Are you working on a business plan for your business? Are you feeling stuck or having a hard time getting started with your business plan? Here are 5 tips from Vancouver business plan writer Andrea Coutu:
1. Just get started
For many, writing a business plan can feel like a daunting task. All those tables, charts, figures and all that research can feel overwhelming. And what do we tend to do when feeling overwhelmed? Procrastinate! But don’t let your tendency to procrastinate or to strive for perfection get in the way of your business planning.
Not sure how to move forward? Like any large project, a business plan is best tackled in bite-sized chunks.
An effective place to start is with a table-of-contents style outline. Here’s a sample business plan outline that includes 10 sections.
Start by listing those 10 sections, and then brainstorm whether your unique business plan requires additional specialized sections that pertain to your specific industry. Aim to have twenty sections (or sub-sections) in your outline. (Don’t worry, you can always cull them later. But it’s great to brainstorm quite a few sections to get your creative juices flowing.)
Once you’ve brainstormed a tentative outline, pick the section that is the most appealing to you (or pick the section that you feel will be the easiest part of the business plan to write). And now you’re on your way to writing your business plan.
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2. Research is a launching point for networking
When writing a business plan it’s integral to do research. Research can take many forms, including analyzing market research or simply chatting informally with others in your industry. Ideally, your research will include both formal and informal research.
When seeking feedback and doing research, why not enlist some friends, peers or mentors to help answer some of your burning questions? Not only will this help improve your business plan but it will help expand your network at the same time.
3. Know your strengths and weaknesses
Are you a master marketer but couldn’t multiply your way out of a paper bag? Or maybe you are the opposite – are you great with numbers but find networking or selling yourself to be a painful prospect?
Get to know yourself. And if there’s an area of your business plan that you know is a weakness for you, consider bringing in extra help from a professional business plan writer in your area.
4. Connect the dots
It’s great to set high financial goals in your business plan. But don’t forget to connect the dots regarding how you are going to reach your goals.
This is why your sales and marketing plan is important. Outline a step-by-step plan regarding the specific actions you are going to take to help achieve and exceed your goals.
5. Get a second set of eyes
Once you’ve got your business plan to a final draft stage, now is the time to enlist someone you trust and who will also provide sound, constructive feedback. And don’t just get feedback from someone who always supports you. You want someone who will help you identify both the strengths and weaknesses in your plan. So choose that second (and third!) pair of eyes wisely.
Writing a business plan is something you can definitely do on your own. However, for an extra leg up or to leverage someone else’s expertise consider hiring a business plan writer to help you put together an effective business plan.