Serious about writing business plans

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If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Map your road to success.... get great insight on what constitutes and effective business plan. Learn how to develop a strategic business plan that is guaranteed to get the attention of potential investors, business partners and other stakeholders. http://www.business-plan.co.za

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Serious about writing business plans

  1. 1. ==== ====Great insight on strategic business plan development and entrepreneurship. Access business plantemplates, business plan examples, business plan videos and much more.www.business-plan.co.za==== ====Tap these treasures of ideas. The best money you can spendis money invested in your business plan education. Dontshortchange yourself when it comes to investing in yourdream. Start gathering samples of business plans and collectbusiness plan books and get a business plan library started,it can change your future. Heres what your library needs toshow: that youre a serious student of business strategy andplanning, finance and economics, selling, and writing.Sample Business PlansStart by gathering sample business plans. Look at the annualreports and S-1s, S-4s, 10ks, or 10Qs filed with theSecurities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of companies inyour industry. See how they present their case, explaintheir business, and discuss their industry and competition.What exactly are these forms and how do you get them? Goodquestion.These are forms that public companies must file with the SECin order to register their securities or to maintain the registrationof previously registered securities with the SEC. You can findthese forms by going to http://www.sec.gov, clicking on the Edgardatabase, and searching for a public company in your industry.The key is to find the most helpful filings. These are the oneslabeled S-1, S-4, 10K, and 10Q. They usually containdescriptions of the business, its products, industry, competitorsand strategies. Sections that should sound familiar to you if youare planning to write a business plan.Go to these sections and read how the company presents theirbusiness and its products. Look at how they describe the industryand their competitors. I encourage you to read as many filings inyour industry as possible. See what the "big guys" are saying, theissues, challenges, and trends they see in the industry and howtheyre attacking them.
  2. 2. Be careful though about mimicking what they write. Many of thesedocuments are written in legalese despite the SECs protestationsand push for plain English. Just remember, youre doing thisexercise to see how other companies have built their case tobusiness investors.Another approach is to gather and read professionallywritten business plans of companies in your industry and usethem as guides to prepare your plan. Try to avoid genericbusiness plan templates. Theyre too general and often notworth the investment. Either way. Start filling yourbusiness plan library with business plans and registrationstatements. Keep them close by and refer to them often asyou write your business plan.StrategyNow, heres a good book to start your business plan librarywith. Its called: Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter.In this landmark book, Competitive Strategy, Porter showsyou how to identify the forces that drive competition inyour industry. Learn what moves your competitors are likelyto make within it. Competitive Strategy provides a frameworkfor evaluating the competitive alternatives you mustconsider and for thinking about how to change the rules ofthe marketplace in your favor. Competitive Strategy is thebible venture capitalist, investment bankers, and businessdevelopment executives use when analyzing an industry orbusiness venture. I use this book as the centerpiece of mybusiness plan library. So Im just asking you to take a lookat Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter. If it suits youfine, if it doesnt suit you, keep looking till you findsomething that helps you understand strategy.Opening your mind to strategic alternatives is a creativeprocess. You can never have too many books on strategy inyour business plan library. Read as much as you can to learnwhy some companies can sell their products more cheaply thanothers. Why others provide the best products...products thatare just far superior to their competition. And, why somecompanies just always seem to provide unmatched service.Fill your business plan library with business books thatinspire, challenge and answer these questions. Read. Read.Read. And, study too. Find out how some companies arereinventing competition in their markets and obtainingfunding while others are seemingly oblivious to the changing
  3. 3. world around them.Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema set out to find answers tothese types of questions in their book The Discipline ofMarket Leaders. Although the authors wont appreciate thiscomment, I found the underlying fundamentals in TheDiscipline of Market Leaders to closely parallel those laidout by Porter in Competitive Strategy. Perhaps thats why Ilike it so much. The difference, however, is that theypresent their material in a less academic, more engagingway. And, they provide excellent case studies that are sureto generate many ahas! The Discipline of Market Leaderswill make you think about what it is your company or newventure does better than anyone else; what unique value doyou provide to your customers? How will you continuallyincrease that value? If you cant easily answer thesequestions about your business, The Discipline of MarketLeaders is required reading and a must for your businessplan library. The business owners and entrepreneurs that cananswer these questions are not only raising the value bar intheir industries, theyre raising capital for theirbusinesses!Finance and EconomicsBe sure to keep your business plan library well balanced...Let me give you a sense of that balance. First is financeand economics. We all have got to have a sense of how tomake money...the universal laws of business success, nomatter whether you are selling fruit from a stand or runninga Fortune 500 company. Finance and economics are the basicbuilding blocks of business. Your business plan libraryneeds a few books on the numbers. When you understand thebasics of finance and economics its possible to bringing themost complex business down to the fundamentals. You becomeempowered to focus on the basics and make money from yourventure.Heres a good book to help you in this area: What the CEOWants You to Know by Ram Charan. What the CEO Wants You toKnow captures the basics of finance and economics andexplains in clear, simple language how to do what greatbusiness owners and entrepreneurs do instinctively andpersistently. Charan explains the basic building blocks ofbusiness and how to use them to figure out how your companycan, does, or will make money and operate as a totalbusiness. Learn how to use these building blocks to cut
