5 Business Plan Writing Tips

By Ain CFE Staff

“As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it,” writes Antoine de Saint-Exupery. As an entrepreneur, having a business plan can help guide your thoughts and actions throughout the life of your venture. We held a workshop on January 31, devoted to writing a business plan. This daunting task can get the best of any entrepreneur, but facilitator David Mammano broke it down into manageable pieces.

This session was the first installment in the 2019 Mark Ain Business Model Workshops. These are held to help prepare students for our upcoming business plan competitions (though these informational events are open to anyone and everyone!). These workshops build on the more soft-skill-focused Foundry Forums held during the fall semester. Below are 5 key points highlighted from the event.

Clarify Your Vision and Define Your "Why"

Where do you draw your energy? What makes you unique? You can have a fantastic idea or product, but that doesn't equal immediate success. Use the business plan writing as an exercise to help define your vision for you as an entrepreneur and your venture. During the workshop, David Mammano also referenced Simon Sinek's famous TED Talk (which you can watch here: bit.ly/sinek-tedtalk). This video can help with inspiration and set you in the right direction!

Share Numbers, Financial Projections, and Statistics

Potential investors may read your business plan to gain familiarity with you and your idea. Provide them with some statistics and quantitative evidence to show that you have fully thought through your enterprise. Even if you are at an early stage, having some calculated projections can reassure backers that you have done your homework.

Introduce Your Team

You selected your people for a reason - share that in your plan! Whether you use this document to help secure funding or to attract new talent to your ranks, highlighting who you have standing beside you is fundamental to growing your venture.

Explain Your "How"

Do you have a well-conceived marketing plan? Fantastic sales representatives? A team of action-oriented folks who get things done? Anyone reading your business plan should have a clear idea of what you aim to do, as well as how you plan to do it. David suggests including your "sizzle" (what is exciting about your venture and what draws people in), as well as your "close" (how you actually achieve your goal).

Refine Your Ask

Chances are - if someone is reading your plan - you wish to engage them. Whether that is through financial backing, mentor support, or even just good word-of-mouth publicity, you need to be clear about what you want from this transaction. Additionally, it is important to note that your business plan is a living document and can change at any time. What you need in the early stages of development will not be the same as during the mature enterprise phase. Recognize what your venture needs and don't hesitate to ask!

If you have any questions about writing a business plan or gathering feedback for one you have already written, please contact the Ain Center at AinCFE@rochester.edu or meet with one of our Experts-in-ResidenceInterested in attending future Mark Ain Business Model workshops? Head over to our Events Calendar and register online!