Some entrepreneurs cringe at the thought of writing a business plan.

I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that the days of having to write a 60-80 page business plan are for the most part gone.  The bad news is that it is mission critical to write one.  Whether you are saying “ugh, a business plan” or you are eager to get going on it and are excited to do thorough research and a comprehensive write up, I can help.  I have helped many others with their business plans in Truckee, Tahoe, Reno and beyond.

Why write a business plan?Business plan help consultation Reno Lake Tahoe Truckee

Writing down our goals and plans make it 10 times more likely to happen and twice as likely to be successful.  In fact, a study at Harvard Business School showed that 3% of their grads that had clear written goals made ten times the income of the remaining 90% of their peers.  Of course a well-written business plan is obligatory to raise money for your endeavor.  A comprehensive business plan becomes a template for your team to follow with decisions and actions; it helps them all be working collaboratively towards the same objectives.  A well thought-out plan with good risk analysis also reduces chance of failure and helps prevent mistakes.  The financial portion of the plan is vital in making sure your profit will make it worth your while and keep cash flow positive (highest cause of failure in start-ups).  One woman created a revenue model for a custom scrapbooking venture and found she would only be making $3 an hour!  This exercise also gets ideas out of your head and onto paper so they are more clear and easy to communicate to your team, mentor, coach, investors, etc.  As your Tahoe, Truckee, Reno consultant, I can help you with your business plan concepts.

How to write and get the most out of your business plan?

Make it easy to read.  Your executive summary should be one page at most.  I recommend about 20 pages as a rule of thumb.  This increases the likelihood of it being read and used.  Remember that your business plan is a living document.  It will not be perfect the first time, so don’t take more than 2-4 weeks to write it.  This will get you going on actions and results faster.  The benefit of being an entrepreneur is that we can remain nimble and take advantage of opportunities and avoid risks with the right mindset.  Revise it every 6 months.  Fill in your assumptions and calculated claims and data with real data as soon as possible.  Back up your estimated data with facts wherever possible.  Be conservative with your numbers and enjoy being pleasantly surprised.

What are the critical business plan factors?

I’m a huge believer in getting “proof of concept” before launching a start-up or expansion.  That means you KNOW your market and ideal target client well and know that they will buy and at what price and volume.  For example, if you write a book, get pre-sales.  If you have a service, get contracts.  8 out of 10 businesses fail in their first 18 months because they didn’t do enough market research, don’t know their customers well enough and aren’t clear on why they are unique and special in the marketplace.  Your leadership team is another critical piece.  Is your team going to be able to achieve excellence in the STAR model (Marketing, Sales, Operations, Leadership, Finance)?

What are the key components of a useful business plan?

  • Executive summary
  • Mission, Vision, Goals
  • Opportunity outline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financials – income, cash flow, balance sheet projections
  • Management team description
  • Risk analysis

Now you know the key factors of a successful business plan, how to write one, and why it’s important.  If you have any questions or want help, please contact business coach Jim (707) 246-3646 (your business plan consultant) any time.