Every entrepreneur needs a business plan. Writing a business plan is one thing; writing a stand-out business plan is another. If you know the basic requirements of the format, then you’ve got the start of a business plan. But you shouldn’t stop there if you want to be successful! Follow our formatting tips to write your own killer business plan and get noticed.
Audience, Audience, Audience
The most important part of any writing is audience. This goes for writing a business plan, too. If your goal is to get a partner, you will want to emphasize different aspects of the business than if your goal is to get a loan from the bank. A potential partner may be more interested in the creative or innovative aspects of the business, while a lender wants to know about the financial soundness of your start-up.
Tip: When you’re writing a business plan, do a little role-play and step into the position of your audience. Would you find it convincing? Does it answer the questions you have? Use what you learn as a guide to any revisions.
Make It Sound Like You
One of the worst mistakes you can make when trying to write a business plan that stands out is to create one that doesn’t reflect who you are. Whether you write generic statements or overuse your thesaurus, your reader is likely to be put off by an inauthentic business plan.
Tip: Start by writing the information that you want to put in your business plan in a looser, casual format. By jotting down your ideas without the added pressure of the business plan, your writing will sound more natural. Then, when you put everything together, you’ll still have a relatable voice.
Keep It Real
Too many entrepreneurs focus on making their business plan a sales pitch. Lenders and investors alike are used to seeing these overconfident, unrealistic business plans. Give them a refreshing change by shooting it to them straight. Don’t oversell yourself and don’t undersell your competition.
Tip: Although you want to be sure to present the data, you should be careful not to make it sound too dry or objective. At the end of the day you’re still trying to sell your business, so remember that it’s all about balance.
Think About Design
A business plan is a long, involved document. If you’re presenting a 30-page document to someone, it’s important that they can still find the information that they’re looking for. It should be formatted clearly, and organized for a professional look.
Tip: Using a quality software program when writing a business plan can help you stick to a clean layout, but if you want to go an extra step, hiring a graphic designer or professional writer can make a real difference. A professional knows how to design a document so that it is elegant, professional, and eye-catching in a way that you may not.