3 Hot Tips For Successful Business Plans

We have so much detailed advice and info to help you start up your own business and then someone yelled at us asking for top tips on how to write a home based business plan. And don't stop there ... how about telling us where to get free sample business plan templates or a pdf to follow its guidelines.

Okay, okay ... we answered and scratched our heads. Luckily for us Guest Writer, Dean Thorpe of Charles James Consulting, came to the rescue to tell us exactly how to write up a winning Business Plan!

Most business start ups and those new businesses needing some cash for the bank or investment capital elsewhere will undoubtedly require a business plan. However, there are umpteen places to choose in your quest to come up with a great business plan, and it can actually be a bit of a mine field.

how to write and find business plan samples
So here are some hot tips on creating a sound, but punchy business plan that will:

  • get immediate interest
  • attract potential investment
  • make perfect commercial sense
  • 'sell' your business and/or concept to the reader

A great business plan is more like creating a movie script that producers want to be involved with and less about boring details and numbers crunched in various mind-numbing ways. The easiest thing to do is to use a template, however here are three essentials to ensure you incorporate into your business plan template.

The 3 Top Tips to a Successful Business Plan

When you learn how to write a business plan, you may not realise it at first but the best and most successful business plans aren’t long, formal, complicated or complex.

Different to Planning A Digital Marketing Strategy, your business plan should contain a few essential items which we list below.

Quite simply, your business plan sample should explain the most important information about your business, such as what you want to achieve with your business, why you started the business in the first place, how you will get to the end result of your business planning (ie the WOW factors or KPIs) and of course the things you need to do along the way to get to this WOW point.

The Prince's Trust says "It’s best to tackle a business plan in small chunks." Their Business Plan Pack may help you write up your business plan.

Let's hit those hot tips ...

1. Be Clear On Business Purpose

If you need backing or investment for your company,

If you are wanting to attract investors or a bank or some kind of backing for your new start up business (or old one for that matter) then a strong business plan is vital. Let's make sure you know where to start.

You will need to structure the plan differently to perhaps having a document to get the interest of others to share in your goals in creating a new business. The emphasis will be different in these two cases, though for both purposes you will still need to create a sales document.

It's important to lead with the purpose and what you want as your outcome. To do this, start your business plan with a clear and concise Executive Summary.  Using an analogy, this is the overture to a musical. It should be no more than a third of a page, should not contain any waffle and must use language that engages the reader's attention. In short, make your offering compelling.

2. Market First Product Second

One major mistake in a business plan is to move on to talk about your great invention or great product. You may have the best product in the world and yet is of zero value without a market that will buy it.

Being ultra clear about the market you perceive is critical:

  • Who is your ideal customer? How many of them are potentially out there?
  • What makes you sure these customers will be tempted to buy?
  • In what volume?
  • Over what time frame?
  • And have you research material that supports your conjecture?
  • Do mention milestones to success
  • Given you are unlikely to address the entire market initially, where will you start?
  • How will this progress. State your goals.

Banks and investors demand this kind of information in a business plan that you will provide for them when you ask for business funding.

On the well-known TV series Dragon's Den an inventor came up with a safety product for motorway breakdowns. When asked how likely the kind of breakdown being featured would be each year, the entrepreneur innocently replied, "maybe two or three a week…" Needless to say, despite the clever invention there was now zero interest and all dragons were instantly 'out'.

3. Business Plan Passion

Okay, now you can zoom in on your home business products. Describe it with passion. Show why it's different to the competition. Indeed, what are its unique selling features? Also who are the competition? You will need to mention pricing too. Remember to differentiate between cost price to you and suggested retail price. Is there a reasonable margin?

If you search the net for 'Business plan samples' you'll get swamped with stacks of business planning samples with more swamping of different business plan types. Here are a few business plan examples where you can have a quick hop and see the real thing.

Some Business Plan Template Sources

Finally we get to the nitty-gritty. You'll be champing at the bit by now and desperate to download your free business plan template. 

You'll also be dead keen to get more help and advice on how to write your business plan example before diving into the banks with the real deal. If this info above hasn't fuelled you enough, these guides may help you define exactly what your plan needs now and in future and more importantly, help you create your own succesful business plans.

http://www.bplans.co.uk/sample_business_plans.cfm
http://businessballs.com/freebusinessplansandmarketingtemplates.htm
http://elvis.sob.tulane.edu/Documents/Uniandes/BPTemplate.pdf

We found that the Gov.UK site also offers free business plan template downloads. They also feature help and advice on how to write up your business plan. It is a good, clean, simple and easy to read site so well worth taking a look before you write your business plan.

If you have your business plan all done and dusted and looking for the next step in marketing your business, try this A Simple Digital Marketing Plan.

Dean is a business owner, investment adviser, speaker, presenter and author of The Sixty Day Success Blog. Helping you get from where you are now, closer to where you want to be.  Follow him on twitter @deancthorpe or check out www.deanthorpe.com.

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