Your business plan serves as a sales tool - it is useful not only for attracting customers and your financial backers, but also for yourself. The style and manner of your business plan writing should focus on selling the concept first and then its successful implementation. We offer five ways to make your business plan serve you as a sales tool:

1. For investors. You can initially use a business plan as a way of getting financial assistance from investors. You should write each section, revealing your objectives to investors, which you plan to achieve with the help of certain business strategies.

2. For yourself. When analyzing data and writing a business plan, you develop your own business idea. If you evaluate your research objectively, you may find out that you will not be able to implement your plan on your own, but you can sell it or use it to understand how your business can get even greater potential than you have originally expected.

3. For third-party high-qualified professionals. A well-reasoned and well-written business plan can help to attract talented and experienced professionals to your project. By selling your business ideas along with offering attractive long-term perspective, you can attract those professionals who are interested in working in a business that has stable future.

4. For banks. You can prove your credit worthiness with the help of financial documents and a business plan as well. A business plan can help you to convince a lender in the successful future of your business and your need for new equipment or production expanding.

5. For consumers. You can easily sell your business by showing potential customers that your business is dedicated to its original purposes and principles. Updating your business plan regularly, you can illustrate the business growth patterns, stages fulfilled and you will be able to keep the price need you to sell your business.
Monday, 05 December 2011 04:37

Write a business plan for your audience

When writing a business plan show your interest to your readers and they in their turn will be more interested in you and your project. Perhaps you do not need to make significant adjustments for each type of readers, but being attentive to your readers can make you read your plan from their point of view and can help you to anticipate possible questions and problems. Investors, creditors and partners are the three main groups you write your plan for.


Investors will provide a company with cash in return for its shares. If your firm does not have investors (such as your family and friends) who fund your company and don't have a material interest in it, then investors are primarily interested in pure monetary return, the project payback period and dividends. Great investment return forecast in the coming years is not enough for investors, though perhaps it may be useful at the initial stage (when raising funds).
Imagine the following situation: the company has decided to pay out dividends early. Dividends paid are scant, the company has reduced funds intended for its growth and development, while most investors will still be interested in company's value increase, its stability and the anticipated sales volume or faster investment turnover. Thus you need to choose whether you'll spend money on dividend paying or on your company's development and growth. Decide for yourself what type of investor your company needs: one who supports your company's growth objectives or one who is only interested in high ROI.


Creditors will also be interested in the financial plan, but above all they will require an accounting balance sheet and cash flow statement. The balance sheet will show them the company's assets in the future, which the lender can use as collateral and sell if the company can't pay off debt. Your cash flow statement will prove them that you will have positive cash flow quite soon after the project launch, so you can start to pay your loan. To meet this requirement, you must present a detailed cash flow statement in your business plan. The business plan itself must be persuasive, well-reasoned and include considered marketing strategy, while the company management should be able to achieve their goals.


Individuals and other companies are potential partners of your business. If you are looking for real support for your project, it is absolutely necessary to show a business plan to your potential partners to prove your intentions and a certain research made beforehand. They will be interested in information about the operational and marketing techniques that you are going to use as well as in your products and services to decide whether your services and products will benefit their products or services or whether they are incompatible or even market competitors.

Thursday, 01 December 2011 06:01

Business planning services: what to choose?

When you are going to hire a specialist in business planning or a consulting firm to have a business plan written for you, consider these tips:

It is not all about money

Do not think that the more expensive services are the higher quality business plans you'll have. Despite the fact that your company only starts working and there is almost always a financial deficit, do not try to save money on a business plan: the chances of your project to succeed will be much higher if your business plan is written by a competent expert.

If you do not know what a business plan should look like or what each part is aimed at, you need much more than a cheap writer can offer. In addition, a competent author knows that the amount of work required to write a business plan will depend largely on the research completed by an entrepreneur. And such an author will not tell you what the final price is if he has not found that out yet.

High-quality writing

Ask for previous business plan samples to evaluate the quality of writing, its form or its author. The sample should be clear, concise and there should be no typos, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. The author must be able to provide you with certain parts of a business plan as an example. Of course, in this case names and confidential information must be edited. If a writer has created financial models as well, ask for samples and make sure everything is done correctly.

Previous success

It would be great, if a business planning expert or consultant could show you successful projects, a rich reference list and give you examples of successful projects they have written business plans for. It is important to see a series of successful business plans rather than just a few successful projects.


An expert or consultant must provide references from previous clients who would be happy to recommend him (or her) regardless of whether the business itself failed or succeeded. It often happens that a business failed to flourish though a business plan was perfect.


