Every company should have a professional business plan no matter if the business plan is only used for internal uses or for obtaining financing from a bank, the government or external investors. A professional business plan will drive your venture forward and will keep you and your business on track. In the following, you will find the key points that no business plan should miss.
The executive summary is the first part of the business plan that investors will read. This is why it is extremely important that your executive summary convinces the reader to keep reading. If investors do not like what they read, you might have already forfeited your chances of receiving financing. Make your executive summary interesting, stick to one or two pages, and make sure to talk about the main points of the plan.
Your business plan is not where you want to get creative with fonts, colors, and other graphical elements that do not really add to the idea behind your plan. A business plan is an informative document and should stay simple looking and straightforward. Let words, numbers, and ideas speak for themselves. Adding unnecessary glitz will certainly not impress bankers and other investors.
Content that is either quoted or paraphrased has to be cited in detail so the reader can locate it externally for verification. Doing so shows you are a well-read entrepreneur with the know-how and experience to find and interpret industry information, and that you donít hide your sources for fear of scrutiny. Investors that are serious about investing in your business will do their research on the information you provided starting with the sources you mentioned.
Financial projections rely upon the validity of the assumptions and research they originate from. You have to explain and defend such assumptions, and the research behind them, so the reader will in turn understand the projected costs and revenues presented in the business plan. It is important to be realistic when forecasting expected revenue for a new business venture. Not doing so will lead the reader to believe your financial analysis is poorly calculated.
A business plan has to be void of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Make sure you remove redundant and odd wording as well as comments from previous drafts. Reading a business plan out loud helps to identify sentence structure or logical mistakes. As well, getting a second opinion on your business plan is never a bad idea.
These key points to a professional business plan will help you concentrate on important topics within your plan. However, you should never forget that all the sections of your business plan are equally important and should show the common goal of your plan.