Writing a business plan is often the very first step for most entrepreneurs as they formalize their company. The plan generally includes vital information about the growth of the business, as well as data used to attract lenders and investors. It is important to remember that there will be a variety of readers poring over your plan — bankers, customers and partners, among others — and so it is imperative that your business plan be tailored to provide your specific readers with relevant information. Here are a few of the most common individuals who will receive a plan from your company:
Venture capitalists: Imagine having to read hundreds of business plans every single day. Typically you would give each plan a cursory glance, looking for things that stand out from the crowd. Venture capitalists require succinct plans that get right to the point. The less "fluff material" in your plan, the better chance a VC flipping through it will be able to catch an impressive tidbit about your company and set your plan in the "yes" pile.
Bankers: Financial strength will be important for business plans going to bankers. You need the bank to fund your venture, and for that you need detailed information about finances. Make sure to explain any inconsistencies in the data.
Strategic partners: Before getting into a company partners will want to know what they will be doing, what authority will be given to them, and what part of the business they will own. Present a plan that clearly structures potential partnerships in terms of responsibilities and ownership.
Managers: Managers will be monitoring your company to ensure it is performing well. A business plan should give them information regarding your corporate mission, analysis of current market trends and indicate what growth you expect from the company. Let them know relevant information, such as when you will be incorporating your business, or who functions as your register agent service.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of over-customizing your business plan. Focus on your most important audiences and target your plan to them.