Turning a business plan into profit is the forte of Edward G. Rogoff, associate professor of management and a director at the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at the Zucklin School of Business at Baruch College in New York City. Rogoff recently spoke with Entrepreneur about Bankable Business Plans, his new book.
Your book teaches entrepreneurs how to secure financing with their business plans. Is this element often overlooked?
Edward G. Rogoff: Most of the material that's available doesn't focus on that. What is thisplan telling people about this business that will make them want to invest money? You develop the concept and you test its feasibility. Does it seem reasonable that this business would be profitable? Ultimately, the plan's going to get financing if it works for other people.
What should the business plan look like in terms of its presentation?
Rogoff: It has to be very clear from the table of contents, the executive summary [and] the way the financials are prepared that you're addressing the needs of the reader. I think the ones that look like they were generated by a computer or a template are generally an immediate turnoff. A business plan is the entrepreneur's story. And because the entrepreneur is unique, even if the business is not unique, the plan has to be.
How can entrepreneurs avoid being overwhelmed when writing their business plans?
Rogoff: They have to realize it's a process, and it involves thinking, testing ideas and stewing over things for a while. Accept the fact that it's going to take some time.