Marketing Your Ideas
Marketing is all around us. We're constantly being pitched to as consumers, yet we also market our products, our ideas, and ourselves personally and professionally.
With this in mind, you don't want to make the mistake as a budding business owner of failing to sell your start-up effectively. The all-important business plan - along with your executive summary and financing pitch - are the ultimate in marketing tools. Your focus should be to market your business well in order to gain the acceptance and participation of investors, gain more favorable financing terms, gain committed and excited customers and much more. Your one shot at success hinges almost completely on getting the business plan right from the get-go.
The Keys to Success
Coming up with the right business plan requires three very crucial keys to success. The first of these is to be brief. You'll want to provide a simple explanation as to why your business is a phenomenal idea and explain how you plan to execute your concept. You'll want to go for approximately 20 to 30 pages in length. This will include the three to five pages for the executive summary. You will only want to include relevant information that will support the claims made in the plan. Few investors will read the plan in its entirety, so you'll want to stand out from early on. The goal of your business plan is for you to explain the business that you want to build as well as detailing your execution plan for the company. You also want to make your company appear to be compelling. A compelling opportunity is more likely to receive financing on more favorable terms.
You will also want a trusted third party to look over your business plan to ensure that it addresses any possible concerns that a potential investor may have. If your plan is incomplete or lacking in any specific necessary details, you will appear as though you haven't entirely thought out your business. The last impression that you will want to make is that of a fly-by-night company or one that is incompetent from the very beginning. You want your plan to exude confidence and competency in order to gain the trust of anyone reading your business plan.
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Now that you're ready to create a great business plan, you'll want to leverage your plan by using the content later for sales presentations, marketing collateral, pitches, and content for your website.
You will want to stay away from the fill-in-the-blank business plans that are normally sold as a package of forms. This will make you appear to be inexperienced at first impression. You want to be creative and original, showing your company's value and showing the market that you are going after. You must remember to explain any barriers to entry as well in realistic terms.
Don't forget about your financial model. You will want to make it flexible and allow it to showcase the what-if scenarios. Potentially, investors could reduce your first-year revenue projections, so you will want your financial model to be interactive so that you can find out the results from any changes suggested by plugging in various numbers.
Don't forget that this is such a huge, critical step for your business that will inevitably carry a significant amount of weight as to whether or not you are able secure what you need to get your business off of the ground. Don't take shortcuts. Plan for any potential setbacks by working flexibility into the equation. While it's not something that you would likely categorize as a fun activity, keep your focus on the excitement of what your business plan can provide for you and your start-up while you are entrenched in the process.