5 Tips on Writing a Business Plan


meeting ground rules for facilitators Middle Class Dad business man at a desk wearing a blue suit

Before creating a real business plan some students may dream about, they will have to craft a fictional one – at school or university. It may seem senseless at first. However, the aim is to prepare future entrepreneurs and reduce their stress in the long run. If you do it once and learn the basics, the real planning you may expect in the nearest future will be easier.

Any essay writer who has worked on business plans will agree that meeting all the demands on the first attempt is almost impossible. So, be prepared that you will need to fix some things up and make a resubmission. However, the list below presents the points you should keep in mind not to waste time and effort.

Be Realistic

You will probably learn this from lectures, but anyway, mind the adequacy of your suggestions. The assignment is not about a children’s game where you can imagine you have an endless flow of money. The trick is about staying afloat by coming up with a meticulous strategy and financial planning.

So, imagine you’re presenting your ideas to potential investors. What will convince them to help you with funds? Obviously, it’s not a fancy name or beautiful window blinds. 

Show the numbers that will look believable and real, the ones that will match the current situation in the market. Show the strategy you’d like to apply to develop your business. Ask yourself: what would you invest in without a doubt if you had the funds?

Pay Attention to Must-Haves

Technically, you should prepare a strategic document, a convincing roadmap. Even if it’s a business plan made up for the assignment your teacher gave you, it should be relevant to the industry. So, it can’t be loaded with text and non-informative pictures.

It’s impossible to say what a perfect business plan would comprise as each case is unique. Yet, there are essential tables, graphs, and calculations that need to be drafted and completed.

  • Marketing plan – this one will help you develop a strategy regarding spreading awareness about your product or services and assuring potential customers that you’re worth it.
  • SWOT analysis – an objective assessment of your strong and weak points. In addition, you will look into the possible threats to combat to keep afloat. Lastly, the opportunities part can help you have the upper hand in tough situations.
  • Competitor analysis – today, the competition in the market is tremendous. There are various tricks used to lure the customers in. So, you should know them. Research what your competitors draw customer’s attention with and think about how you can beat them.
  • Financial plan – this is probably the most complex part. You will have to use the budget wisely for the business to start paying off before you run out of money. Count the cost of equipment, wages, potential revenue, additional costs, taxes, etc. 
  • Timeline – remember the idea of investors sitting in front of you; they need to not only know their money will be worth it but also understand when meaningful returns will show up.

Include Minimum of Theory

The worst thing to do in a business plan – even if it’s fiction – is to flood the practice-oriented document with theoretical knowledge you do not apply. There is no need to explain what marketing is or give statistics you can’t tie up to your planning. 

Forget about retelling recommendations about how a business plan should be written. That’s something that should be in your head or in guidelines in front of you, not in the final document.

Your teacher wants to see that you’re capable of creating a layout for your potential business. Do not analyze other businesses or write a literature review. The latter is a mistake that new students often make. 

Of course, you will support your decision by referring to some successful cases. You may also need to justify your choice by presenting facts regarding the situation in the market or changing customer behavior.

However, many students end up filling up the document with information that doesn’t involve their own plans, tough choices, or creative steps. Meanwhile, that is what business will demand of you. So, do mention theory and cite it, but use it for a back-up, not meeting the word count.

Add Specific Details

The document should give the reader a detailed image of the type of services or the product, their quality, and their purpose. If you want to run a restaurant, mention how the staff will be hired, how experienced the cooks will have to be, how many tables you’ll require to have all the visitors in busy hours, etc. 

If you want to produce some devices, you need to make sure that they will be bought in decent quantities for your business not to go west after a few months. That is also why competitor analysis is crucial.

Sometimes, the teacher may demand all the tiny details like the model of a blender you plan to purchase. In the end, it makes sense as you will need to draft a spreadsheet or a table with expected expenses. And one cannot predict how much they will spend if they do not know the prices of the required equipment.

Mind the Academic Level

Don’t forget that you’re still completing an academic task. So, the rules of plagiarism and proper citing shouldn’t be disregarded. 

Write in the future tense when talking about the business and do not choose the existing one. Some students misinterpret the instructions requiring something like company background and end up writing a report on a company that already exists.

Takeaway

A business plan may seem a rather short assignment and create a misconception that it can be dealt with just like any other essay. Yet, the approach required for a working strategy is more than just imagination or pure calculations. 

Every entrepreneur should come up with something new to be competitive enough. They also need to apply their knowledge and adjust their ideas to reality. 

So, if you think about it, it’s a much more creative and deep assignment than it seems at first. Of course, it will mean more to you if you are an aspiring entrepreneur, but who knows, you may become one during the completion of the assignment.

 

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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