Writing a business plan and using business plan templets. I guess the first question is why do you want to write a business plan? To rise investment capital? To get a bank loan? To work through the feasibility of your project? Is it to communicate the purpose of you project to executives and staff or external stakeholders like philanthropists, government or not-for-profit organizations who you want help from?
A business plan is a strategic tool it’s a bit like a road map it should show where you are and where you want to be and how you are going to get there? People have different opinions about written business plan’s and some people will tell you that it’s a waste of time. Knowing why, when, were & how to use a tool makes an enormous difference to the results you get so yes sometimes writing a business plan could be a waste of time. When used correctly writing a business plan should provide clarity of purpose and give the entrepreneur the ability to store information and communicate that purpose / info in a compelling way that achieves results.
A written business plan won’t fool a venture capitalist, but a big nice-looking document will probably fool a bank manager and a lot of other people. There is a big difference between a business plan and a minimum viable product (MVP) real sales are cash in the bank and nothing is better proof of concept (MVP) than a customer who has paid you for your solution to their problem.
I’m a fan of the written business plan I think it is good to write one and then just keep a soft copy you can update & print out when you need to show someone or impress a fool.
There is a lot of business plan templets on the web, a word of advice for newbies don’t pay someone to write you a business plan for like $400-$1,000 it’s a rip off, if you just need a nice-looking document that no-one will read then use a free templet and have a nice cover page.
If you are going to write a business plan learn to do it yourself its your business after all and you will learn lots form the experience. If you need help with writing a business plan seek out a mentor for advice or enrolled in a course like Certificate 4 in small business management.
If you want to hire a consultant to write your business plan be very careful as they should be very expensive not a couple of hundred dollars but tens of thousands of dollars. You would probably be better off learning to write a basic business plan using a template and getting some help from a mentor / advisor.
If you need to raise capital a basic business plan is ok because any serious investor will not be fooled by a nice-looking but meaningless document, a MVP will impress them much better. If you are out to raise investment capital you should focus on being “investment ready” The pitch to investors will be much easier if you do all the hard work first to become investment ready and have a kick ass MVP.
All business plan templets follow a kind of formula they mostly start with an executive summary, an over view of the business, a marketing plan, an operations plan, a financial plan & appendix. It’s important to take which ever templet you chose and modify it to suit your business / project. Every business / project is different and its worth thinking about taking a few different templates and then writing your own plan from scratch once you get the feel for what is usually in a business plan.
Now if you spend three months writing a business plan and then you put it in a filling cabinet and forget about it you have wasted three months of your life which you will not get back. It’s your business plan so use it, act on the things you say you have planned to do and then update you written business plan every three months or so. That way when you get a call from that billionaires personal assistant asking if you can do a meeting next week you can quickly whip out that written business plan and impress any fools.