The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
Easy Does It
Published on Jan 16, 2013
Read 'Easy Does It' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
By Adam Toren
Imagine, for a moment, you’re a highly successful venture capitalist. You receive proposals daily, and you see and consider business plans all the time. You’ve recently obtained a couple of new ones. One is 25 pages long, full of deep charts and long-term financial projections. It looks like a calculus textbook. Another is a little over a page and the first sentence grabs your attention. To which plan are you going to give your attention?
Short but Sweet
A business plan should be a paragon of simplicity. If you can’t find a way to effectively demonstrate your plan in under a few pages, and preferably one, you haven’t thought things through enough. Get back to the drawing board and edit and clarify. You ideas should make themselves clear in the first paragraph. Entice potential investors by identifying customer needs and proposing exciting solutions. Ultimately, your business plans rests on the shoulders of customers and sales. Without isolating sales and explaining clearly how will you generate and sustain them, your business plan is of no use to anyone. You don’t need years of financial projections to get your point across. You simply need to articulate specifically where profits will come from and how you plan to retrieve them.
Don’t Imitate, Innovate
Don’t follow a template and make your business plan look like everyone else’s. Make it as personal as possible. Infuse your aspirations and vision into the plan so potential investors recognize that they’ll in investing in something they can believe in. Remember, they want you to succeed. They’re in the business of generating wealth, and your success is their reward. Investors seek entrepreneurs that are fiery, dedicated, and open-minded. Permeating your business plan with your unique personality is the best way to demonstrate these qualities.
Identify Your Weaknesses
Investors have seen it all. They’ve watched countless ventures fizzle out before they’ve even started. They’ll be able to spot potential challenges a mile away. As a successful entrepreneur, you should too. Anticipate potential problems and lay them out in your proposal. Honestly asses your business and you’ll demonstrate that you’re thoughtful as well as passionate. Come up with a variety of solutions to implement when you face these challenges. These kinds of examples really display your foresight, ensuring potential investors you’re in it for the long haul.
Show off the Goods
Besides articulating your great idea and laying out a clear game-plan to achieve it, you’ll want to present the people behind the project. Hopefully, you’ve assembled a great team to walk with you down the road to success. Your management team is an asset, and their individual characteristics and capabilities should be an important part of your business plan. Find ways to make evident that they share your passion and vision, and will form a talented and cohesive unit.
Do you have any tips when it comes to proposing a business plan? Let us know with a comment.
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.