it should not be exorbitant or unreasonable, which will tend to cause concern in a lender.
Ultimately, a comprehensive business plan is most likely to secure you needed funding and help your business thrive. Make it detailed, well-researched, and fair, and you’ll help yourself secure a reasonable loan.