How to present a business plan
Like any business document, the business plan should be attractive and easily digestible. You may have just seconds to capture the attention of an investor or a bank manager, so make it stand out. Here are some tips on how to present your plan:
1. Include a cover
Give your document a front page that is branded with your company name and logo (if you have one), dated and titled ‘Business Plan’.
2. Have a contents page that corresponds to numbered pages/sections
It sounds obvious but being a hefty document, it’s important to be able to find key sections of the document without having to flick through everything.
3. Include an executive summary at the beginning
This gives a concise synopsis of who you are, what you do and what you are trying to achieve. The rest of the document should then answer those questions.
4. Provide some history of the company
Keep this brief. It’s really just to give the reader a quick understanding of who you are, how long you might have been operating and what your objectives are.
5. Describe your market and current consumer behaviour
Provide answers to these key questions: who is buying? What do they buy? Why do they buy it? Who are they buying from currently?
6. List your main competitors
Again ask questions: who are they? How big are they? Who is their target market? What are their strategies?
7. Provide financials
Financial information is probably the most important inclusion, as profit and loss is what people are really interested in. Include income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements and budget information as well as any sales forecasts.
8. List strategies
You needn’t go into too much information here, but it’s useful to include the types of strategies you plan to execute to meet your objectives, whether this be digital marketing, business development or other.
9. Highlight areas of expertise
Include a brief snapshot of the key players in your business and the skills they bring to the table so that investors can see how adept you are likely to be in meeting your objectives.