An author must have his own understanding of how cooperation works best. This should include becoming familiar with a client, doing research and study, then going through checkpoints, where projects are discussed and then accepted or rejected. Stay away from authors who are ready to take on any job. This shows that he does not take his job seriously and therefore the quality of his work is quite dubious.
Monday, 28 November 2011 07:06

Business plan template: what to choose?

If you are looking for an online template to write a business plan, then you are on the right track and you have so many products to choose from. On average, business plan templates are available for under $100, so you can use them to save dozens of hours of work at little expense. Here are some tips on choosing the right business plan template to buy.

Choose a company and then a template

Begin with experienced reputable companies. Look for a company that helps (financially) entrepreneurs to write successful business plans and has a decent reference list. Pay special attention to companies that has experienced business consultants with hundreds or thousands of clients in the past. Once you have found a company that meets these criteria, choose a template that is closest to your business. Do not worry if it is a little different. It will still serve you as a standard to adapt which is much more informative than a general template and is especially helpful if you write a business plan from scratch.

How to look for the right template

Look for a template that includes a financial model built with Excel, to be able to create and modify the financial statements easily. Also give priority to templates that include instructions or guidelines for their use. If something is not clear, ask the creators of the template to give you instructions on how to use it. Working with a template can be extremely difficult, if instructions are not available.
A business plan for a new consulting firm can not simply be a written explanation of what your strengths are and assumptions about how market operates. The plan should describe your competitors and show how your company is different from those competitors, it should show your uniqueness.

You should make your company stand out not for the sake of being different but for the sake of having competitive advantages that will help your consulting firm to win the competition consistently and profitably.

Examination as a tool for standing out

Your personal examination (analysis) or the combined examination by your team of consultants can accentuate your strengths and identify unique features. If this examination can make your company a department store for a certain type of customers, then you may be able to win the competition by showing customers how it is easier and much more comfortable for them to work with your company than with another one, which does not give a full range of services. On the other hand, if your examination is deep in one particular area, more experienced service in comparison with other shops positioning themselves as a department store may become your competitive advantage.

Stand out with the help of price

You can beat your competitors by offering price differentiation and a more affordable price for the same quality of services. To do this, you must have a way to make costs lower than your competitors'. It can be difficult, since larger firms can save money due to their scale, distributing rent and marketing costs among their branches, hiring lower-paid consultants to carry out most of the "hard work" part of research and analysis of customer engagements.

Stand out with the help of various ways to attract customers

Your method of attracting customers can distinguish you among other market players, too. Try to understand who your target customers are, find their "habitat" and find a way to make them want to come only to you.
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 04:08

Main sources of information for business planning

Any business plan reflects quantitative and qualitative characteristics of a project, which emphasize the profitability of this business without considering existing risks. The core of the business plan is the information which ensures the success of a project.
This information includes:

- marketing research;
- expert opinions;
- information on how investors can exit a project.

Marketing studies reflect the capacity of the market. The capacity of the market is the potential volume of sale of products and services determined by the market demand. To determine the market capacity you need to undertake a number of studies based on specific techniques. In the first place you need to research supply and demand. In this case a consumer survey can serve as the primary source of information for determining the market capacity. This survey should have a certain structure.

Initial market research also makes it possible to determine its market conditions: the economic situation in the market, the demand and supply, market activity, price fluctuations, sales.

The next source of information for writing a business plan is various letters of recommendation from stakeholders on the relevance of the chosen project. If your project is innovative, you need to find companies dealing with expertise similar to your innovation project, and take their expert opinion about your project. It is imperative that an expert opinion was positive. If it is possible for your innovation to go through the certification procedure, do that before writing a business plan which will make your presentation more weighty and well-grounded.

To attract attention to your project, you need a good description of exit strategies for your investors. Information that will win confidence of your business plan's external users is the articles of association, an extract from the record in the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities and other documents proving impeccable past and future of your company.

Information mentioned above should be of high quality and easily verifiable.
It is important for any investor to see realistic suggestions and assumptions in the financial plan. Plans showing the degree of their implementation, the operating income, earnings per worker and other figures that are not well substantiated, contradictory or in fact simply unrealistic, may undermine the credibility of the business plan as a whole. On the contrary, sober, well-reasoned financial assumptions and forecasts demonstrate the maturity and credibility of both the plan and its authors.

For example, if a company plans to work with infrastructure projects, then it makes investors suspicious planning an 80% operating income as investors can easily check the operating income of network infrastructure public companies and find out that none of them has a high level of operating income margins. That is they will understand that you have provided them with unrealistic data from the start.

