The Right Business Plan

When writing your business plan, you must be clear about your intention for the plan and the audience for the plan. Not every plan is for everyone. By not taking the time to know who your audience is, you set yourself up for failure in your quest for funding or whatever else you have intended for your plan to accomplish.

There are 4 plans that address different agendas for the business owner or entrepreneur:

1. Concept Plan

2. Owner’s Manual

3. Lender’s Plan

4. Investor’s Plan

Let’s look at each one:

1. Concept Plan: This plan is a general overview of your business or potential idea for a business. I like to call it “the Blueprint” or “The Model”. The Concept Plan should answer two basic questions: 1) What does your business do?, and 2) How does your business make money?

2. Owner’s Manual: This type of plan deals with the operations of the business. Just like a car or appliance, your business should have an “owner’s manual”. If you look at franchises such as McDonald’s, SUBWAY or Wendy’s, each has a manual on how to operate the system. Your manual should be written in such a way that anyone who can read a STOP sign should be able to read and follow the directions of the manual and produce a consistently pleasant (or pleasantly consistent) result.

3. Lender’s Plan: This plan is designed for anyone seeking to borrow money to launch or expand a bank, be it a bank, credit union, microlender or the Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov). A lender is looking to make the best decision in lending by “hedging bets”. A lender will not only look at the financial statements, but also look at the 4 C’s (character, capacity, capital, collateral) of a candidate’s credit.

4. Investor’s Plan: This plan is for the angel investor or venture capitalist (VC). The emphasis of the angel or VC is to find out not only how much equity will be received in the deal, but also factor the ROI. ROI stands for “return on investment” and “return of investment”. The return ON investment tells the investor how much s/he stands to make. The return OF investment tells the investor how quickly s/he can recoup the initial seed capital.

This article gives you the basics of how to sharpen your plan and write it with the target audience in mind. I recommend you seek out someone in your target audience to give you guidance in writing the business plan and understand what the target audience wants. This one thing can help you increase your chances of success in achieving your goal(s) for the business plan.

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