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What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan, a road map that provides direction to a company's business, is a legal document containing an entity's business goals, the specific methods on how these goals can be achieved, and the timeframe that these goals need to be achieved. It also presents the business model or the nature of the business, background information on the entity, and the entity's financial projections. It can be externally or internally focused. Externally focused plans are those that are tailored towards outside financial stakeholders as these have detailed information of the company and the team members who are making the effort to reach the goals.
On the other hand, internally focused plans draft intermediate goals needed to reach external goals, for example, the development of a new product or service, a new IT system, a restructuring of finance, or a restructuring of the organization.
How to Write a Printable Business Plan
If you just start your business planning, note that you need not include all the details in the plan for this can be included in the operational or marketing plans. As a business planner, you need to be creative and organized enough by following these simple steps.
1. Keep Your Business Plan Short
Depending on the audience you intended for your plan, you must only focus on what the reader needs to know. You must write straight to the point, avoiding vague and ambiguous sentences as well as typos and grammatical errors. This is because detailed business plan templates are often shelved because they are difficult to interpret and apply on an ongoing basis.
2. Know When to Use the Appendix
If you need to include any detailed information, you must present them in the appendix. Examples of detailed information are as follows: detailed financial forecasts, marketing analysis, product literature, and technical specifications.
3. Base Your Business Plan on Reality
Make sure that you do not have any over-optimistic forecasts as these may lead to increased overheads, cash flow crisis, and drastic cost-cutting. You need to be realistic even if you are presenting your business plan to a third party or external audience. There might also be a tendency that the credibility of the management can be damaged the moment that you financers, business partners, and employees see through over-optimistic plans that ignore weaknesses.
4. Make Your Business Plan Professional
A simple business cover can already make a great difference to your business plan. You can include a table of contents, with page and section numbering. You can start your plan with an executive summary that summarizes the key points of your plan. If you want, you can use flow charts to make your plan more easy to understand.
5. Assume that the Plan is for Outsiders
Even if you are writing a plan for internal use only, you must assume and write it as if it were intended for third parties or outside audiences. This means that you include the company or product literature in the appendix and provide details about the history and current financial and business status of the company.
6. Review Your Business Plan
Finally, read through your business plan from your audience's point of view and try to imagine their impression of the plan outline. Make sure that it is free from spelling mistakes and typographical errors as these may affect the reputation and credibility of the business entity.