  4. 4. through the clutter of day-to-day business and thecomplexity of the real world. What the CEO Wants You to Knowby Ram Charan. This little book is only a 137 pages: but Imtelling you, its so well written youll be as intrigued asI was. What the CEO Wants You to Know by Ram Charan. Get itfor your business plan library.WritingNext is writing. You have to be able to get your thoughtsdown on paper. Businessese, academese, legalese - all appeartoo often in business plans. Often preventing aknowledgeable writer with good intensions to fail at gettingthe message across to an intelligent, interested reader. Forsome reason, when people write business plans they arecompelled to write "commence" and "prior to" instead of"begin" and "before." If you want to write an effectivebusiness plan, your business plan library must have books onhow to be an effective writer.Start with Edward Baily; he wrote a surprisinglystraightforward book called The Plain English Approach toBusiness Writing. This book, The Plain English Approach toBusiness Writing, is about writing as you would talk, whichnot only makes your writing easier to read, its also makesit easier to write. In a brief, entertaining 124 pages Bailyclearly lays out the dos and donts of plan English,illustrating them with examples drawn from businessdocuments, technical manuals, trade publications, and theworks of writers like Russell Baker and John D. MacDonald.The Plain English Approach to Business Writing offerspractical advice on clarity, precision, organization,layout, and many other topics. Best of all, you can read itan hour...and use it for the rest of your life.But writing well is only a part of writing. A good businessplan must be persuasive. Listen carefully to what I justsaid: persuasive. Not misleading or untruthful, butpersuasive.Heres a book you need to look at Persuading on Paper. Howsthat for a title? Persuading on Paper by Marcia Yudkin.Yudkin is a writing consultant who coaches small-businessowners and professionals on improving their marketingmaterials. In a witty and vivid style, Persuading on Papershows you how to use the written word to convert strangersto prospects to paying customers (or in our case,investors). What I like about this book is that Yudkin takes
  5. 5. you step-by-step through the process of creating marketingmaterials that sell. Dont underestimate the power ofmarketing copy in your business plan. Youll be surprisedhow her methods and strategies can help create a morepowerful business plan. Persuading on Paper is a must-havefor anyone who wants to attract more clients, customers, orinvestors.Raising CapitalNext is an understanding of the process of obtainingcapital. No business plan library would be complete withouta book on the process of raising capital. Without capitalyour venture is destined for failure. You need to learn howto select the right venture capital firm, makepresentations, and negotiate your deal.Try this book: The Venture Capital Handbook by DavidGladstone. As an executive officer at Allied CapitalCorporation, a large publicly-owned, venture capital firm inthe United States, David has reviewed many proposals forventure capital financing. The Venture Capital Handbooktakes you through the entire process from presentationthrough negotiations, commitment letters, legal closings,due diligence, the exit by the venture capital company, towhen the entrepreneur is left to own it all. As a result,The Venture Capital Handbook provides anyone who wants tospend the time and money with an insight into what venturecapitalists really want. Prepare for the process of raisingventure capital with The Venture Capital Handbook.SellingFinally, study the art of selling. Like it or not, when youare trying to start a business venture or raise money foryour business you have to sell investors on why they shouldinvest with you. Its like a rite of passage. But fasttalking salesmanship wont raise the money you need for yourbusiness. You need an approach that respects the power ofthe investor...one that builds a relationship with investors.So, fill your business plan library with books on sellingand presenting.Heres a book to try: Socratic Selling by Kevin Daley withEmmett Wolfe. Socratic Selling as the title implies, usesthe Socratic Method: "A method of teaching or discussion, asused by Socrates, in which one asks a series of easilyanswered questions which inevitably lead the answerer to a
  6. 6. logical conclusion" (Websters Unabridged). Dalelysconcise, easy-to-follow chapters explain how to open a salesdialogue and go right to the heart of the matter. SocraticSelling is a fun and informative 162 pages for those of uswho believe selling means talking with, not at, investors.Study these techniques; they can make you more effectivewith potential investors.If you are serious about writing your business plan...show it.Start a business plan library that shows you are a seriousstudent of business plans. Fill it with business plans,public filings and annual reports of businesses in yourindustry. Stay away from those generic business plantemplates. They are too general. And, Read, read, read andstudy too about strategy, finance, economics, writing, selling,and how to raise capital. Spend the money. Buy the books. Thereward can be great...a funded business plan.Mike Elia is a chief financial officer and an advisor to venture capitalists and leverage buyoutspecialists. To learn more about writing business plans and raising capital or to tap into the worldslargest business plan library with over 900 industry specific business plans, visithttp://www.business-plan-secrets-revealed.com - Business Plan Secrets Revealed.Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Elia==== ====Great insight on strategic business plan development and entrepreneurship. Access business plantemplates, business plan examples, business plan videos and much more.www.business-plan.co.za==== ====

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