Search Results for: business plan

How to write a better business plan: 10 Quick Tips

There comes a time when most people starting or developing a business, even a small one, need to write a business plan to secure funding, to establish credibility with stakeholders, to guide the business along its journey, and more.

My own experience here is limited (although I often get asked to help clients write the marketing section for their plan) so here is a short curation of authoritative (free to view) pieces on how to do it properly … and get that beloved bank loan, kudos and structure that you need. [Read more…]

How to write a business plan

By Jeremy Dent

Several readers have asked me to do something about writing business plans, but this is not my area of expertise. So I asked my friend and digital marcoms mentor, Jeremy Dent, to share his advice with us. Here it is – I think it’s brilliant!

There are many contexts to writing a business plan but, in a post like this, I need to generalise: do not write a plan at all. Write a pitch…first. You should still write a business plan. Just do it from the inspiration you find in your pitch.

A business plan is the elaboration of a pitch; a pitch is not the distillation of business plan. Why? Because a pitch is short enough to encapsulate and express your creativity and enthusiasm and it’s much easier to revise a pitch than a plan.

A pitch is also your story – the ‘why’ of the enterprise. Why you, at this point in your life, have conceived this product or service and why customers will want to buy at the price level you are considering. It should involve your mojo – something you are passionate about and will bring something uniquely different to the marketplace.

Another meaning of the word ‘mojo’ is self-confidence: it also means a strong sense of purpose and a clear identity of who you are and what you, and your enterprise, stand for, not just ‘what’ you are proposing to do. This inner confidence and certainty helps leaders to win hearts and minds, sales people to get prospects excited about their product or service and companies to build loyalty and brand value.

A pitch is the language of your mojo and your creative side; the plan is the nitty gritty details that are best tackled by your analytical persona. You should be able, at the drop of a hat, to stand up and speak about your idea for two, ten or 30 minutes. This is your ‘pitch’.

Give the pitch a few times to friends and colleagues, get honest feedback, see what works and what doesn’t, change it and only then write the plan. Think of your pitch as your outline, and your plan as the full text.

You may not necessarily need to pitch to investors, your bank or even other stakeholders but you do need to pitch to yourself; convince yourself that what you are about to risk – cash, time, energy – are not only worth it but worth giving up alternative courses of action.

Most venture capitalists use gut feel to lead a decision during a pitch: receiving (and possibly even reading!) the full business plan is more about due diligence.

A more relevant and important reason to write a business plan, whether you are raising money or not, is to force yourself to crystallise the objectives (what), strategies (how), and tactics (when, where, who).

Here’s an example of what should be in both your pitch and plan, not necessarily as formally listed as this, but these points should be covered: Executive Summary, Problem, Solution, Business Model, Underlying Magic, Competitors, Marketing and Sales, Team, Projections, Timeline and Conclusions.

Finally, don’t treat a plan as inflexible: it should change to meet circumstances. “Write deliberately, act emergently”, a Clayton Christensen epithet, means that when you write your plan, you act as if you know exactly what you’re going to do. You are deliberate. You may turn out to be wrong but you gave it your best shot.

However, writing deliberately doesn’t mean that you adhere to the plan in the face of new information and new opportunities. As you execute the plan, you act emergently – that is, you are flexible and fast moving, changing as you learn more and more about the marketplace. The plan, after all, should not take on a life of its own.

Jeremy Dent has a self-employed, portfolio existence, acting as a digital marketing communications mentor, leader and supplier under the brand Digital Supremo. He also works part-time as an Emergency Medical Technician for a private ambulance provider to the NHS and private customers. Find him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

How to write more essential words for your business:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

Now for some SSSSSuccesses in English business jargon and slang…

If you spill the beans, you’d better shake a leg and sink or swim if you don’t want to go stir crazy … more fascinating origins of business and other jargon and slang in the crazy language called “English…”

English business jargon and slang, letter S

Are you as Stubborn as a mule?

Screwed, screwed up: often used as a metaphor for being damaged, or when something has happened to cause failure, e.g. “the sale of the company screwed up the engineers’ plans to create a new model of the motor.” We must assume that the term (which is officially classed as slang!) originates from the nature and usage of a screw, which is tightened by turning it around on its thread until it has fastened something. There are various other slang terms that use the word “screw,” and most of them are vulgarisms connected with action of “screwing” which, of course, also can be used as a euphemism for the sex act. However there are more innocent usages of the word, e.g. “to screw up a sheet of paper” meaning to crumple it up in your hand ready to throw away.

See eye-to-eye: this term has its origins in the Christian Bible, and its meaning hasn’t changed in the meantime… [Read more…]

N O – or rather, yes! English business jargon starting with N and O

Are you the sort of person who would take a “no brainer” “on a go forward basis?” Or would you “nuke” the idea and say “not on my watch?” More business and general English jargon, this time from N to O.

More English business jargon demystified on HTWB - this time from N to O

It’s “not rocket science” to be “on the ball” if you wear an “old school tie…”

English business jargon starting with N to O

[Read more…]

J for jokes right through to M … English business jargon

Would you dare “let the cat out of the bag” or would you do better to “keep a stiff upper lip?” Or would you do some “key smashing” instead?

Business jargon by Suzan St Maur

Do you turn into a “junkyard dog” when a “johnny-come-lately” annoys you with some “jiggery-pokery?”

English business jargon from J to M

Jiggery-pokery: any slightly underhand or potentially suspicious, dishonest activity. A British term, this is said to be variant of the Scottish “joukery-pawkery” from the 19th century. [Read more…]

HI there, business jargon … explained from H to I

Would you dare subject your “head honcho” to a “haymaker,” or would you be “in a pickle” were you to do so? More English business jargon terms and their origins – this time starting with H and I.

English Business Jargon on HTWB

Do you “have money to burn,” but find that “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen?

Hard head: someone who probably is very good at what they do, but does not take criticism lightly, or someone who is stubborn (or both!) convinced that they are right no matter what. A 20th century term. Can also mean someone who has hard convictions about their area of expertise and has every justification for being so. Finally, can refer to someone who is “hard headed” and so does not allow emotional issues to interfere with their business or otherwise strategic decisions, but who ultimately has everyone’s best interests at heart.

Hasn’t batted an eyelid: given that people who are nervous or stressed are supposed to blink frequently, this term – popularized in 20th century English language markets – refers to someone who has not shown any sign of concern, agitation, worry, excitement or other emotion because they are not blinking more often than they would in relaxed circumstances. [Read more…]