Use these pointers as a guide to assist you take full advantage of your time when making a business plan.
The other day I answered an e-mail from a female who wanted to know very well what to add as a "fulfillment and delivery" category in a business arrange for a gym. Her problem was that she didn’t observe how that general topic–fulfillment and delivery–applied to a gym business.
I gave her two specific answers compared to that question:
- Don’t include it. It generally does not connect with your business. Delete that topic from the outline you’re focusing on and go from there.
- Fulfillment of something in a gym business is approximately: hours that it is open; equipment; services like massage, physical therapy and fitness; locker rooms; laundry and other facilities.
I love the first answer better, frankly, since it helps debunk the myth of a typical business plan outline. That’s particularly sensitive if you ask me due to my involvement with Palo Alto Software, that i founded, and Business Plan Pro, that i actively support. I’ve stated before that the most frequent mistake created by business plan software users is accepting the typical outline and its own content as a rigid checklist.
Whatever business plan outline, tool or format you start with–Business Plan Pro, Microsoft Office, a book, magazine article, website recommendation or whatever–is likely to be more beneficial to you if it’s named an instrument, a guideline and a couple of recommendations rather than checklist.
Every business and every part of its history is exclusive, so an excellent business plan also needs to be unique. It matches what your business needs, not what the typical says.
For instance, take the management summary that’s more often than not contained in the standard business plan outline and business plan contents. It describes your management team including key members, their functions, their professional backgrounds and their accomplishments.
However standard as that little bit of the plan may seem, it’s completely irrelevant. Whilst every company should manage itself and steer its growth with planning, don’t assume all company requires a formal business plan document with a carefully prescribed outline and a complete set of standard contents. If you are running a business it doesn’t have to find investors or borrow funds from a bank, you then probably won’t need to describe yourself (that’s, your management team) to yourself, in order that chapter is a waste of time. And whether it’s a waste of time, don’t include it.
I could cite a whole lot of other examples, but I’ll accept two more. First, although most standard outlines add a company summary with history and ownership and such, that’s silly when the program is for your internal management and growth, not for outside readers. Second, although most standard outlines don’t are the exit strategy, a business arrange for investors will need an exit strategy because without it investors aren’t interested.
I’ve handled this myth a whole lot in my own 20-plus years mixed up in business plan software industry. People believe that business plan software imposes a typical outline or standard content–because a whole lot of bad business plan software does. Nonetheless it shouldn’t. Good business plan software suggests an overview plus some standard contents, then fades in to the background and enables you to decide.
Actually, if there’s one most common error in the usage of business plan software, it’s using the typical default outline without considering what does and doesn’t connect with your business.