This article is an extract from Uncle Ralph's, "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans". Read the book.
Some final Words from Uncle Ralph … on Business Plans
Get the most out of the process.
Preparing a Business Plan will always force you to learn some things that you didn’t know you needed to know and it will deliver some results that you hadn’t expected.
Most importantly, you will now have a document that has been shared and endorsed by your management team, your investors and your strategic partners and will serve as a performance management tool to achieve your business and personal objectives.
As a bonus, your title page will likely have a new corporate name, logo and marketing slogan that you developed for your business plan. Now you can incorporate them into your business cards, brochures, e-mail signature and stationery so that your business looks like it has already arrived.
You should also now have an “Elevator Pitch” and be comfortable using it: “Hello, this is who I am, what I do and why it matters to you.” You should be ready for any opportunity to promote your business with the 10-second version, the two minute version, the PowerPoint slide show, the YouTube video, the e-mail intro and the .pdf attachment.
You have probably enhanced your spreadsheet and financial analysis skills and have templates ready to assess any new changes in the industry or market landscape. And your future business expansion projects for new products or new markets.
And you’ve been promoted to “expert” if you, or anyone else, needs another Business Plan!
Re-Write for every Reader
Your plan needs to be written differently for different readers and different purposes. Not a substantially different plan obviously, just different emphasis and focus on what the particular reader will want to know and what you want from them.
Edit your Business Plan accordingly for each reader. It is also impressive if you personalize the cover page for each new audience.
Prior to approaching the banks or financial institutions, you should visit their websites to check their preferred business plan content and presentation. Verify if they have a particular business plan template or application form that is required. You may discover that up to a certain amount, say $100,000, they only accept applications online (avoiding wasting their time on small business clients). You may also discover that your personal financial statements and net worth are at least as important as your business plan. So get those in order and attach them to your plan.
Some readers of your plan may be more focused on your management credentials and experience; others on your marketing and sales plans to support the revenue forecasts.
Submission of your Executive Summary first will help you not only gauge their interest, but also determine which questions they will be seeking answers to.
There is never a Final Version
Your Business Plan is a working document that you should refer to regularly and review and revise annually. It was never intended for outsiders only or for one-time use only.
Of particular value for ongoing management of the business will be your financial goals, performance measures and the timetable in your Strategic Action Plan.
Continuing to monitor your progress against the plan is absolutely the best way to keep on track and achieve the objectives that you set for the business.
Remember the planning mantra: Review. Revise. Repeat.
That concludes my input and ideas for your Business Plan; the rest is up to you. Tuum est.
And good luck with your plans, that also helps.
Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson
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