Friday, January 4, 2013

Making a Successful Business Plan - Business Tip # 2

All communities develop their own language, and the business community is no exception. An otherwise well-written business plan that does not use the language of business is likely to be viewed either skeptically or less seriously by prospective investors. Whether your subject is market competition or company management, make every effort to follow these simple guidelines to the practical and stylistic elements of business writing.

All communities develop their own language, and the business community Write Professionally, Not Academically First and foremost, the business plan provides analytical evidence of your company's potential for success. Present this evidence through concise, purposefully written sentences that directly address the concerns unique to each section of the business plan. In contrast to a college essay or paper, a business plan should do the following:

- Keep paragraphs short and blocked.
- Reserve quotations and anecdotes for those cases where the information confirms claims in market research or is necessary to fully answer the concerns of the investor.
- Be sparing with essay-writing words and phrases such as therefore, to be sure, however, consequently, hence, and thus.
- Minimize use of colloquial phrases.
- Utilize phrases such as "the Company strongly believes . . ." and "the Company feels confident that . . ." as opposed to "it would seem­" we hope . . . ," and "this might suggest. . ."

This does not imply that business writing should be dull or bland. A well-written business plan can follow these guidelines and still prove engaging and unique. However, a business plan that reads too much like a college essay risks being interpreted as a sign of business inexperience.

Base Predictions on Statistical Evidence

One of the most challenging aspects of writing a business plan involves predicting the potential market for your product or service. Since the details of your company's early years are speculative, this material comes under the most intense scrutiny from prospective investors. To make your predictions more accurate and convincing, be sure to include actual statistics in formulating each step of your analysis. Make sure that all assumptions have a numerical foundation. For example, do not simply state: "The rapid growth of the Internet fuels speculation that a virtual office business would prove profitable." Instead note: "Computer magazine lists the market of Internet servers as increasing by 80 percent in the past three years. This trend provides strong indication that a virtual office business would prove profitable." By providing actual numbers for the prospective investor to analyze, your business plan uses market history, not wishful thinking, to create an accurate picture of future possibilities.

Use Bullets

to find your business plan's key points. Bullets, spacing, character size, and character quality (such as bold, italics, and underline! draw immediate attention to evidence suggesting a market's viability, your product's advantage over competitors, effective sales strategies, and so forth. Make your business plan reader-friendly, and ensure that important considerations are not overlooked by casual readers.

Consider Technology

In today's world, technology is key to the efficient, smooth operation of all aspects of business. As you prepare your business plan, consider the Don't force your prospective investor to search through paragraphs of information technology available to assist in the production, marketing, or sales of your product or service.

Invest in Business Software

The purchase of a good word-processing and spreadsheet package will prove to be a worthwhile investment. Most word-processing programs today deliver a professional-quality format and come packaged with chart-ready capabilities. A good spreadsheet program gives you the capability to adjust strategic variables such as service pricing and personnel wages, providing information on future revenues with only a few keystrokes. Most spreadsheets today can also produce tables from these supplied variables. Presenting information graphically makes your research more accessible and lends a professional appearance to your business plan. Business plan writing software is also available, and is useful for guidance purposes.

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