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.

htwb-business-plan
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

English business jargon and slang terms QUIZ – the answers!

At last, the long-awaited answers to Tuesday’s business jargon and slang quiz
Answers to business quiz

1.BHAGs

a) Business Hiring Among Graduates
b) Big Hairy Audacious Goals
c) British Hiring And Grading

B) – BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals): no doubt pronounced, as an acronym, as “bee-hags!” This is a term used to describe a goal or objective in business that is very ambitious and will make the business concerned really stretch itself, but is a goal that will inspire everyone to work hard to achieve it.

2.Bust someone’s chops

[Read more…]

Quiz: can you define all 25 of these business jargon and slang terms?

A quiz for you this week! Do you know what these 25 terms mean? Bet you don’t get them all right! Select the option you believe is correct…

These are taken from my forthcoming book, English Business Jargon & Slang, to be published in 2018 by Business Expert Press who have also published the US version of another of my books, How To Write Brilliant Business Blogs.

Business jargon and slang - quiz for you

Business jargon and slang in English … a whole new language?

Anyway, enough promotion already – let’s have some fun with the following…

Which terms can you define correctly? (Answers Friday)

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Local and small business advertisers: why you shouldn’t ask why not

How to write better DIY advertising copy … Why not read this great article of mine? “Because I don’t want to, that’s why not.”

Often in local and small business advertising you’ll see a sentence – usually as part of the call to action – that asks “why not (try this, drop in, call for our brochure, look up our website, etc.)”

Why WHY NOT? can detract from your advertising message

You need to show that you’re 100 percent positive about what you’re selling: “why not?” can introduce an element of doubt.

Although it may seem like a polite invitation, that’s the problem: it’s too polite. [Read more…]

Business jargon and slang all the way to ZZZZ

The final part in our series on English business jargon and slang … although this is still a work in progress and is likely to be for years as more and more jargon and slang terms are devised in our business world!
Series on business jargon and slang
Under the weather: to feel under the weather means to feel unwell without any specific symptoms, or sometimes when you know what’s wrong with you but don’t want to share it with everyone else! Its origins are a little unclear, but generally seem to connect to sailors working on ships in rough seas where if they weren’t well, would be sent to the lower decks of the ship so that they were “under the weather,” so presumably they were less likely to be made sick by the rolling of the ship. There is also a theory that says the full phrase was “under the weather bow,” which is almost the opposite of the previous nautical connection: the weather bow is the part of the ship which moves and plunges the most, and if you’re under it you are like to feel unwell. All from the 20th century, though. [Read more…]

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