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Writing a Business Plan? You’re Not on Your Own – There is Help!

Are you struggling to write a Business Plan or even find the motivation to be pick up a pen to even start? Many business people who must write a Business Plan, whether for internal planning or for their Bank Manager, fall at the first hurdle, and don’t produce a Plan because they haven’t the faintest clue where to start.

There is no excuse for this to happen. If you have never put a Business Plan together, you don’t have to struggle on your own because there is plenty of support out there to help you write a blockbuster of a Plan.

Here are some of the places or people you can seek assistance from.

Your Team

Don’t ignore the people who know as much about the business as you do – your staff. Enlist their help and use all the knowledge they possess. It’s usual to find that, in some cases, they have a more in-depth knowledge about specific areas of the business than you!

Bring together the key people in your business and explain to them what you are planning to do, and that you need their help in compiling a Business Plan. Allocate specific parts of the Plan to the people who have the right skills: sales and marketing to your sales and marketing people; production issues to your production team etc. Tell them that you need a complete overview of their contribution to the business; how their department works; how they interact with the rest of the business; their strengths and weaknesses.

In order that the process doesn’t drag on too long, give them a specific deadline by which their contribution has to be returned.

Don’t overlook the power of co-opting your staff in helping to complete your Plan. There is no better way to achieve “buy-in” to your vision and strategy than getting your team involved.


If you can afford it, you can ask for help from an accountant. He will have seen many Plans and so can provide some practical advice, particularly where Profit and Loss and Cash Flow forecasts are concerned. If you don’t feel comfortable with figures or you don’t have an accountant within your business, then it would be wise to seek help in compiling these figures, after all, the Bank is going to make some very important decisions based on these forecasts, so they have to be as accurate as possible.

However, don’t underestimate the benefits of doing the forecasts yourself. This exercise will give you a very good understanding of how your business works from a financial perspective; you’ll realise the importance of managing cash properly and the effect a rapidly increasing or decreasing turnover can have. In addition, because you did the figures yourself, it will give you the motivation to monitor your performance on a regular basis.

Once you have finished the forecasts, you can still ask your accountant to review them to ensure that you’re not totally mad! He can give you a formal ‘stamp of approval’ to include in your Business Plan, so listen to what he has to say.

If you don’t have an accountant, speak to other business people and get a recommendation from them as to whom to use. A recommendation can save you many hours of phone calls and interviews.

The Bank

You may think that the Bank would not wish to spend time talking through your idea, but don’t forget that they are on the look out for good business, so it’s in their interest to get in early before any other Bank does. If you are already one of their business customers, they should be happy to review your initial plans. The Bank’s aim is to build a relationship with you, and so they will be pleased to provide their thoughts on any expansion plans. The same applies if you are a customer who maintains an ordinary personal account and is looking to start up in business for the first time.

Getting the Bank involved early on means you can pick their brains and get their early views, before you make any irreversible decisions. You may think that this is a bit odd but being pointed in the right direction may save you time later. For example, by seeking their early thoughts, you may get the impression that the Bank is not keen on your idea so this could give you the clue that you may be better off placing your request with another Bank.

If this is your first time in business, or the first Plan you are writing, asking someone to go through the key issues with you will provide a number of tips and advice, which aren’t necessarily included in any Bank booklets or brochures. The advantage of this approach is it won’t cost you a penny and you are establishing an immediate relationship with the person who will be reviewing your Plan.

Business Colleagues, Local Chambers Of Commerce or Chambers of Trade

These are organisations comprising of local business people who get together on a regular basis to share ideas and experiences, hold seminars and trade fairs. You may think that people already in business, especially in the same line as you, would not want to help someone else start up in business or expand in case it damages their own firm. However, this is far from the case.

All entrepreneurs know what it’s like during the early days in business or the problems trying to grow an existing one. They will be more than willing to share their experiences and give some general advice. You’ll be surprised at how generous some business people can be.


There are numerous books on how to prepare Business Plans. Each of them has something different to add, so buy a few and pick up some of the key points.

Take a visit to your local library. As well as books on how to put a Plan together, they may have information relating to your line of business, which could be useful in gathering background facts to bring your Plan to life.

With these sources of advice there really is no excuse for you not getting down to writing that long overdue Business Plan!

Robert Warlow

Small Business Success

Write Your Business Plan, Angela! Actually, Write Two of Them

Angela had heard it so often that it sounded like a mantra: Write your business plan!

The business itself was not an issue. It was going to be a business featuring her handmade butterfly inspired caftans. Her creativity was inspired by the spectacular Monarch butterflies that settled in her home town every year. She had the colors and designs ready. Now she needed to open her business.

That was the first thing that stopped her. What kind of planning did she need to do before opening her business? What licenses did she need? What taxes would she have to pay? Who were her clients going to be? What kind of profit could she make? Where could she go to get information? She got dizzy thinking about it. She was an artist, not an entrepreneur!


