And you don`t have to start with the full, detailed business plan that I`m going to describe here. In fact, it can be much easier to start with a simple, one-page business plan—what we call a Lean Plan—and then come back and build a slightly longer, more detailed business plan later.
The vision should include tangible goals such as profits and market share, but more importantly, it should focus on the intangible/unquantifiable long-term goals, such as your willingness to adapt, emerging business-trends, and an ever-present desire to `excel.`
Things like: Could you grow faster with more money? What are your headcount assumptions? How much are you spending on marketing expenses? What are you assuming for payments and collections lags?
If you say your management team is experienced and qualified to help the business succeed, you have to support that claim with resumes that demonstrate that experience. It`s easy to lose credibility – and investors – if you`re making claims you can`t fully support.
The investment decision is about the content – the team, the market, the differentiators, the scalability, traction so far, validators, growth potential – not the presentation or formatting of the plan.
There is value in doing an ample amount of preparation prior to creating a business plan: you construct creative solutions to complex problems. Make sure to take the time to do the job properly. Additionally, be sure to keep detailed notes on your sources of information and on the assumptions underlying your financial data.