What About Me?

Business Plan Tips

Put It In Writing

A thoughtful, convincing business plan is key to any funding search, stress Dee Power and Brian Hill, coauthors of The Quest For Capital: A Financing Guide For Entrepreneurs (Javelina House, $26.95, www.capital-connection.com). Power and Hill offer the following tips for preparing a professional business plan:

Smaller bites are more digestible. Start with an outline. Break the large task into smaller components or sections and the task will not seem as daunting. A business plan can be viewed simply as the answers to a series of questions.

Competition counts. Every product and company has competitors. Systematically gather information on your competitors so that you can make a credible case for why your product or service will be better.

Marketing matters. Hone your market research and analysis skills. Define your customers and how you are going to reach them.

Keep it exciting. Put together a clear, concise, realistic business plan that gets the reader excited about the opportunity your company presents. The plan must cover not only what you are going to do, but also how you are going to do it.

Proof and proof again. Have experienced business-people read and critique your plan, testing it for clarity and reasonableness. Never send out a first draft. When you're certain it's perfect, proofread it again.

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This article was originally published in the June 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: What About Me?.

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