Small Business Planning Tips, Part One

Are you starting a small business? If so, you could benefit from writing a business plan. Creating a document that describes your business and your strategy can help you make it a successful reality. If you’re starting with a seed of an idea, you want to fully develop it so that you can determine whether or not it’s a venture you want to pursue.

Buisness Plans | Cary Small Business Lawyer

You wouldn’t go back to school to obtain a degree without reviewing the course requirements and cost because you want to know how much time and money you will have to invest before you sign up for that initial course load. Starting a business, even a small one, is a similar undertaking but on a much larger scale. It will have more risks that you will need to consider before you spend that first dollar or ask potential investors for money.

In this two-part series, our Cary small business lawyer will give you tips for creating a business plan. Here are the first five tips for the initial draft of your plan:

  1. Make it short and sweet.

Put aside your tendency to write long form prose. You want to use concise, clear language to get your ideas across. Avoid buzzwords or industry jargon if you are planning to share your plan with potential stakeholders who may not know the language.

  1. Use graphics and bullet points.

Information is easier to understand when it is presented in lists or graphics. Use simple business charts with pie graphs and horizontal bars to summarize the financial aspects of your plan. Make sure all of your calculations add up and match the graphics.

  1. Keep the format cohesive.

Stick to one or two fonts. Choose a standard size such as 11 pt. or 12 pt. Use bold and italics where they work, but do not go overboard. Use white space liberally. A page full of text and/or graphics can be overwhelming. Plan to keep it under 20 pages. The smaller the business, the fewer pages you will need.

  1. Research, research, research.

First check out your competitors. What are they doing right? What mistakes have they made? Consider these when writing your objectives. Determine how your business is different. Now, pull industry statistics to back up your information. For example, do you plan to add new products to your business during holidays? Check to see if competitors have done the same and how they fared.

  1. Determine the purpose of the plan.

Are you sharing it with investors? If so, you will want to clearly outline where the money is going and what your projected financial goals are. If your plan will be a guideline for personal use, then you have more flexibility in how you want to write it. It could even be written as driving directions that show how you are planning to get from point A to point B successfully.

Be sure to check out part two in this series to learn about the elements of a business plan, including the executive summary, business description, and financial data.

Klish and Eldreth, PLLC | Cary Small Business Lawyer

Are you having difficulty writing your business plan? Our Cary small business lawyer can help you create a clear and concise plan so that you can get that idea off the ground. Call today to see how we can help you.

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