Have an idea for a startup? This usually means for most budding entrepreneurs is that they have a fairly strong idea about the sort of product they want to make. Most of the time, it gets a little bit more involved than that. What is a business plan? It explains precisely how your idea is going to turn into an actual startup. Then it details how that startup is going to turn into a viable business.
A lot of people go about business plans the wrong way. Business plans are nowhere near as simple as people make them out to be, especially if it’s your first time creating one. You probably don’t have much business experience or data from previous endeavors with which to work.
We’re going to go through a few key elements that you should keep in mind as you put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard as you develop your business plan.
Don’t create a book
One of the most common mistakes in this field is that entrepreneurs make their business plans too long. They think that their business plan has to be this encyclopedic tome with hundreds of footnotes. All your wishes, projected profits, ideal paths – all jammed into one thick document. The Infinite Jest of the business world, if you will.
In fact, your business plan should ideally be just a few pages – and those few pages should be condensable to a single page that summarizes everything. This will make it much easier to actually follow. It also means you spend more time getting the business started and less time sweating over your business plan “manuscript”!
Understand that keeping it short and simple doesn’t mean making it lack detail. There are a lot of details that should go into your business plan. Leaving them out can leave you a little lost a ways down the road.
A description of your business and your product isn’t all you need. Detail how your business is going to make money and through which business model. Think about the marketing you’re going to need and how you will deal with competition. Think about your computer support needs and whether you need to work with a company like CyBerJaz Corp. You can get into detail while still keeping the document simple and brief.
Get creative and visual
Charts, graphs, and images help break up the blocks of text in your business plan, and also makes the details of that text much easier to take in. Of course, you should really only use these things if you need them. Don’t be foolish enough to leave them out if they’ll make something easier to understand (they’re very good for cost analysis, for example). Don’t just throw them in there to make the document look more professional. This is a common mistake!
Finally, try to make your business plan stand out from other plans in some way. Obviously it’s a very important business document, but that doesn’t mean it should be completely boring! As long as creative additions don’t mess with the coherence or flow of the document, it will be fine.