All business plans should establish strategy, tactics, milestones, tasks, assumptions, and essential numbers (projected sales, direct costs, expenses, and cash flow). All business plans should develop accountability and tracking.
Moreover, business plans provide both a literal and proverbial roadmap to reach the personal and financial goals one has set out to achieve. Before writing your business plan, it`s best to spend a few days collecting information and creating financial estimates. Most of that time is spent explaining difficult questions and assumptions.
The most common mistake by far is on profits. Startups that grow don`t produce profits. Investors make money on valuation increases, not profits. Real businesses rarely produce more than single-digit profits. Big profit projections are sophomoric. Take all those profits and dump them into marketing expenses and you`ll be better off.
Because your executive summary is such a critical component of your business plan, you`ll want to make sure that it`s as clear and concise as possible. Cover the key highlights of your business, but don`t into too much detail. Ideally, your executive summary will be one to two pages at most, designed to be a quick read that sparks interest and makes your investors feel eager to hear more.
This can be as simple as having a mentor or partner review elements of your plan, or conducting market research and speaking directly to your potential customer base.
The pitch is a summary of the plan, organized according to highlights for investors, ideally a way to present your business in a structured way. The business plan is the bones of the pitch, like the screenplay, setting strategy, tactics, milestones, market, and essential numbers.