Improvisation is the spice of life, but a great plan is key to getting things done!
That’s a shame, because a coherent roadmap can make all the difference for you when it comes to handling all the normal bumps in the road that come with building any sort of business. Plus, a tight, thoughtful plan can do a lot to impress the folks around you, convince them that you know what you’re doing and — hopefully — encourage them to invest. So, now that we’ve caught your planning interest, here’s some basics to doing it right.
Tell them who you are. Most plans are going to lead off with an executive summary, a high-level look at what your business is and where it’s positioned in its sector. Basically, the goal is to tell people what you do, where you’re trying to go and what you need to get there. Like all effective communication, the best plans are going to get the message across in language that’s clear, concise and to-the-point.
Cater your plan to you — and the people you want to attract. There are some main planning elements, such as the summary, that are likely going to stay relatively constant between documents. However, for the most part (and especially for startups based on novel ideas) this plan is going to be highly individualistic. Take these recommendations from the federal Small Business Association as an example. According to some of their surveys, effective plans can be anywhere between 25-100 pages long. That’s some serious range, and the elements within the plan aren’t going to be stale either. Depending on what you do, the pieces of your plan might include product layouts, statistical charts or prospective floor plans.
Writing your plan is a vital step in the life of a business. It can also be a kind of test; how well do you actually understand your business and the industry you’re in? This is the time to dig deep and put that knowledge on display. And remember; this plan isn’t just a dry rehashing of Business 101. When done right, it’s the hook that wins your place at the big table.