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Writing your business roadmap

Writing your business plan will help you and your investors
By Entrepreneur Staff |

A business plan—on paper—keeps you on the right track and can attract potential investors along the way.

A business idea can be oh-so-brilliant that you could think that a business plan is unnecessary in order to set up the actual business. You must start it right away. If you are a compulsive entrepreneur and does not mind losing your business in less than two years, then feel free to do just that. Writing a business plan can be a daunting task for some, but no one else is excused from going through the process except non-entrepreneurs.

Just by sitting down and seeing your ideas in black and white can do wonders to your business: it shows you areas that are well covered and those that have lapses, it helps you realize how you fare against the competition, pushing you to think of creative strategies to outperform them, and if and when these efforts could be translated into profits.

A business plan is the product of an objective and critical evaluation of what you intend to do with your business. It results from constantly challenging your brainchild, and to a certain point, falling out of love with it, if you were to meet certain goals and targets. It can also serve as a tool for troubleshooting when a strategy just did not work out, or as a warning to a probable financial demise. If the business plan is well researched and professionally presented, it could also be your way to done deals with investors who believe in your business and its viability.

More than anything, a business plan is a potent measure of your understanding of the business concept and your foresight as to where you can lead the business. Even if you are not looking for investors, the descriptions, charts and financial statements in the business plan can remind you that you should not leave any aspect of your business to chance and a few adjustments here and there could lead you to success.

The length and extent of a business plan usually depends on the size of the enterprise. A 20-page business plan is the norm for micro and small businesses, while medium to large companies can have as much as 100 pages. Nevertheless, every such document must contain key elements for a complete understanding of the business. The plan can be divided into four major sections—described here as Overview, The Marketplace, Game Plan and Money Trail—including the basic parts under each.

Remember to include a cover page with the company’s logo, contact information, and the purpose of the business plan, and a table of contents enumerating its sections.

This article was originally issued in the September 2010 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.


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