Drawing up a business plan is the first step to getting the ball rolling when you want to start a business. Not only is this vital for raising capital, but also for the proper execution of your business strategy. Once you have a business idea, turning it into reality requires a documented plan which can be presented to potential investors and other financiers such as banks.

The way you present the business plan is more than just about correct spelling and grammar. The information it contains needs to be realistic and well founded. It should encourage whoever is reading it to believe the idea will turn into a successful business.

When writing the business plan, double-check the following:

1. Have you made it evident that you have what it takes to run this type of business?

This can be substantiated by showing experience in the industry, or indicating support from someone with experience running a similar business. Also, if you have had a hobby you are good at, such as cooking and want to start a catering business, mentioning this in the business plan could be to your advantage. This reflects an inherent love for the industry and its activities.

2. Can you ensure harmony between the plan and unforeseen possibilities once the business is running?

If you want to open a hair salon for instance, have you decided what your maximum capacity to serve customers quickly will be? Being able to forecast problems and having a plan in case they occur will show you are well prepared and so, less likely to fail because of unforeseen eventualities.

3. Why should customers choose your business?

Knowing the answer to this is likely to be the key to your business’ success. If you can offer a unique selling proposition (USP), you have won half the battle. At the same time, compare your new business plan with your competitors and make your advantage eviden

4. Do the numbers make sense?

Though being optimistic might be a trait every entrepreneur should have, when it comes to sales projections, it is important to be realistic, or even highly conservative.

When putting together your business plan, make sure it is realistic.

This will make it easier to get support, even from sceptics. In addition, it will give you a better chance of being successful in the long run. Being realistic ultimately means that while you always hope for the best you’re also prepared for the worst.

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