There are no shortcuts when it comes to executing a successful business plan. You can certainly look for some great examples and study up before sitting down to craft your own. But since every business and industry is different, there is no cookie cutter approach. It’s a living, evolving document, and even if you have some success with it you’ll be well served by revising from time to time. Of course you don’t want to screw up what’s making the plan successful, but there is always room for improvement. And if you’re running from meeting to meeting without much luck, obviously it’s time to step back and make some changes. Here are five tips for effectively revising your business plan.
First off, look over your plan from top to bottom and make sure the language is clear and concise. You might think that filling it with industry jargon or flowery language will make the package seem more important. But the truth is, investors spend a great deal of their time reviewing these sorts of documents. You’ve got to keep their interest, and that comes from getting right down to the point just as quickly as you can. Make sure the structure is simple, the rationale logical and the visual aids in the document further clarify things. Complicated language is your enemy in this case.
Look over all of the conclusions you draw, and make sure you’ve done enough research to back up all of your points. Investors and loan officers will be able to tell if you’re making leaps based on faith instead of facts. This is a business document, so everything should be cut and dry. Pie in the sky dreaming and numbers that seem unrealistic will be a big turnoff for the readers. Look for opportunities to add to your conclusions with updated figures, interviews and market demographics. The better you can show that you are a true expert on the practicalities of your niche, the better the chance you’ll get someone to give you money.
If you’ve got a bit of experience under your belt and are still looking for investments, try to get more specific as to your intended market. You’ve been selling to these folks for a while, so what have you learned? This is another opportunity to prove your expertise, and your intuitive understanding of how your business can be a success. If necessary, do a bit more market research. Do you truly understand what the folks in your market want and need? Have you seen other companies succeed, and can point to what’s working? The more specific you can get, the clearer the opportunity will appear.
Make sure that all of the market analysis and corporate projections feel realistic. It’s tough to extrapolate on the next five years of your company, even though that is what’s required out of a business plan. Obviously you want the numbers to appear rosy, so that investors will be interested in what you’re up to. But people will be able to smell wishful thinking as opposed to targeted projections. You’ve got to make sure everything in there is realistic, so that you can explain exactly how you reached those conclusions if pressed. Be honest, even if the numbers aren’t great. It’s better to manage expectations from the outset than to over promise.
Finally, make sure you’ve clearly defined who is responsible for implementing everything in the plan. Even if you’re a freelance contractor, there’s no way you can do everything alone. You want to make sure that the plan shows you will be handling everything that falls under your expertise and delegating the rest. If web design is your forte that’s how you should be spending your time, not on accounting or legal filings. All of the business plans found on www.teneric.co.uk get super specific about who is doing what, and under what deadlines. It will prove that you are prepared for the realities of the business world.