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The Importance of a Professional Business Plan

For professionals seeking funding, investments, and capital through business plan submittals.

You know your business.
You believe in its possibility or imminent success.
How do you convey that to others?

If you spend little time or no effort on your business plan, the investor or bank cannot take you seriously. Furthermore, we have seen even the best "billion dollar" companies and ideas fail to reach their funding goals because no one could understand what they are doing.  Their best efforts in planning and business writing went unnoticed, because they were strangers to the art of successful business plan writing, research, and presentation.

The Importance of Professionalism and Focus

Too many times, investment brokers, and lending institutions are faced with over zealous companies seeking funding before getting all of their ducks in a row. The principals in the firms seeking investors completely understood the vision and potential, but it was put on paper in the wrong manner:

 Ø         Too detailed and technical – a business plan needs to be comprehensive, but not too complicated and technical for an investor to understand. Put technical information in a separate document (white paper, patent information, etc.) for investors to consider.

 Ø         Too basic – many business plans only contain bits and pieces of information. They are put together in a matter of days instead of weeks. They usually contain a description of the business and minor financials, coupled with little or now market research. As a result, investors do not take them seriously.  If the investor has the money to invest, they will not give an unprofessional business plan a second look.

 Ø         Disorganized – you have an executive summary, marketing data, financials, technical specifications, product descriptions, and a website. But they are all separate components and do not tie together. They are all formatted differently and hard to navigate. You send ALL of this information to investors, which automatically conveys a haphazard effort in planning – a red flagto investors.

 Ø         Unwilling to outsource – In business, investors want to see that companies have enough knowledge to know that they can’t do it all. The ability to outsource components is key to most successful companies. If your firm prepares a substandard business plan in order to save a buck, that fact will be conveyed through your business planning efforts AND will shine a negative light on your entire business model. The investors end with this question: How can you be trusted with funding or capital if you do not know how to obtain help when you need it?

Therefore, you must show investors, lenders, and banks that you mean business. Show that you are professional, organized, and focused on doing what’s best for your business. Show that you are willing to outsource when necessary, and that you will not take on projects that are out of your realm of expertise.

The Purpose of a Professional Business Plan

Of course, there is a lot written about the purpose of a business plan. The obvious reasons are to adequately plan your venture in order to succeed. Furthermore, it is a necessary component for raising capital, funding, investment, loans, and grants.

 Ø       Grantors of funding want to know what you are doing, how you are doing, how much you can make, and what’s going on in your industry.

 Ø        When it comes to investors, they want to know what you are doing and how it will make money. How will they learn the key components? What will keep them engaged after picking up your documentation? If the venture is in the area of expertise of the investor, they will only be compelled by and impressive and detailed business plan.

Bottom Line:

IF you are serious about raising capital (thousands, millions, etc.), you need a professional business plan. Unless you or your firm can spend the weeks or months to prepare the business plan, and have the research, business writing, and financial analyst experience – it is best to outsource this key component to a professional consulting firm that focuses on business planning.

 Ø         Many accounting firms, law firms, and business-consulting firms have a business plan creation service. However, many of these companies do not have adequate experience working with investors. Therefore, they do not know how to create a compelling business plan that will get results.

 Ø         Custom Planning Solutions focuses on business planning and investment services. Our expertise lies in our ability to convey your idea and business in the best way possible; including industry analysis, marketing analysis, research, charts, graphs, images, financial projections, and much more (a comprehensive package).

If your business is important to you, and you want it to appeal to investors, make the investment and commitment to obtain a professional business plan. It offers the best chance of success and without it, your company is just another million (or billion) dollar idea.

This Business article was written by Renee Barnes on 3/22/2005