The Dreaded Business Plan…part 1

At some point on our business journey, we will have to write a business plan.  When we are thinking of starting and want to make things real; when we are looking for investors or financing and have to show why we should get the funds.  Whatever the reason, one will have to be written and it has to be real, make sense and be suitable for the intended audience.  Sounds scary – right?!?  

I’ve had to write business plans for every business I’ve started.  Some have been pretty bad.  All of them except one, have been approached with a deep sense of trepidation. And I am sure many of you feel the same way too.  There are, of course, professional business plan writers and templates but will they clearly state your vision for your business?  If you want to write a plan that reflects you, your vision and still resonates with your audience, the following is for you.

What is a business plan?

Think about this; a business plan is simply a story. A story about the business you want to start or the one you currently run.  It weaves the tale of why you want to do it; what you need to make it work; the cast of characters needed to be included – you, staff, clients, suppliers, investors etc. You’ll also include in the plot the money you are going to need to spend to get started, the money you’re going to spend to keep the business ticking along, where that money is going to come from and how you are going to spend it. And like all good stories, there will be a resolution at the end pulling all of the aforementioned information (or conflict) together.

Sounds complicated, right? It actually isn’t but it does mean you need to put a bit of thought and effort into producing one.  You can get help with it but I suggest you write your story first before getting outside help.  You know your own plans for the business. The dream is yours so be careful not to let someone else dilute the story for you. 

The story will need to follow a few guidelines and I will show you what those are using that oft-used anagram: SMART Objectives.  For those who don’t know what I mean – SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Specific.  I will go more into this in the next post.  In the meantime, start thinking about your business story, incorporating some of the plot ideas I gave earlier.  See you in the next post…

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