Writing a business plan is a good starting point for new business venture and it is equally important for an established business as well. A good plan requires time and efforts but not as much as you would expect to. So what do you need to complete business plan in nothing more than several hours?Business plan software or sample business plans
Good business plan software will contain blank fields for you to fill in gradually. So you do not have to waste time searching for business plan outline or what to write in each part. Ideally you’ll have hints near every field to tell you what to put in each one of them.
Using sample business plans is a good time saver, too. You’ll have not only hints for every field but ready-made texts that you can edit according to your business case. The main disadvantage is that free business plan samples you’ll find on Internet will all have different structure. So instead of keeping you focused on your plan they will distract and confuse you. That is why I would recommend using sample plans more as a secondary source of information.
Competitive analysis and market definition
This is a very time-consuming business plan section as you have to collect a lot of real world data for it. You are supposed to provide the following information:
- Market size and dynamics (better if estimated by independent research agency)
- Target market size and dynamics (better if estimated by independent research agency)
- Target audience definition
- Target market trends and entry barriers
So if you have this information beforehand, you’ll spend less time actually writing your business plan.
Automated business plan financials
Having your business financial statements and financial ratios calculated automatically is another advantage of using business plan software. For instance, you have to provide basic data (like sales forecast and business expenses) and software comes up with profit and loss statement and cash flow statement for you. Basic financial ratios, break even point and payback period can also be calculated automatically.
Business writing skills
Business plan does contain a lot of texts. Of course you should be laconic and to the point but still your business ideas have to be clear and comprehensive. Avoid complex sentences, use technical terms as little as possible and write in simple yet vivid language. Practice makes perfect, so the more business texts (like articles, blog posts, forum discussions) you do, the quicker you’ll be able to find correct words. Mastering business writing skills is hardly possible without doing enough reading. So make your list of business books and start reading it through. And you’ll be surprised not only with your increased writing abilities.
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