Top 5 Tips to Create an Effective Business Plan

1. Don’t use jargon.

Use plain language and get straight to the point. Write clearly, logically, and concisely. Use illustrations, charts, tables, and graphs only where necessary. The business plan should be professionally desktop published, packaged, and securely bound.

2. Do your homework.

Yes, that means research! Use secondary research first by accessing free resources (e.g. your local library or online databases at Small Business BC), then supplement your findings with primary research such as interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Become an expert about every aspect of your business: products and services, competitors, the demographic you are marketing to as well as the market conditions that will affect your business. The more you know about your industry, the better you can plan for success.

3. Don’t market to everybody.

Make sure you have a well-defined market that you know well. Know your customers. Who are they? Can you define them by age, buying habits, or any other criteria? What product/service do they want? How are they currently being serviced? By identifying your customers’ needs and meeting them more effectively than the competition, you will be able to find your niche within the marketplace.

4. Be realistic.

Sources of income and annual revenue should be explained and substantiated. Be honest. Make sure revenue forecasts and breakeven points are realistic.

5. Don’t forget about your business plan.

Once you have written your business plan, revisit it regularly. Your plan is a working document; use it to monitor your company’s progress, and revise it accordingly.

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