FOR MANY years, it has been believed that every successful business venture begins with a great idea. According to recent developments, however, that statement is partially true; it is now an undisputable fact that successful businesses are based on great business ideas and a great business plan.
The business plan is simply the planning and strategy document that tells the story of your business—more specifically, where you want it to go and the evidence that you have to support the claim that it will get there. The story, in this regard, refers to the purpose, achievements, projections and objectives of your new business.
1. The Format
A standard business plan should not be too short or too long. It should generally be somewhere between 15 and 25 pages. Of these pages, two to four of them should include the executive summary. The length and content of the plan is very largely dependent on the business complexity and also the purpose of the plan. This leads us to the two most important questions that are asked by every investor who is experienced. These questions are: (1) what are the business’ key value propositions of the market place(s) that you target? And (2) what is the return on investment (ROI) of that business?
The business plan should also include an operating plan. This part should lay the milestones and the list of objectives that your business wants to achieve within a certain period of time.
2. Research Widely
To be a good entrepreneur, you must conduct research in order to come up with great ideas. You should read ideas from other people and then come up with your own. Research will help you find out who your competitors are, potential customers, companies that have failed or succeeded, and other vital information about the business sector that you have chosen.
3. Conduct Proper Investor Insight
Most modern investors want to see the clear and proper track record of the business. This, for example, includes the history of the customers and the revenue. Is it a business that you have been in for some period of time or it is just a great idea looking for capital? This change of the strategy of the investor makes it possible for cycles of funding that are longer; this is basically the period between the presentation of the plan for your business to the potential investors and the receiving of the first round of funding. The funding cycles that are longer are, in most cases, frustrating for those business owners that are emerging and who need the investment capital very soon.
4. The Financials
One of the greatest components of the start-up business plan is a strong set of financial figures or projections that really add up. Take your time with this and don’t just throw numbers on a page. If your numbers don’t add up, don’t expect investors to give you any money (because they will run the numbers to ensure everything adds up). The good plan should have connection between financial information and the predictions and financial forecasts.