A business plan is meant to attract investments for starting a new business venture or expanding an existing one. It is common that 9 out of 10 business plans are rejected because VC’s or Angels find them unattractive or unviable. So what does it take to create a business plan that can deliver result. Here are some points
a. Speak with people who have ‘been there and done it’. It gives you a new perspective to your way of looking at a business venture. Professors at entrepreneurship cells and Venture Capitalists can also share great ideas to get you going.
b. Another important factor before you proceed is to understand whether the business idea is viable. You may travel a distance and create a great business plan only to realize that there is a flaw in the idea itself. Fine-tune your idea and business model before you proceed with jotting it down.
c. If you are sure of writing a great plan yourself then get it done yourself. However if words like marketing, finance or strategy does not ring a bell it is better to hire a great business plan writer. However you need to jot all your objectives clearly and share it with the professional who is writing it for you.
d.The key sections of the plan should be Executive Summary, Market Potential, Marketing Strategies, Competition & Financials.
e. Venture Capitalists and Angels are interested in numbers. They want to see how the business will progress over a course of 3 years (ideally the timeframe when they want to exit). You have to do your homework to defend the numbers that you have put in the plan. If it is an established business you can extrapolate your current revenues. However if it is a new venture you need to back-up with a good analysis and market research.
f. If you are not sure about financial projections & break-even analysis then get help from a business plan expert. They will help you to create the financials as per your business model.
g. Do not forget about the ‘look and feel’ factor of the Business Plan. Every venture capitalist would like to see a plan that is well designed looks great.
After a couple of presentations, if there is a need to rework on the plan change it accordingly. Someone may want to see a few sections done differently. In my discussions with Venture Capitalists I have found that they always want to see a ‘Proof of Concept’ along with the business plan. So if you can show them a working prototype in case of a software or some concrete indications of your business that helps. This is also the reason why running businesses get funded easily. So move ahead with confidence and create your business plan. There will be failures but as they say ‘failures are the stepping stones to success’. Wishing you the very best. Cheers.