Writing a business plan can be a massive task. There are tons of business plan sections to complete.
Should you spend the same amount of time on each business plan section or should your business plan writing be prioritized in some fashion.
The obvious answer is that you need a strategy when writing the business plan, and that strategy should involve giving some weighting to the various business plan sections as to which parts of a business plan are more important.
There's no single answer that works for every entrepreneur as to how to prioritize a business plan, but this general methodology for prioritizing business plan writing tasks will work for every entrepreneur.
Which Sections of a Business Plan Are Most Important?
To determine which sections of a business plan are most important, you'll need to start by creating a table of contents for your business plan.
Once you've developed a table of contents for your business plan, put the business plan table of contents into a spreadsheet. The first column of your spreadsheet will contain the list of business plan sections.
Now, add two additional columns: Rationale and Importance. In the rationale column, for each row in your spreadsheet, write what you hope to accomplish with the business plan section in question.
For example, you might have a section entitled "Management Team" and the Rationale for that section might be something like this: "Demonstrate to investors that we have a talented team with a strong track record. Goal is to prove to investors that there is less risk in this venture because we have the right mix of skills to be successful."
Go through every section of the business plan and write down the rationale. This exercise should take about an hour.
Now, having just completed the exercise of explaining why you are going to write each business plan section, you need to go back through every row and assign an Importance value to the business plan section. We typically recommend that you assign a 1 to the top-priority tasks, i.e. those that are the most important. Assign a 2 to business plan sections that are important but not critically important. Finally, assign a 3 to the business plan sections that are the least important.
With this simple exercise, you've defined for yourself what business plan sections are most important to you. The final step is to put down time estimates for each business plan section. Within your spreadsheet, sort the business plan sections by your Importance values so that the most important business plan sections are at the top. As you create estimates for how much time you will spend writing each section, allocate more time for the most important sections of the business plan.
Through this simple method, you've prioritized your business plan writing. By taking this simple step, you're on your way to creating a much better business plan than you might have created otherwise, if you had not bothered to learn how to prioritize a business plan and simply treated every section as being of equal importance to the final product.