Writing a Business Plan
Completely Pain Free Business Planning - In 10 Steps - Part Two
Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures
Going in blind when it comes to writing up a business plan can lead even the most stoic of people to lose heart. Approaching the tasks methodically can make it pain free. A bit like that old adage about how to eat an elephant. Do it one bite at a time. Here are steps 6 through 10.
You know you have to create a company business plan but you keep putting it off.
When finally you do concede it's time to stop putting it off and get down to it you find yourself suffering a severe bout of white page block. That flashing curser is almost having a soporific effect on you. Truth is you don't know where to begin. Use the following suggestions as a guide to help you draw up your business plan without getting needing a megaton aspirin for your headache.
5. Write up a first draft
You've got the ideas and the brainstorming done. So it's time to put all of that together with any relevant information you have pulled from your inspiration pile of business paperwork. Your aim here, in the fifth stage of creating your plan is to make all those vague outlines solid. It helps to print out your first draft and remove yourself from it for a while. Apply your attention on something else. Then come back to the draft. You'll be better able to pick out any errors after a break, as your eye will be more objective.
6. Do your research
Now you really need to think methodically and create a case. Your aim is to put together verifiable information that backs up any claims you make in your plan. The relevant Small Business Association will be able to furnish you with information regarding statistics relating to other businesses in the same industry as yours. And contact rival companies to request information about their services or the products they sell.
7. Do your sums
This promised to be a pain free way to build your business plan, and although the numbers side of things is often the part that has people groaning it is a necessary evil. And you'll find that it really will be pain free if you start to put together your financial pro-forma statements now, rather than later. Putting them together too soon can result in inaccurate predictions.
8. Work on your second, and possibly final, draft
How important is good grammar and correct spelling? It's vitally so. You cannot proof read too much. Bear in mind that investors will make judgments about your business and the way it run based on what they see in your plan. Ignoring the basic rules when it comes to writing will put across the message that you are shoddy in other areas of life, including business. Check, check and check again. And just to be sure have someone else read your work through too.
9. Self impose a deadline that you can realistically stick to
Decide on a date that you aim to have your plan completed by. Put it in your diary. Note it on your desktop. Set reminders. Set this deadline and stick to it. By making it an official date you are making it part of your working life. You wouldn't renege on other deals in business so don't renege on this agreement. If you do you are only letting yourself and your company down.
Once your plan has reached perfection and you've tweaked it and feel it has the power to put your message across you need to write a summary. That should come easy now. If you'd tried to do this as the first step you might have struggled, but now you have the completed plan to work from it should be fairly straightforward. Précis the information in the plan to a single page. A bit like the synopses that writers send to publishers: in these authors need to describe their book in a nutshell. Do the same with your business plan.
Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."
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