Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, and Wales is leading the charge with a business birthrate higher than the UK national average. So when better than springtime, the time of new beginnings, to sow the seed of that idea you’ve always wanted to bring to life, or to nurture the growth of your existing venture?
Whether you are looking to start, develop or even buy a buiness, you’ll probably need funding, which means you’ll have given some thought to the financials. But here’s the big secret to securing finance- it’s not just about the numbers! That might be surprising thing for a firm of Chartered Management Accountants to say, but whilst no bank or investor is going to support you without a robust forecast, having a sound business plan is equally important. Banks back ventures when they feel confident in the proposition, and the business plan is what sells the story of were you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. Here are a few top tips to make compelling case:
Be Persuasive– The executive summary needs to capture investors’ imagination in less than a page, so choose your introductory words wisely.
Be Concise– No investor wants to wade through War & Peace to understand the opportunity.
Be Realistic and Honest– Make sure you consider all the weaknesses and the challenges, as well as the strengths and opportunities.
Be Conservative– It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver, than over-promise and under-deliver. Start lower with your sales figures and higher with your costs to see if it all still stacks up, and add a few months on to your expected start up timeline.
Be Creative– Include a visual element such as graphs, charts and images to bring your concept to life.
Be Factual– Avoid fluffy empty words like amazing or outstanding, and don’t make empty promises. Instead, support your plan with statistics and sources.
Be Knowledgeable– Show you’ve done your homework by including your market research and naming your competitors, making sure you highlight what sets you apart from them.
And finally, after you successfully secure funding, don’t just file away your plan and forget it. It’s your roadmap to drive your business in the right direction, so make time to re-read and revise it on a regular basis.