Jeff Nock, CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC. Prescient, which is a management consulting company that helps fund early stage and mid-cap companies achieve their vision and growth goals.
By offering services that include C-Level mentoring, strategic planning, business planning, business model ideation/evolution, market analysis, competitive niche analysis, finance, business development, operational efficiencies, and brand evolution.
While all companies should have a strategic plan that connects to each individual’s role in the organization, companies should only invest time in a formal business plan when there is a specific demand for that business plan.
Such demand could come from potential investors, banking institutions, potential partners and potential acquirers.
Since the strategic plan provides the guidelines for the daily, quarterly, annual and three to the five-year direction of the company, much of the content in the strategic plan will also be of value for the business plan.
Jeff Nock understands that it is important to know your audience when writing a business plan. Before putting a lot of work in, ask the people who have requested the plan what they would like to receive.
In most cases, it is no longer necessary to write a 30-page business plan as it was many years ago.
In today’s world of bytes of information, it is important to be more concise. Often a 10 to 12-page plan will hit the mark. Highlight the following in one to two pages; Executive summary, company description, market analysis, competitive analysis, product/service description, marketing plan, sales plan, leadership overview, financial projections.
Write this section last. It summarizes, in one page, all the other sections of the plan. Make sure to emphasize the highlights as some readers will only read this section and the financials.
Describe your business model. What problem or opportunity is your company addressing? What is your value proposition? Who is your target market?
This section will show the reader that you thoroughly understand the industry you are planning to enter. Use data to show where the market has been and where it is going to be in the coming years.
The last thing a potential investor or partner wants to hear is that you think you have no competition. Every company has competition even if it is the status quo. Educate the reader on who the leaders are in the industry and why.
Now that you have described your competitors, describe in some detail your product or service and be specific about how you differentiate from the competition. Why are you better than the rest? If you aren’t, you won’t be able to compete against existing, entrenched companies.
Marketing is your “one to many” strategy for how to establish your brand and drive interest in your product or service. Describe how you will establish your brand in the market and how you will get potential customers to believe in your value proposition.
Sales are your “one to one” strategy for influencing potential customers to purchase your product or service. Describe how you will close prospects.
Often investors and partners go with a strong team of people even over a great idea for a product. Make sure to share who your leadership team is and why they are a great team. Jeff Nock understands a company’s culture can be a huge key to future success. Describe your company culture and why people want to work hard to make your company and themselves successful.
Share your revenue, expense and income forecast for the next year by month and for years two and three. Be pragmatic with these numbers.
You don’t want to be so conservative that the reader sees no potential in your company, but you don’t want to be so optimistic that you lose credibility with the reader.
Typically reviewers of business plans will cut revenue forecasts considerably.
When a business shares their business plan with an investor, vendor, client, or whomever they desire, they must be accountable for not only the successful outline of their initiatives but also their passion about the company.
The fervency of this passion is one of the most critical aspects of the business plan’s authenticity.