Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections.
Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.
[Back to top] Now that you’ve written your business plan, here are some tips to help your hard work stand out: Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well.
Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.
To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. A strong, detailed plan provides a clear road map for the future, forces you to think through the validity of a business idea, and can give you much greater understanding of your business’s financials and the competition. It spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.
A business plan typically looks out over three to five years, detailing all of your goals and how you plan to achieve them. If you’re looking for outside funding, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets.Focus on the key elements of your business plan and avoid getting too bogged down by the technical aspects of your business or using too much industry jargon.You can always put supporting information or other important details in the appendix.But you should also address the various risk factors of the business, Allen says.“The loan officer is definitely going to want to know that you’ve thought through all of the potential risks and that you’ve mitigated those risks in some way,” he says.[Back to top] List any supporting information or other additional information that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts, and personal and business credit history.If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made.If writing and editing aren’t your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.“I always feel like if the person can’t even bother to proofread something that they wrote, how detail-oriented is this person in running their business? Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers, which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance.