Your business, if it is to succeed, must have a guide to help you ensure its success. This guide comes in the form of a business plan. What is a business plan? It’s a written portrayal of how you see your business’s future. It lets you know what your plans are and how you are going to execute those plans. It doesn’t matter where you write this plan out – so long as it’s written out, you’ve got a business plan.
The idea behind a business plan is to get you from Point A (the present) to Point B (the future) within a certain time frame, which includes a different set of abilities and resources such as an increase in profits and assets. The plan lays out how you’ll get from the present to the future such as what your goals and objectives are. Be sure you include how you’ll fund the business and how you’ll market it.
How You Can Make Your Business Plan Positively Stand Out
Make It Simple, Make It Readable
The most effective business plan is short, sweet and to the point. After all, people will quickly look over the plan while they conduct other business. When you develop your plan, use these five tips:
- Short sentences are easier for a person to read quickly.
- Don’t use any jargon, buzzwords or acronyms because although you may understand them, someone else may not.
- Be sure the language is straightforward and simple.
- Use bullet points for any lists since they help in reading the information quickly.
- Don’t use naked points.
The average length for the majority of business plans is no more than 40 pages. You only need 30 pages maximum to explain the business and the additional 10 pages for monthly resumes, projections, etc. There are some exceptions such as when you include useful graphics, location shots, blueprints, etc.
Making Use Of Business Charts and Pie Charts
If you have important numbers, you need to make sure they’re simple to understand.
- Use business charts and summary tables to bring out the key numbers.
- Use the bar charts to show annual gross margin, sales, net profits, net worth and cash flow.
- Use two-dimensional bars since it’s simpler to read.
- Use stacked bars to highlight totals.
- Make use of pie charts for both market segments and market shares.
- Put source numbers near charts in a summary table, allowing readers to quickly reference them.
- Use horizontal bars to show milestones and tasks.
- Be sure you have a chart and make note of it in a text.
Polish Up Your Business Plan
While wording is important, you still want the physical aspect of your text to look inviting:
- Use no more than two simple fonts; nothing complicated.
- Don’t use small fonts – 11 or 12 point will do.
- Use sections and charts from text using page breaks.
- Liberally use the white space. Words that are crammed together are not comfortable for folks to read.
- Spell check and proofread your work and make sure text numbers are the same as the ones in the tables.