This is the final article in a four part series in which we have been discussing writing a formal business plan.
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In the previous three articles, we discussed preparing to write a business plan. This included information on gathering the information; what types of information you may need in the plan, as well as where to gather this information. We also discussed the importance of tailoring your message to your audience and how to do so. Finally, we went over how to incorporate feedback into your business plan and how to make a decision as to whether to proceed with a business plan or start over with another business plan.
In this article, we discuss business plan presentations that can occur after you've raised some initial capital and started down the path of creating your business.
As you go about launching your business, you may find that some inspectors, local business leaders, landlords or suppliers may want to be presented with your business plan.
This is very different than presenting the business plan to potential investors.
At this point, I would recommend keeping your plan standard, rather than tailoring it to each audience and revising it based on feedback.
The reasons I would keep the plan standard at this point in the business development are as follows:
- At this stage, you already know your investors and what they wanted;
- It's time to be consistent about your business plan's key messages;
- You are in the middle of development, and key planning decisions should be complete;
- You don't need feedback on issues that have already been resolved; and
- You will be very time-constrained so you won't have time to tailor the plan for every new audience.
Of course, some things may change and need to be looked at on an individual basis. For example, when we were building the inside of our retail store, the city inspectors had a change in code and the plans needed to be altered by the architect. After doing this, some of our equipment had to be relocated and one piece had to be altered to fit its new location.
Things of this nature can be taken care of quickly and easily due to the fact that all the other aspects and your outline for business development are laid out in black and white. They don't necessarily require a massive change to the business plan. This can help take some of the stress of the unexpected off the business owner's shoulders.
Another benefit to finalizing your plan at some point is that you can include operating procedures, employee expectations, hiring procedures and other personnel regulations in the plan and these can be used when hiring and opening to show what is expected and that it has been established in writing. I think this can help provide a sense of order in the company and show the future employees that you are serious about this and not just flying by the seat of your pants.
So go start developing your plan, have fun in researching and make sure everyone knows that you are ready to open this business.