A good business plan can help you secure finance, define the direction of your business and create strategies to achieve your goals. Writing a business plan is one of the most crucial elements of starting a business. However, it does not have to be the most frustrating.
Any funder worth his or her salt wants to see it right off the bat. Moreover though, a solid business plan is a living document that will continue to guide your efforts as your business grows. A lot of those mistakes (most of them, in fact) are the result of poor planning. Bad location, a marginal niche, having no specific user in mind, raising too much or too little money--all of these issues can be prevented or at least mitigated with good planning.
Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan? A corporate business plan for a large organization can be hundreds of pages long, but for a small business it is best to keep the plan as short and concise as possible, especially if you intend to submit it to bankers or investors — 25-30 pages should be sufficient unless you need to include photos of products, equipment, logos, business premises or site plans, etc. Potential money-lenders or investors will be looking for solid research and analysis in your plan rather than long, wordy descriptions.
Executive Summary. The executive summary goes near the beginning of the plan but is written last. It should provide a short, concise and optimistic overview of your business that captures the readers attention and gives them an interest in learning more about it. The executive summary should be no more than 2 pages long, with brief summaries of other sections of the plan.
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