Writing A Business Plan East Lansing MI
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Writing A Business Plan
Writing a business plan can be pretty tedious. There s the cover, the table of contents, some 20 25 pages of content and the back cover. The innards are typically long paragraphs punctuated with bold font sprinkled hither and yon.
And it s all a big bore.
There s a reason for this. The how to write business plans books are classics. That means they are old. They were all written pre internet. And that s an important consideration in capturing and holding an audience.
The writing style of the internet has changed the way people think. And the way they read.
For instance, glance through this web site, or most any other successful web site, and you will see some real differences in style and layout, such as:
1. Short Paragraphs. Computer monitors don t have the tight resolution of a printed page, so our eyes get tired. To help us focus, good writers use shorter paragraphs.
2. Bulleted Lists. But sometimes there is still a great deal to be communicated, so bulleted lists have become quite popular (or indented lists).
3. Block Indents. Block indents give visual variety, so your eyes don t get so tired and I can hold your attention a bit longer.
4. Left Align. In the old days, nearly all paragraphs were indented five spaces. No more.
5. Judicious Use of Color. A bit of color is nice. Splashes of color all over is yucky.
6. Style that Reflects the Topic. Your business plan layout, like your web site, is going to pick up on the style of your business. A presentation for stylish clothes for teenage girls will look a lot different than one for biotech research. Other than that, your business plan layout is pretty much up to you. Make sure that all the pertinent parts are there, but put them in any order that makes sense for your business.
7. The Tiny Font Stuff. And when you ve got a glump of stuff that really needs to be included, but it is in tiny print and long paragraphs, put it as an attachment, either in hard copy form or on a disk, or both. That way, the information is still there for those who want it, but you wont lose your reader before you get started.
8. How to Use Your Logo. Incorporating your logo is important too. I very small logo in a corner of the page, or on the first page of each section is fine. A big, intrusive logo splashed over every page is not fine.
As straightforward as this advice seems, I am continually astounded by how poorly written most business plan area. Many follow the rather dorky outline of business plan software. Most haven’t a clue how to include a chart or an image.
My “Bad Example”: I have one business plan that I got a couple of years ago that I hold onto as a “bad example”. The business was actually pretty good. It was for an online business incorporating a particular ethnic style of art. The owner was from that ethnic group, so it was a nice fit. But the business plan was 100+ pages of tight, tight paragraphs. And not a single solitary image of the art. Not one. I just couldn’t believe it.
Just as an entrepreneur can’t plunk down three pages and shout, “Here I am! Drop your money in the bucket!”, neither can he expect a serious lender or investor to overlook a lousy business plan. This business plan represents you and your company.
Make it professional.
Make it real.
Make it reflect your energy and your style.
The money will follow.
MaryAnn Shank, founder of Business Plan Master ( http://www.businessplanmaster.com ) has helped literally thousands of entrepreneurs raise funding for their businesses, large and small. Her advice is grounded in two decades of experience, and carries a dash of irreverence.
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