The term Business Plan is one of the most misunderstood and intimidating names out there.
What is a business plan? Why do you need one? Who do you show it to? What goes into one?
I view business plans in terms of what I want this document to accomplish and to whom is the intended audience.
- Get yourself organized – this is the most straight forward type of business plan. You want to get your thoughts down on paper and you want to keep yourself organized and on-track. I would download a template or use a software or even a hybrid approach to crank out your own business plan. It’s for you, so formatting is not as important.
- Get funding – this is where you need more than “just words on pages” – the business plan will be reviewed and scrutinized by others – others with money! The business plan needs to be more than just words on a page – it needs to be realistic, well-researched, and benchmarked against the competitive marketplace. The financials need to make sense with credible inputs and assumptions. You need a clear “ask” and a clear “what’s in it for the investor or lender.”
- Get a partnership – these can look like joint venture proposals or strategic partnership plans; the key here is that you need to put yourself in the reader’s shoes – how is the reader going to benefit from your partnership? What are the risks? What are the economics? You not only have to know your business and industry well but also that of the reader.