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Writing a Persuasive Business Plan

Lisa Nichols 12-17

Writing a Persuasive Business PlanWriting a business plan can be a lot of hard work or it can be great fun; you have to choose which attitude you’ll take. An effective plan can either help your company grow, or a poor one can put you out of business. Not having a plan is like asking to fail before you even start.
 

Although not every business needs a 200 page bound business plan, every business does needs to have some idea of where they want to go and how they plan on getting there. There are a few key insights that will get your business where you want it to be.

Analysis

The first stage of any business plan is an analysis. Be sure to take a very objective look at a number of factors that can affect your business. There are many factors to consider but there are two major ones which are competition and your operating environment.

Competition

Every business has competition, even if your product or service is unique. People have choices to make. The most vital choice they have in most cases is whether they will buy from you, or buy from someone else. Stop for a moment and ask yourself what is my competition like and can I compare to them? The more you understand your competition the more you can develop your business strategy of being different and outperforming your competition.

Operating Environment

This is understanding what factors around your area of operation are likely to affect your business performance. This can include looking inside and outside of your neighborhood. While doing so, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How is the economy going?
  2. What is consumer confidence like?
  3. Where is technology heading in my industry?

After answering all the above questions decide how these can negatively or positively influence your performance.

Objectives

Your objectives are what you want to achieve in the period of time that your business plan covers. It is said that good objectives are SMART.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Targeted

An example of a SMART objective is “By the end of this year we will have increased sales of our product by 7.5% over the previous year.”

You can see how clear this objective is. It is much easier to achieve high performance with clear objectives.

Strategy

How are you going to reach you objectives? This is where your marketing plan often comes in as it helps describe the programs you will run to achieve your desired objectives. For example, your strategy may be to gain distribution for your product in one new major retail chain.

Resources

To make your strategy work you must provide appropriate resources. Certain things must be provided in order to reach your goal. This could be dollars, people, equipment, etc. Your plan must have included the resources you have available and why you believe this is suitable in achieving your goal.

Projections

Every business plans also has some projections. For example, are you expecting a profit or loss? How much?

Possibilities

Every business has possibilities, and they occur all the time. It is important that your business plan consider these possibilities in advance. One good way to do this is to ask the question What if?

  • What if a new competitor enters our market?
  • What if a distributor stops distributing our product?
  • What if interest rates rise?

Your analysis should give you some idea of likely possibilities. It saves a great deal of stress if you have some documented ideas for dealing with them before they become a big problem.

Writing a business plan is never perfect; the plan is on paper and you are operating in the real world. A good business plan can really guide you in the right direction. Take time to put real thought into preparing your plan!


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