Courtesy of Palo Alto Software, Inc.
The best way to show bankers, venture capitalists, and angel investors that you are worthy of financial support is to show them a great business plan. Make sure that your plan is clear,
focused and realistic. Then show them that you have the tools, talent and team to make it happen. Your business plan is like your calling card, it will get you in the door where you'll have to convince investors and loan officers that you can put your plan into action.
Once you have raised the money to start or expand your business, your plan will serve as a road map for your business. It is not a static document that you write once and put away. You will reference it often, making sure you stay focused and on track, and meet milestones. It will change and develop as your business evolves.
Not everyone who starts and runs a business begins with a business plan, but it certainly helps to have one. If you are seeking funding from a venture capitalist, you will certainly need a comprehensive business plan that is well thought out and contains sound business reasoning.
If you are approaching a banker for a loan for a start-up business, your loan officer may suggest a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, which will require a business plan. If you have an existing business and are approaching a bank for capital to expand the business, they often will not require a business plan, but they may look more favorably on your application if you have one.
Reasons for writing a business plan include:
A business plan should prove that your business will generate enough revenue to cover your expenses and make a satisfactory return for bankers or investors.
Sitting down looking at a blank computer screen as you prepare to start your business plan can be daunting. You may want to look at some alternatives that will make the process a bit easier.
A good business planning software package will provide you with an outline for a well-developed, objective-based and professional business plan. Software packages will remove the problem of starting from scratch by structuring your plan for you. The software should ask you the right questions that will pull out the most important underlying concepts within your business idea. Find out more about the leading software package on the market, .
There are many good books on the market that will help you to understand what needs to go into a good business plan. You can read Tim Berry's newest book, "The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan".
Hire a Professional
A professional consultant will create the business plan for you, but you still have to be prepared to think through your business and understand the underlying concepts in your business idea. Ensure that this consultant has a business and management degree or maybe consider getting one yourself to help with your overall business knowledge.
Here are some of Palo Alto Software's business planning resources: