Business Plan Do’s and Don’ts

Your business plan is the step between pitching to and pinning down investors. Entire TV shows have been dedicated to the art of the pitch, but your business plan is the make-or-break that acts as the cherry on top for investors.

Not only that, but a solid business plan can hone your idea and start you off on your entrepreneurial journey the right way. Whether you’ve written your pitch or are overcoming the writer’s block that can waste valuable time, here’s the good and the bad.

DO: Build your pitch from your plan.

Whether they read your plan ahead of time or not, the best pitches have rhyming notes with their accompanying material. Doing this can be as simple as including specific points that can ramp up the emotional impact of your pitch and hopefully, a potential investor’s interest.

DO: Understand your market.

Investors aren’t just looking for a great idea—they’re looking for a great idea in a booming market. Breaking down your competition is critical. Examine successful companies in your field and consider comparing your product to the success of another company. Ideally, include figures that investors might stand to make if your business is successful.

DO: Focus on your future success and future profits.

Offer insight into how your competition grew in comparison with your own growth plans.

DON’T: Forget your rhetoric.

The worst mistake you can make is boring anyone with a business plan. They’ll expect the numbers, but the art of salesmanship applies most when the person whom you’ve just pitched is considering whether or not to fund your dream. You’ve been building this business for a while—convey what makes you excited about your venture.

Focus on the value of the project beyond numbers—or instance—what will an investor be investing in by supporting your project? Also, consider having your business plan proofed by someone with a background in editing.

DON’T: Shy away from repetition.

Close your business plan with a bite-sized explanation of what your product is, where you’ll sell it, and why it’s great, even if you opened your business plan with this information. Delivering a plan with enthusiasm and complete information is something investors look for.

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