A well-thought and professionally written startup business plan is key to your business success. Yet, many new business owners are willing to “wing” it without ever detailing clear business goals. The truth is, no matter your size or industry, you need a business plan if you are serious about being successful.
Even the smallest of businesses are multi-faceted and complex. To smooth out your operations and ambitions, you need to have a strong sense of what your business is all about. Your startup business plan is essentially the roadmap of your business that you will refer back to throughout your organization’s growth. If you are serious about your business plan, follow these three essential tips for success.
3 Steps to Building an Effective Business Plan
Put Your Audience First
Solid research is one of the most important aspects of an effective startup business plan and one that we cannot emphasize enough. The people that will read your business plan are investors, lenders, and employees. Know who your target audience is, and use tone and language specific to them. After you’ve explored every aspect of your product, target market, and competition, follow these ABC’s of putting your audience first to draw up an effective business plan.
Here are the ABC’s of putting your audience first:
- Avoid using jargon or acronyms, and keep descriptions of products simple. Use terms that anyone could understand – remember, you can add an appendix to provide a more in-depth explanation.
- Keep things brief. There’s no need to answer every question an investor or customer may have. You want to develop a well thought out plan while sticking to the main points of your business. This tactic will create interest for the reader, encouraging them to come to you with questions. Opportunities for engagement with your audience are invaluable.
- Consider including a company profile – just a quick outline of your brand history, what you offer, your target audience, and what your resources are. Explain what problem your services or product solves and how you’re unique from other businesses in your industry. Profiles don’t need to be lengthy or elaborate, and they’ll do a great job of attracting the attention of investors, clients, customers, and potential employees.
Envision Long But Plan For the Short
Present a concrete plan for achieving your business goals in the upcoming year. While it is impossible to predict the future, you should include long-term goals. Label any ideas beyond five or more years as your “long term vision,” and not a written-in-stone strategy. This method of outlining your goals demonstrates your business foresight and adaptability.
To start, decide what you must accomplish in the next year to stay on track with your five-year goals. Then, create a ladder of smaller, quarterly goals that lead up to your one-year objectives – include this breakdown in your business plan. A Gantt chart is a great, eye-catching tool for displaying goals that overlap on your timeline.
A great startup business plan is often the difference between sinking and swimming in the first year of business. Without one, you’re less likely to interest investors and raise funds. No funding means failing to meet your business’s goals, and no measurable progress will sink you faster than a rusty rowboat.
Keep these suggestions in mind when you’re tempted to skip steps in writing your startup business plan. If writing your business plan feels intimidating, partner with a professional agency that specializes in researching, writing, and designing business plans – to save you time, money, and stress.
Sell, But Don’t Oversell
Consider your startup business plan as a tool to gain lenders, investors, and client interest – like a sales or marketing pitch. Write your business plan in a way that gets the audience excited. A well-produced commercial for a new car prompts it’s targeted consumer to make a trip to the dealership in the same way.
The fact is, today’s consumers have virtually unlimited access to information, making them the most well informed and educated market ever. Usually, before they even speak to a salesperson, they’ve done their research and made up their minds about a project or service. The Information Age has completely changed sales tactics in the business world. Now the salesperson or business owner, in your case, has to walk a fine line between selling and overselling.
We now know that what you say is just as important as how you say it. Avoid using exaggerated or hyperbolic language. Unless you have facts to back up your claims, don’t tell your audience that you have “the most outstanding employees, an unsurpassed management team or unrivaled technology.” Not only is that sentence hard to read, but it is also ridiculous.
You should also consider the way you address potential competition. When developing a new business plan, reconsider making claims that you have no competition. Investors may be concerned that there isn’t a market for what you’re selling. If people aren’t already buying what you’re providing, there is potentially no demand for it.
Defamation of your competitors is unprofessional and, most of the time hurts your credibility. Stay away from dismissing your competition as being inferior or undeserving of your concern. Instead, demonstrate your ability to strategize by recognizing their skill, stating what they do well and how you plan to improve on their business model.
Work with an Expert
A professional startup business plan has the power to affect how others view your business. It’s the process of having an idea and making it into a viable reality. When you need a business plan that is going to leave a great impression, trust in the experts. Find out how Bargain Business can benefit you and your new business today.