When asking anyone to help fund your start-up, you’ll at least need a business plan first. Here’s what it should include.
Have you reached that all-important — and often frightening — moment when you realize that your business needs more money to get to the next level? Whether you’re attempting to borrow a few thousand bucks from Mum and Dad or you want to ask total strangers to pony up several million, you’d better have your ducks in a row before you ask. In other words, you’d better have a business plan.
People have differing views about the import of business plans. I’ve even heard some venture capitalists say they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. Instead, they prefer just an executive summary. Nonetheless, being able to describe your business, the industry you operate in and the potential market for your company is downright vital. And you won’t generally address all of those aspects until you actually sit down and write up a plan. Here’s a checklist of the minimum information you should have in the plan, along with some nice-to-haves that will increase your chances of getting a “yes” to that dollar request.
An executive summary: This enables potential investors to quickly determine whether it’s worth their while to read your entire plan. Therefore put as much effort as you can into making it a strong pitch to keep reading.
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