Now that we've seen the structure of the business plan, I suggest you to discover together some tips on writing your business plan.
We will discuss on :
best writing practices
reflexes to master in this work of writing
errors to avoid when writing your business plan.
Best writing practices
First of all, it is necessary to ensure the respect of the questions of form, to draw up your business plan.
Indeed, the BP can have different formats:
It can be presented via the use of a word processor
Or in the form of a slideshow
It will be joined, by a modeling of your economic forecasts in a file by using a spreadsheet. With it, you will be able to extract clear tables, to present your financial forecasts. This work with a spreadsheet will also allow you to simulate different financial assumptions.
For the document you are going to submit, even if the most common format for presentations is the slideshow, you will have to ask your interlocutors, in which format, they want to have your documents, between word processing, or as a slideshow, most often by using a power point.
Knowing that for slideshows, the number of slides, is then naturally defined by the time you will get to present the document. It is up to you, to determine the size that seems reasonable to you, regarding the time you will have to present.
A document in word processing, may also be necessary, if your interlocutors request it and if you want to develop in more detail the presentation of your project. It will often be called a info-memorandum, more commonly called, an info-memo.
Advices for great writing
For these two documents, it is necessary, to really focus on a great writing.
You must master the language, propose a clear image of your project with a professional style dedicated to action. It is therefore necessary to adopt a style and a simple vocabulary, which does not mean simplistic. The challenge is to understand the relevance of your project.
Avoid technicals jargons
Avoid technical jargons, which will make your text illegible by non-specialists in your sectors, and also which can create potential misunderstandings on the terms used.
You will have to express yourself with clarity, short and synthetic, and go quickly to the facts based on your sources, your reasonings, and your intuitions.
For any outside information mentionned in your document, you should mention the sources (for example, newspaper articles, interviews, market research, reports, expert studies, ...)
But do not go into endless details. Indicate the main points and your conclusions that justify your choices and action plans. Only your significant data must be communicated. For the remaining, and if necessary put this detailed information in appendix, and tell your readers, that they will be able to consult them, in this part of your document.
For all figures, use tables and charts, and make them easier to read by using colors. But for colors, do not overdo it. Beyond a certain number of colors, and according to the associations of colors, your document can quickly come out overloaded or even illegible.
In your writing, you will present your convictions, but you must also show that you reflect your control of your project:
show that you develop alternatives,
make it clear that you anticipate
use action words
I suggest now that you keep the following points as reference in your writing, as it is necessary to write the BP like an argumentation, and express a real demonstration to get the adhesion on your project :
make sure to structure and prioritize information
quantify things in your presentation
you have to be exhaustive, so you can not afford to treat superficially a key aspect of your project (for example: the value proposal of your offer, your business strategy, ...)
present simply and clearly without going into too many irrelevant details
you have to be transparent, and not hiding any difficulties and risks in your project. Express them clearly, even to write that these points need to be reviewed and completed, and that you are leading actions for that.
clearly explain the assumptions you are making and which must therefore be based on reliable and verifiable sources
you must credibilize your project in your writing by seeking to validate the consistency, between the objectives and the means you will implement.
In the end, you have to be persuasive rather than lyrical ... What does your idea bring to the existing situation?
Errors you should avoir
I also recommend that you pay attention to certain expressions that must be used with great caution in your writing:
Do not write that you have no competition. Eventually you do not have direct competitors, but you still have some form of competition facing you. Currently, your customers do without you and have found alternatives. They may not be satisfactory, but they do exist.
Avoid mentioning too much that you write cautiously. You write with reflection, calculation, consistency. You do not write a business plan, to be prudent, but to be voluntary, ambitious around a constructed and dynamic approach
Pay attention to some proclamations like "We are going to make the revolution" – You can dream of it, but many ideas that were thought to be extraordinary, are in fact large flops whatever from big groups than from entrepreneurs. Revolutions are not as simple as that, and we often underestimate the weight of habits to change from the users, even if the project presents a significant and proven value proposition.
It is therefore necessary that your business plan document is pleasant to read, clear,and show a deep implication in it. You can not afford to offer a document that is manifestly incomplete, finished too quickly, with a poor presentation, you risk to degrade your image of entrepreneur as a professional
Be sure to have your document proofread by trusted people, pay attention to any errors!
And work to consider your business plan as a communication tool, to demonstrate that you will bring satisfactory solutions, to current demand, and this in an efficient way, and show that you have all the legitimacy to carry out your project successfully.
To conclude this chapter, I would like to give you these tips:
Keep in mind that your document must be drafted to help people to "visualize" the project concretely
With your writing, you will show the seriousness of your project, with your oral presentation you will give confidence.
I propose you this rule of the 4 C, to guide you in the writing of your business plan : Your document must be Clear, Concise, Coherent and Complete.
Don’t forget that your Business-Plan document has to give dreams as well as to reassure people on your project relevance. And for that, do not hesitate to use techniques of storytelling in your writing, to show the consistency of your document.