Financial calculations should be based on actual performance indicators of your own firm or of other firms. As the example above shows, it's easy to check an operating profit of a joint-stock company and use them to forecast your own performance indicators. Similarly, a business plan should be based on earnings growth forecast corresponding to other companies in this industry. Many firms consider it simply impossible, claiming that they have a unique breakthrough idea and can't be compared to other companies. In this case use data of companies from other industries that have had breakthrough products. If you expect to grow even faster than they did (possibly due to new technologies that those firms could not have used), you can include more aggressive assumptions in your business plan as long as you can give detailed and plausible reasons for this growth in your business plan.

It is also important to make your forecasts realistic to attract funding and to keep temporary reserves to find alternative ways of developing your project. More realistic financing plans can help you to create the most accurate key points of project development.
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 04:54

Useful advice on writing business plan

Try to follow these tips to become a more successful fundraiser and you will feel the difference!

Be an expert in your industry

When making an analysis for your business plan spend sufficient amount of time on researching the business industry you’re in, even if the industry is already familiar to you. Read articles, industry reports, study your competitors. All this information will allow you to provide a more competent analysis of the industry in a business plan and will prove your competence to experts. In addition, if you work in two industries at the same time, study both of them. For example, a bouquet maker competes within the floral industry in a sense, and is also part of the large gift industry.

Estimate cost of goods sold

If you find out that an industry average cost of goods sold for your type of business is 50% of revenues, think twice before simply writing in your plan that your business "will have a 40% cost of goods sold because of additional efficiencies". Generally, efficiencies are created over time through learning and also because of a company's growth and additional scale. Startups are not generally more efficient than incumbent competitors. Explain your competitive advantages and prove that by certain calculations and descriptions, as in that case your presentation will be more weighty.

Summarize your results

Show the growth of business you expect over the next five years in your financial plan. It would be better if you will prove your opinion by more than just sales and net profit projections. Include metrics such as the number of customers or clients, the number of employees, the number of products sold or services rendered, or other statistics relevant to your type of business. These type of non-financial metrics will give readers a better understanding of what impacts your business as it grows.
Monday, 24 October 2011 07:22

How to make a business plan presentation

A business plan is the primary source of information for investors and loan suppliers but it does not always get due attention. So your project will not be evaluated the way you have planned due to an expert's lack of sufficient time to look through it or due to information redundancy in your business plan.

You need to make a presentation of your business plan yourself for the project to be duly evaluated.

Developing a winning presentation is one of the most important life stages of any project. It is important to understand that people who will listen to your description of a project, will first of all judge the way you present it. Only if the project presentation has aroused interest among experts, they will study it more closely.

Before making your presentation find out who will be your audience and who will evaluate your project, if there will be any investors present and gather as much information about them as you can. You may use the plan of the event in which you participate, the Internet as well as information from the event organizers to find out more about your audience.

On getting the image of your listeners-to-be you should look through your project and choose those points that will be more interesting to listeners. Draw experts' attention to the points which are important to both you and them - and you will surely arouse their interest.

The next step in making a presentation is to choose a slide design. First of all you need to know whether the room where you are to deliver your presentation is light or dark. Moreover, you should choose a design that does not strain eyes and makes it easy to read information on the slides.

On selecting the design you must organize the structure of your presentation which should be logical and be easily understood by your listeners.

Good luck with your presentation!

Here are some tips to create a good cover page for your business plan.

1. Company name
The first page of the business plan must include a company name. It is traditionally placed in the upper or middle part of the page in a larger font than the rest of the text. The reader must know the name of the company.

2. Company logo and colour scheme
It is best to have a business plan cover page made of high quality material. You can make your cover page look attractive by adding a high-quality image of your company logo with a certain type of font and colour scheme. A hard cover always catches readers' attention. Business plans with an unattractive logo or colour scheme can produce a repulsive effect.

3. Name and Date
When was the plan written? And what is it – a business plan, a summary or a feasibility study? The third important component of a cover is the title of a document and the date when it was created. It is worth noting that the name and the date of a business plan should not be printed as large as the company name.

4. Less is more
A summary highlights the key points of a business plan. There is no need to write the same thing on the cover. It is also unwise to put too much graphics on the cover as in this case information is difficult to comprehend. Simplicity, clarity and persuasiveness are the three main objectives of a perfect title page of a business plan.

5. Information about the CEO of a company
Who is the reader to contact, if he wants to know more? CEO name and contact information should be on the front page of the plan, showing its readers who represents the plan.

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