For Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Growth Businessess Developing a Business Plan to Guide Growth and Secure Venture Funding

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Jon Hunt is the Lead Consultant for The Business Plan Team which works with growing businesses, entrepreneurs & start-ups that need help developing a professional business plan to secure funding and guide internal management. It has developed business plans for a wide range of businesses and corporate clients looking to raise funding of between £250,000 and £200million in many different industry sectors including Social Media, Retail, Construction, Mining, Renewable Energy, Technology, Healthcare, Interior Design, Sport & Leisure, Investment Banking, Wealth Management and Trading. Testimonials from these clients illustrate the high levels of service TBPT provides.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Why is now a good time to do your business plan ?

Of course every business varies according to the need for a business plan, but for many start-ups or existing businesses looking to raise funds the summer months provides an opportunity to prepare. Why is the holiday season a good time for preparation ? Well, for many businesses the summer period means a tail off in business activity and the taking of annual leave.

For prospective start-ups this provides the opportunity to bring your ideas together outside the pressure of your existing work environment - step back from the day to day grind and plan your way ahead. We have many people coming to us who, under pressure of work, need help in putting a plan together. This is a chance to consider, evaluate and assess the feasibility of your ideas.

For existing businesses this time is also valuable to review an existing business plan, measure progress against it and examine potential future strategies. So often, this is difficult in the heat of "doing business" - take a little time now to gain perspective and re-orientate.

But perhaps the most important reason for developing your plan now is timing. For businesses looking to raise funds this is a quiet time of year. Many potential investors are enjoying the fruits of their labours abroad and are taking time out from reviewing investment opportunities. This applies as much to investor networks, VC funds as well as individual High Net Worth (HNW) investors. In my experience the investment community slows to a crawl before coming to life again in mid September and October.

So, whether you are a start-up or existing business, now is the ideal time to get your business plan and pitch documents together, re-work the presentations and get everything ready for the Autumn.

Good Luck !

Jon Hunt
The Business Plan Team

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

How long and detailed should my business plan be ?

We often get asked by clients "how long" and "what level of detail" is required in a business plan. We generally give advice based on a number of factors including the target audience and the amount of funds being raised, but there are some equally important factors that you should consider.

In terms of length and detail there can be a significant difference between a SME business plan that seeks to raise £10,000 and a corporate business plan looking to raise £100m. The extent to which you need to provide detail on market and competitor research for a £100m plan may require a feasibility study that references current research that can in itself be costly. For a smaller business plan this level of detail, for example on competitor financial performance or data on your local market, simply may not be available in the public domain. Even if it were, the cost of procuring it may well outweigh the benefit that this analysis would bring. Remember, the main process of providing information is to reduce the risk profile of the investment.

But even the most detailed information on its own is not sufficient. In providing business plan services we come across many entrepreneurs who have invested considerable time and energy in developing the detail in the business plan, However, in many cases this adds up to little more than a collection of facts. Whatever level of funding you are seeking to start-up or expand your business, the business case for investment (either from a debt or equity perspective) needs to be made clearly. In other words, the argument for the business case is as important as the level of detail provided to support the business plan and needs to be made clearly in simple logical steps.

As important as the argument and detail is to provide a plan that acknowledges the interests of your target audience. Whether approaching angel investors, VCs or a bank, you need to show an appreciation for their investment or debt strategies and provide as much relevant information as possible to enable them to make a decision in your favour. Remember, these people get many plans across their desk on a daily basis. If they see one that simply lacks enough information to assess whether it has potential or not in terms of their own investment strategies the chances are that they will put it to one side where it will gather dust.

Finally, be concise. Irrespective of length and detail the reader should be able to grasp the key aspects of your business plan within 10 minutes . Only then are they likely to drill down into more detail.

Be concise, develop a sound argument and provide relevant supporting data. If only it was as easy as it sounds !

Jon Hunt
The Business Plan Team
Business Plan Services