Creating a Basic Business Plan Profile
One of the worst things you can do when creating a business plan is to copy someone else’s business plan or use software that everyone else tends to use. The best way to create a business plan is to keep it simple and short. Your bank or credit union will not take the time to read a 200 page business plan or a fifty slide long PowerPoint presentation. I was personally told by a branch director at a popular bank that most of the business plans they receive look identical and are produced using the same software. So make sure it’s clean, simple and professional looking.
Have you ever watched the show “Shark Tank”? I have watched every episode and found a couple of things the participants all have in common.
If you have not watched the show, it is composed of four to five millionaires who are willing to invest in the business ventures of eager entrepreneurs who are ready to take their ideas to the next level. If your idea or business venture is good enough, the Sharks (Millionaire Angle investors) will team up and invest in the entrepreneur’s ideas or go ahead and invest solo against the other Shark’s recommendations. They often out bid each other and anger the other Sharks. The people who most often get the investment capital needed are the ones who have shown a proven track record (big or small).
The first thing the successful entrepreneurs have in common is a business plan. It is almost always cut and dry and/or simple business plans that make it to the next level. The people who don’t receive investors on the show are those who don’t have a clear business plan, in addition to those who come off as con artists. The next thing I noticed was the fact that most of the participants have already started their businesses and have proven track record of sales. Know this, If you want to receive further investments you have to show what you have done so far.
So let’s say you sell lemonade on the side of the highway. You are going to have to show the investors how many cups of lemonade you have sold per day and the total cost involved (labor, materials, and overhead). Next, you’re going to have to show how much traffic that particular intersection produces and how the investors’ money will help you reach more cars at said intersection. If your plan looks good then investors are going to want to invest in a personal stake (partnership) in the business. They will also want to know how they will receive their investment back (with interest) if they do not have a personal stake in the entrepreneur’s business.
To present this information, you’re going to need a basic business plan and possibly a simple PowerPoint presentation. Don’t worry about the PowerPoint side of your business plan right now. We are going to cover different types of presentation in later chapters.
I’m going to give you the essential question that you will need to get started on your basic business plan. After answering this question you will be able to run your idea across your family and friends. Make sure you type out the entire list in a word processor like Microsoft (MS) Word, MS Works, Apple Pages, Google Word Processors (free with a Gmail.com account) and/or Open Office (free from
The first thing we have to do is create a business profile. If your business is not too complex, once you have a business profile your plan is practically complete . Make sure your profile is no more than one page but no less than a paragraph. Some banks might ask for further information, but I think you will be ok if your credit history is in order and/or you have sufficient collateral or a cosigner.
Business Summary : Summarize your business. Make sure you keep it short and sweet.
Background: Make sure you incorporate your personal background or the background of your current business or project.
Service or Products: List your product and services.
Sales Strategy: What are you going to do differently to attract clients?
Market: What is your market and who else is in your market?
Management: Who will be on your management team? Make sure you tell all the positive things you can think of about your team including their education and/or personal skills.
Current Finances: Add what you have made so far.
Future projections: Make sure you show your projected earnings based on what yourself or others have made so far. Make sure to add at least five years of projections.
Dun and Bradstreet: Make sure you purchase a basic Dun and Bradstreet report so you can see what others have made in your field around the world. You will be able to show if your project will be lucrative based on the sales of similar businesses in your area. Go to www.dnb.com/BusinessLookup for more information.
Map Out the Competition: Show a Google map of all the businesses around you who do what you are doing.
Product: List exactly what you’re selling your customers.
More Evidence: List more evidence that your company will be successful. Summarize a conclusion of why.
How: How will you provide this service? Detail how you differ from your competition.
Your Value: What value are you going to provide that’s different than your competition?
Worth: How much is your company worth as of today.
Capital: How much capital do you have and who has invested so far? How much more will you need and for what?
Markup: How much can you mark up your product?
New Competition: How will you deal with new competition?
Success: List five things that will make your business successful other than receiving money from your investor.
Motivation: What is your motivation for creating your business or project? Please make sure this section is emotionally moving and at least one or two complete paragraphs long.
Note:Make sure you use nice paper and keep the graphics to a minimum. Only give the investors what they need to know in order to invest in you. Don’t try to show off your graphic arts degree or art skill and fill the business plan with unnecessary images.