Do tell a compelling, memorable, and interesting story that shows your passion for the business. Do show that you have more than just an idea, and that you have gotten early traction on developing the product, getting customers, or signing up partners. Do have a sound bite for investors to remember you by. Do use a consistent font size, color, and header title style throughout the slides.
Your in-person presentation will give you an opportunity to add and highlight key information. Having a prototype of your product makes it easier to sell your vision to investors. It also gives you some momentum and traction and helps you recruit partners and employees.
Undoubtedly, version 1 of your product will not be as good as version 2 or version 3, but you need to start somewhere. When starting out, your product has to be at least good if not great.
Everything else follows from this key principle. Thoroughly Research the Market Opportunity and Your Competition Make sure you are thoroughly researching the market opportunity and competitive products or services, and keep on top of new developments and announcements from your competitors. One way to do this is to set up a Google alert to notify you when any new information about those companies appears online.
Expect that prospective investors in your company will ask questions about the market opportunity and your competitors.
So anticipate these questions from investors: How big is the addressable market? How much of it can the company realistically capture? Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match exactly to the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful.
Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting. For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.
Use a sample as a guide Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying a sample plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it. One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going to through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.
You'll also look at where you stand among your competition and everyone has competition , and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet.
A complete business plan for a startup company is best organized according to the logical development of the business and is comprised of at least 12 basic components.
Executive Summary: By definition, to summarize the elements of your business 2. Company Description: For identification, to introduce your readers to your company and your business concept 3. Industry analysis: To provide a picture of your industry and of the position of your business within the larger framework 4. Market and Competition: To evaluate what you are getting into. While some business plan proponents separate market and competition, it takes an examination of both, together, to come to one very important final conclusion: your market share.
Consequently, it is best to examine and present them together. Strategies and Goals: To analyze the market and your competition in order to determine how and where your company or products or services fit and to maximize your position with your target market 6.
Products or Services: To describe your products or services and how they match your findings of your strategies and goals 7. Marketing and Sales: To market your products or services with the best positioning and to forecast your sales based on the findings of categories four, five, and six, in that order 8.
Management and Organization: To present the management and personnel who will run the show. This section can be separated into two sections for more complex companies. Operations: To explain how the business is run Financial Pro Formas: To forecast successful financial performance for all activities Financial Requirement: To present the type and amount of financing needed, based on the previous sections, to accomplish the whole plan Exhibits: By definition, to close the plan and separate any supporting materials that would otherwise interrupt the flow of the story A professionally written startup business plan has all 12 of these basic sections presented in the order of the outline.
Most of the segments listed will also be reflected in the same order of presentation, although there may be slight variances depending on your type of business.
When your business plan is written to obtain financing, the financial requirement section may be tailored either as a loan request or as an investment offering proposal, and then titled accordingly.
A Winning First Impression The saying, "There's no second chance to make a good first impression," is highly appropriate when it comes to the opening sections of your business plan and its overall appearance. With current desktop publishing, business plans are looking more professional--prospects are competing for neatness and an impressive presentation that sets them apart.
As to format, the norm is to bind your business plan in booklet form with high-quality materials. Better ones have quality report covers in dark or rich colors and are labeled on the front. The title page serves better than a label if laminated or positioned behind a windowed cover or behind a full clear cover.
What are the needs being served? If you have an expansion strategy in mind, this would also be outlined in your financial projections.
How well does this cover your business idea? Before reading the plan, hear what the business planning experts have to say about getting the most out of business sample plans.