The quickest way to writing a business plan and organizing the evidence you gather to
argue your case convincingly is to follow a business plan outline. But with so many outlines and formats being suggested today which do you use?
No matter if you’re seeking funding from your local banker,
a venture capitalist, an investment banker, or your friends and family, your
single biggest challenge is to write a business plan that helps investors determine why your business
is any better or worse than the other business plans being reviewed.
How you write your business plan can be the deciding factor in
whether or not an investor goes through with your deal. Here’s a Business Plan
Outline that gives you the flexibility when writing a business plan to tailor your arguments to different types
of investors (e.g. bankers, venture capitalists, angel investors) simply by
focusing your arguments on the measures that are most important to them.
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
II. THE BUSINESS
A. History and organization
B. Products and services
C. Industry information
D. Marketing and sales activities
G. Tax aspects
H. Other material factors
I. Key milestones
A. Officers and key personnel of the company
IV. PROPOSED TRANSACTION
B. Directors of the company
C. Management relationships, transactions and remuneration
A. Description of securities
V. RISK FACTORS
C. Sources and use of proceeds
D. Business valuation analysis
E. Plan of distribution
F. Dividends, distribution and redemptions
G. Principal stockholders
VI. EXIT STRATEGY AND RETURN ON INVESTMENT
VII. MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF CERTAIN RELEVANT FACTORS
VIII. FINANCIAL DATA
IX. APPENDICES AND EXHIBITS
When you write a business plan, the business plan outline is only a start. Because it’s not only what
you say that’s important in a business plan but how you say it.
Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Business Plan...
If you ask Warren Buffett why he thinks investors sometimes
have trouble understanding investment-related communications he’ll tell you that
the most common reason is: A
knowledgeable writer with good intensions simply fails to get the message
across to an intelligent, interested reader. And, he’ll site the use of jargon and
complex constructions when writing a business plan as the likely villains.
So, if you’re having trouble writing a business plan that explains your business or
your transaction clearly, either what you’re trying to do is not clear in your
own mind, or you might be making these common mistakes when writing a business plan.
- Long sentences
- Legal and financial jargon
- Too many defined terms
- Unnecessary details
- Unreadable design and layout
Using a plain English writing style as you write a business plan avoids obscurity, inflated
vocabulary and convoluted sentence construction and is the best way to stop these common
mistakes and ensure your audience will understand your message easily.
Yet only one out of fifty business and government documents is in plain
English. Why? Because untrained writers draft documents full of passive verbs,
long sentences, wordy phrases, complex words and other style faults. This is also true when writing a business plan.
Think of the advantages you’ll have over other businesses seeking to attract
investors or raise money when you write a business plan in plain English: investors will
clearly understand what you’re asking them to buy into and truly judge what
action is best for them, which in turn saves you time and money.
So, no matter whether you use plain English in long or short documents, in
prospectuses, shareholder reports, or writing a business plan – speak, to your investors
in words they understand.
Business Plan Secrets Revealed! expands on the business plan outline and reveals four more common writing mistakes to provide step-by-step instructions on how to write a business plan that attracts investors and helps you raise money.
Here are a few additional plain English writing resources to help you in writing a business plan that gets your business plan idea across to potential investors:
Stylewriter Plain English Software
I use Stylewriter to help me write clearly and concisely. This easy to use software imports your word document, analyzes it for wordy phrases, passive phrases, long sentences, and more. I have mixed feelings on using grammar-checkers when writing a business plan, but I've found Stylewriter easy to use and I like the way it challenges you to improve your writing. Click here and take a look for yourself.
Professional Editing Services
Here's any easy way to avoid embarrassing mistakes or grammar errors in your business plan before sending it out the door: Let The Writing Docs edit your plan before you send it. The Writing Docs offer expert editing services to ensure your business plan, cover letters, resumes, and more convey your thoughts in an intelligent, easy to understood way and are void of typos, grammatical errors, and other embarrassing mistakes. Checkout their FREE Sample Edit. Fast turnaround. And, discount for first-time clients. The Writing Docs - they bring your words to life! http://www.thewritingdocs.com
Bolster Credibility with Investors--Avoid These Phrases in Your Business Plan
How to Ensure Your Business Plan Conveys a Compelling Message
Business Plan Writers - Read This Before You Have Someone Else Write Your Plan
Plain English Approach to Business Writing
Books on Plain English
by Edward P., Jr. Bailey, Larry Bailey
Lays out the dos and don'ts of plain English, illustrating them with actual examples drawn from business documents, technical manuals, and trade publications. Covers from the basics to fine tuning. Offers practical advice on clarity, precision, organization, layout, and many other topics. You can read it in an hour or keep it close by you as I do for a handy resource when writing a business plan.
in Plain English
by Robert D. Eagleson, Gloria Jones, Sue Hassall
This is another helpful resource for plain Englishing writing. It's a hard to find one though and takes a while to ship.
The Business Plan Library
Ensure your success. Start building a business plan library with these seven highly effective business plan books. Plus, numerous other top selling books about writing a business plan and business plans in general.
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