It’s very possible to create the best business plan for the worse business idea and still seal a sponsorship deal. It’s all about packaging your brand in believable words and convincing your prospective sponsor that your business is worth investing in.
This does not mean you can make a baboon look beautiful in papers, but you can bring out the very best in any idea using a clear and self-explanatory business plan. Usually, your business plan is read in your absence, therefore, you will not having the chance to explain some things that are not exactly clear to the reader. Your best shot is to make it as easy as ABC.
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll go through the stages of writing a business plan and some key components you need to make it a successful one.
The golden rule(s)
Keep it short: Business plans should be short and concise.
You want your business plan to be read and no one is going to read a 40-100 business plan – the shorter the better. Your business plan should be a tool you use to run and grow your business, something you continue to use and refine over time. An excessively long business plan is a huge hassle to deal with and may be dumped and never to be seen again.
Know your audience: Write in a language that your audience will understand.
For instance, if your company is developing a complex scientific process, but your prospective investors aren’t scientists, you don’t need to use scientific words – speak in terms they can relate with. Accommodate your investors, and keep explanations of your product simple and direct.
Don’t be intimidated
Writing a business plan may seem like a difficult hurdle, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know your business and is passionate about it, you can make it happen, by following the process step by step.
Things to include in a business plan
Good business plans are living documents that you return to on a regular basis and update as you learn more about your customers, sales and marketing tactics that work. Your plan sets out the goals you’d like to achieve and you should use it to track your progress and adjust your course as you go.
With these basics laid out, let’s get to the different parts that must be included in your business plan.
1. Executive summary
This is an overview of your business. Although the Executive summary is the first thing that people will read, it is advised you write it last because you will be more equipped for it after you must have written every detail of your business. Your executive summary should ideally be one to two pages, but can be more, provided it is clear and understandable.
This section answers these questions: What problems have you identified? What solutions are you providing? How are you selling your solutions? Who is your target market and competitions? These answers will help you position you products and strategise on how to make it appealing in the market.
How are you going to take your opportunity and turn it into a business? This section covers your marketing and sales plan, operations, and how you’re going to measure success at the long run.
4. Team and company
Investors look for great teams in addition to great ideas. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire. You will also provide a quick overview of your legal structure, location, and history if you’re already up and running.
5. Financial plan
Your business plan isn’t complete without a financial forecast. Highlight the key aspects of your financial plan in charts that show your planned sales, expenses, and profitability. Your financial plan will also include you funding requirements, milestones and traction, staff salaries, estimated sales and break even timeline.
The appendix is not really required of every business plan, but it is useful if you need more space for product images or additional information, like charts, tables, definitions, etc., that is too long in the main body of your plan.
In a nutshell, after creating a fantastic business idea, remember to put your plans into action once the business kicks off.