Is your business plan a house of cards?

5 Tips for a Better Business Plan

By Andrea Jacques

A business plan should be more than just spreadsheets and rules, it should outline how your company lives and breathes. Ideally it conveys your personality and culture, not just your business model. The team at Small business BC teaches us five ways to keep it lean and in shape.

1. Don’t use jargon.

Write clearly and concisely and use visual aids where possible. Avoiding jargon is important if you are using it to submit to a bank for investing, but don’t make it so bland as to remove all the personality. A big part of the value of a product or service can come from the culture of the company that sells it – think WestJet.

2. Do your homework.

Online resources are abundant and so the internet is always a good place to start, but don’t make this your only source for researching your market and competitors. Cross reference your findings with primary research (interviews, surveys, focus groups). Don’t skimp on the research phase. It is better to discover the weaknesses of your idea in the early stages when it is much easier, and less expensive, to fix them.

3. Don’t market to everybody.

Niche. Niche. Niche. Did I say niche? Oh yeah, find a niche. Maybe you can be all things to all people eventually, but unless you are Apple, you probably don’t have the marketing budget for that yet.

4. Be realistic.

It is difficult to be realistic about revenue forecasts as the tendency is usually to be overly optimistic. Look at your projections and ask yourself, “What if I only did half of this?” If your company would still break even then you are on the right track.

5. Don’t forget about your business plan.

At Kyosei Consulting, we encourage our clients to create Living Business Plans on an annual basis that link directly into their daily actions and quarterly goals. A business plan that sits on the shelf and never gets re-visited represents a lot of wasted effort.


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image: fsse8info via Flickr.