There are 5 basic things to understand before your create a business plan: your purpose, your voice, your pitch, your executive summary and your magic.
Your Business Plan’s Purpose
Most people write business plans when they need money. While it’s necessary to show investors that you understand your business and have a plan, the reality is that most money people see it as a necessary evil.
The best reason to write a plan is to answer the key business questions – who, what, when, where, why and how – for your business.
Setting the Tone for Your Business Plan
While the business might be the brainchild of one, two or more, the business plan should be written by one voice. Bring the team together to brainstorm. Throw concepts out and vote them down. But the plan itself should be written by the president or CEO to ensure that it shows focus and clarity.
Your Elevator Pitch
Too often businesses create a lengthy plan then take highlights to create their pitch. The result is a disjointed pitch that is neither effective nor easy to understand. When writing a business plan, you need to define your objectives and create your pitch then expand on that information to create a compelling plan.
What does this mean? Let’s say you have a business idea to develop an application that aggregates data from multiple social networking sites and communicate in multiple virtual venues from a single portal.
Sample pitch: “Over 100 million people use MySpace, over 12 million use Twitter, more than 9 million use Facebook. There are more than 125 major social networking sites with the number of minors reaching into the thousands. Our portal enables users to access and manage identities on all of these from a single location. CPI advertising rates range from ¼ of a cent to ½ of a cent per impression. You do the math.”
Writing the Executive Summary for Your Business Plan
This is your chance to shine. Keep it to one, no more than two pages. Tell them that you get the business of business. What’s that you say? You buy something for $1, sell it for $2 because it fills a void or does it better/cheaper/faster than your “me too” competitor.
Highlight the problem and make your pitch showing why you are the solution of choice; no more, no less. Don’t wax philosophical. Don’t espouse the value of your technology. And don’t quote a ridiculous number of white papers and research studies that mean absolutely nothing. Connect, tease and entice. Make them want you.
Putting Magic into Your Business Plan
In truth the whole package needs a little magic. Not smoke and mirrors but the kind of magic that makes people see your idea as clearly as you do. The kind of magic that resonates and connects. The kind that gets folks thinking. The kind that makes them beg you to tell them more.
That’s it: purpose, voice, pitch, summary and magic. Get those right and the investors will find you.