So she sat down to write her business plan. She figured costs and taxes and leases and employees and advertising, working through a series of worksheets, step by step. She busted a few pencils, but never got near a computer. She even went to her local banks and met with two different bankers. And when she finished, she had an amazing discovery: she didn’t even want a real store to start out. She wanted to start out on the internet. She figured that the international potential of millions of customers, plus the low overhead of an internet business, made it a better option than opening her own brick and mortar store.

So that is exactly what she did. That was nearly two years ago, and she has done very nicely.


But now she is writing a second plan for her business. Now she needs to expand and hire seamstresses, probably contract workers. And so many people have asked if they could come by her store that she now needs a store/workshop. She is really looking forward to the store as a way of working directly with some of her clients.

But now she needs financing, so she is writing a new plan for her business.

Rightfully, Angela knew that the plan that she created for herself just will not do for bankers. The one she wrote for herself was very analytical, with lots of options explored and lots of worksheets. Now that her direction is in place, and a successful track record backs her up, the business plan she is writing is of a very different sort. This one is a sales presentation for the banker. She is even putting lots of photos of her designs.

Angela instinctively knows what many entrepreneurs struggle with: The business plan that you do for yourself is NOT the business plan that you can use for funding.


This sounds so very basic, but many entrepreneurs simply miss the mark. For example, in the business plan you do for yourself, you want to list out all the competitors that you might have, and compare your own business to theirs. Some of them, truthfully, might even be better than your company. But in a business plan for financing, the object is different. Here you acknowledge that there is competition, but the focus is on your business with your clientele base.

Or in your own business plan you may list that you have money in a credit card that you can pull if necessary. But bankers don’t want to hear about that: it is poor business to use your credit card to finance your business.

The two types of business plans are a different mind set, a totally different approach. One you pick right off the tree, and the other you wrap into a fresh hot tart.


So your first job is to answer the question: Why am I writing this business plan? Am I investigating a business, and looking for the best options? Or am I writing this for a banker/investor?

Once you’ve got the answer to that question, the rest falls into place.


Once you have your scribbles and notes, getting everything together for the formal plan is much easier. You know where to look, what information is valid and what is not, and you probably have a track record behind you that you can flaunt a bit.


Sometimes entrepreneurs will look for microloans, or approach Aunt Lizzie for a loan, or do any number of other things that need a more refined business plan. That is great. Just target the business plan to the intended audience, and you will hit all the right notes.

Get Help: Free Business Plan Software

Perhaps the most difficult part in any endeavour is the start-up phase. Indeed, this idea applies to any business venture. To reduce risk, a detailed plan must be prepared for proper guidance. This pre-opening strategy will help in defining goals and setting targets.A business plan contains information on company’s strategic actions, resources for financing and specific guidance in operations. Today, modern technology has offered variety of business plan software to serve individual business needs.

Free business plan software will help you create your plans easier by eliminating the tedious task of lay-outs and formats. The use of this systematize software will help you save time and resources. Step by step guidance is offered in many professional business plan software to avoid mistakes that are commonly committed in manual procedures. With its pre-formatted features, you can be assured of considerably low margin of error.

With built-in financial formulas, financial management will be stress-free. Instead of doing all the computation and dwelling with mathematics, you can just import your data and wait for the software to give out reports. Your need for statistical tables, graphs and charts will be conveniently catered since these are included in the software package. Various resources for industrial and business research are also available in detailed forms. So, you can get away with expensive research activities and outsourcing workforce to do the field-work.

An understandable and credible business plan will surely help attract prospective investors by giving them the exact information that they need. Business Plan software provides targeted internal and external investors avenue to effectively assess capital investment to find promising projects. Your software will surely be an effective funding tool to please venture capitalists.

Strategic planning will result to better and informed decisions. With advanced software features and tools, you can conveniently monitor your reports. In addition, you can efficiently track cash flows, evaluate variances and operating results. Variance analysis is also available so you can easily compare actual results versus company standards and take appropriate actions. With this feature, you can have better business management and efficient operating conditions.

When done with the planning, an awesome presentation is a must. The format, as part of the software package, will depend on the presentation style. For start-ups, common business plan presentation may include the so-called “elevator pitch” which serves as a teaser by introducing the executive summary. This style aims to stir up the interest of prospective investors, consumers or business partners. Some of the common presentation styles include slide shows with narrations and written presentation. With the use of business plan software, you can enter the presentation room with confidence. Presentation features will add professionalism to your plan. You will definitely impress your audience with an informative, complete and smart business plan.

Since a good plan dictates your venture’s future, you must choose the right business plan software for you. It’s high time to take your business to the next level and take a smart start for more promising rewards.