How to write a business plan

30 Jan

Your business plan is critical to you. It enables you to;

  • raise money from banks and investors
  • conclude deals with business partners
  • run your business better

but you do an internet search and see all those websites that advertise free planning software and you think, “Well that problem’s sorted.” I don’t think it is.

Of course I’m selling a book about writing these plans but I really don’t believe that writing a business plan just means filling in the blank spaces on a spreadsheet someone has concocted to fit every conceivable case.

Your plan has to persuade the reader to do something, whether that something is to invest in you or do business with you or buy your business or even to work for you. In order to persuade them you have to you discuss the;

  • market(s) you will trade in (including competitors, technological changes etc. etc)
  • product or service you are selling
  • people involved and the management structures
  • past trading history (if any)
  • financial forecasts
  • assumptions and risks
  • proposal (what you want from them)

and a dozen other things and every business is going to be different. I have spent years writing business plans, reading them, advising on them, lending people money based on them and writing about them and I simply don’t believe that some simple formula you download from the internet will cut it. Sorry.

You need to write it yourself, for yourself. Now it’s ok to get help. But it has to be your plan. So read the book and have a go. If someone helps you then still read the book, so you can be sure that everything that should be included is included and so that you understand how it should read. Even professionals get it wrong sometimes.