So where’s the money? Trust me, it is there. Mostly it is being held by tight fisted bankers. But here are some ideas for business plans that will help you put them on your side of the fence.
1. Double Duty Advertising
Advertising isn’t cheap. But it is probably pretty good. So include some of your ads in the business plan. The ads certainly show what your business does, and how you approach your clients, two very important considerations. Scatter them hither and yon to add visual interest.
2. Picture Yourself
Speaking of pictures, do include one of yourself, perhaps in a group with others. Yes, it creates a personal approach. It also makes you “real”. Including pictures of some of your top clients is a good idea too. Most business plan ideas incorporating work you have done previously is good.
The banker you presented your business plan to has indeed seen you. But s/he probably is not the decision maker. Make sure the decision maker sees you smile “cheese” too.
3. Beam Me Up, Scotty
Your entry into the world of the internet can indeed impress, and is one of our top business plan ideas. There is nothing else that will demonstrate your creativity and business acumen at such a low price. Take your site as far as you can. Turn it into a retail site, or a lead generation site, or an informational site. Structured properly, it will even begin to generate income for you.
Most businesses plan on having a website. And most postpone it for far too long. As long as you are going to do it anyway, get started now. Few other activities can so clearly demonstrate your energy and dedication.
Convert your business plan to a pdf. Put it on a disk, and put that disk in an envelope in your business plan. Be sure to add linking and chapter headings for easy searching. The more complex your plan, the more important this becomes. It makes it very easy for investors to find just the section they are looking for.
In fact, consider enclosing a copy or two as well, with the note that these can be forwarded to other interested parties. You just never know where they will end up.
5. Use Color, But Use It Sparingly.
For decades business plan were excruciating boring documents in black and white, mostly because color printing was expensive. Even back then we recommended buying one ream of paper with a color line down the left side and using that for the business plan. It was just enough to add a touch of zing to the presentation.
And it is that “touch of zing” that makes the difference. Bankers are quiet people. Don’t shout at them with blasts of color on every page.
6. All That Other Stuff
Taking care of all that backup information is a problem, the full financials, patents, agreements, leases, etc. We used to include a “supplemental book” with all the backup information in it. No more. Such a book is bulky, intimidating and easily misplaced. Rather, put that “other stuff” onto the disk with your pdf. Or, put the “other stuff” onto a protected, password accessed area of your business plan.
7. Drop Names
Do you have an Advisory Board? Did you approach industry leaders for advice? Now is the time to use those names and use those connections. The names may look nice in an annual report, but your company may never get an annual report if you don’t start using those connections now.
And here’s the most important of our ideas for business plans, a bonus:
8. Promote Yourself
Break every rule in the book if need be. But make sure that the business plan represents you and your business. Mess up the order of the sections. Put in non-standard material. Use an unusual design. It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, as long as the plan shows your company in its best light.
Now you’ve got eight solid ideas for business plans to get you on your way. As John Steinbeck said, ideas are like rabbits. You get a few, take care of them, and before you know it you have a whole bunch.
So go get your ideas, and create a smashing business plan!
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