March 14, 2020, 3:08 am 0

How to complete a business plan in 7 days

It can be done if you have a tested financial template to draw the forecasts. You also need to have a clear idea of the business model so that you can break down the numbers. If these 2 aspects are taken care of a startup business plan can be completed within 7 days. However, there has to be atleast 2 people working on the plan. While one person takes care of the financials the other needs to work on the research part. Sections like market potential, risks, competition require extensive research and it has to be worked on dedicatedly. Below I have listed 7 steps that will help you to complete a business plan within a weeks time.

·         Structure of the plan- A business plan can be 100 pages long or it can be a crisp small business plan of 15-18 pages within which the story can be wrapped up. A well written business plan of 15-18 pages with specific content and a great design can do the game for you. Details if asked later on can be shared as required. So you can do without the ‘thud effect’ if you have to complete the plan fast!

·         As defined by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) try writing something between a traditional business plan and a lean startup business plan. Lean startup business plans focus on summarizing only the most important points while a traditional plan is more detailed. So the plan that you write should summarize the key sections in bullets but the financial forecasts should be fairly detailed because that is what attracts the investors (if they are the target audience).

·         I will not go into the structure of a plan because I assume most readers are familiar with it but when writing a quickfire plan surely avoid sections like operational plan, supply chain etc. that may take a longer time to complete.

·         In the financial forecasts use a simple Cash flow discounting formula to arrive at the valuation. If required, the valuations can be kept aside for the moment if it is not mandatory as well as parameters like Sensitivity analysis. This is especially true for startups because valuations for startups can differ based upon the assumption of the founders and the investors.

·         Now comes the other sections on Outlining the products and services, Market Research and Competition. These are very important sections and they need to be completed with a limited coverage and time. When I say limited coverage, I mean that all important factors and the differentiators of the product or service have to be done. Second, the competition should showcase not more than 2-3 competitors and the comparison matrix should include only 5 key parameters. The Market Research should purely focus on the overall market that the company can address.

 Another key point that I came across from a Fundera Blog is the target audience of the business plan. It is better to adapt the master version slightly based on who’s reading it. For instance, lenders will be most interested in financial projections, and therefore, the copy for lenders might be adjusted slightly to highlight these projections. On the other hand, investors might place more emphasis on your product, service, and marketing plans, and your copy for them should reflect this. Therefore you may decide to create one master version of your business plan, duplicate it, and make changes when sharing with either a lender or an equity investor.

Using samples can be another intelligent way to cut down on time. There are many samples available in different segments. Some of the sections like risks are fairly common for businesses in the same segment and can be reused. However when reusing, the business plan writer should customize it as much as possible to ensure that it fits in the current scheme of things.

Another important point that I missed out! All the factors mentioned above is applicable if you have some idea of writing a plan. As for the financials, atleast someone in the team should know the concept of forecasting and accounting fundamentals. Even if you are using a template, you should have knowledge of where the input goes. If the fundamental concepts are not clear, it can be a big mess on the day you are presenting it to an investing team.  In these circumstances working with professional business plan writers available for hire would be a good idea. Another option would be to work in co-ordination with a professional business planner wherein some section can be offloaded to them.

The plan has to be moved through quickly as this will help to make it ready before the deadline. The business owner should make the requirements very clear if working with an external planner or even writing the plan themselves. A clear plan and quick action should certainly help to achieve the objective of completing the plan within a week’s time. 



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