Wednesday, February 01, 2012

When SHOULDN’T You Use a Sample Business Plan?

If you thought that a sample business plan can help you in EVERY instance where business plan writing is required, you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t.  There are certain situations where using a sample plan won’t give you the best results.  Here are a few of those.

If the Investor You Are Approaching, Has Specific Requirements

Often, investors will have a specific format or list of requirements that you need to fulfil when submitting a plan. If you veer off that list of requirements when you submit your plan, you run the risk of irritating the investor, and that’s the last thing you want to do.

If you’re considering submitting a plan to any specific investor or VC company, you want to make sure that you follow their requirements to the letter.  Which means that even if you think your awesome idea requires fifty pages to fully be explained, if they want ten, you’re going to need to whittle it down!

If Your Business Is Completely New and Unique

If your business idea is so new, and so cutting edge, that it’s never been done before, then you probably won’t find a sample business plan that matches it.  You may, however, find one that’s similar, or you could use a combination of a few sample business plans for complimentary industries to mix and match the sections you need for your own plan.

Always remember that a sample business plan is a guideline – and that you can use more than one to get all the sections you need for a particular business type.  You don’t have to follow them religiously, and you don’t need to use only one.

If You Don’t Have An Idea Yet

A sample business plan can do many things – but it cannot give you good ideas! Don’t start looking for sample business plans, books on business planning, business plan templates or anything else until you have a solid idea.  For one thing, you won’t be able to find the right sample, and for another, it’s impossible to do the amount of research necessary to craft a decent plan if you have no idea what you’ll be doing!

If you’re still looking for ideas, you’d do better to look on business forums on the internet, or even take a drive around your neighbourhood, to see what’s missing.

If You Don’t Feel Comfortable Creating Your Own Plan

If you’re sure you can’t create your own business plan, either because you can’t write, or you just don’t think you have the skill, then a sample business plan alone probably isn’t the solution.

Consider business planning software, hiring a freelancer, or a business planning template instead. All of those options will give you a little more help, and help to ensure that the final product is what you want.

Plenty of Business Plan Help and Tools

The good news is that there are plenty of business planning tools, tips and professionals out there, and no matter what your idea or your budget, you should be able to find something that will help you create the plan that will kick-start your business.

Treat it as a process, start small and work at it steadily, and by the time you are finished, you should have a business plan that will open doors for you!