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Your business plan should highlight realistic goals

If you are about to develop your business plan, you are at an exciting point in your dream of launching a new enterprise. You want to sell the ideas in your business plan to the people who matter.

To do this, your outlook must be practical and your plans realistic. Here are six tips to help create a business plan that attracts favorable notice:

1. Know your audience

To begin with, you must identify your audience. Who should read your business plan? Bankers? Venture capital companies? Individual investors?

2. Back up your claims

Be prepared to back up any claim you make in your business plan. For example, if you state that the members of your management team have the expertise to make your company Fortune 500 material, explain why and include their resumes.

3. Be conservative

You may write expansively about a new product that you plan to bring to market, but when it comes to your financial projections, be conservative.

4. Have a realistic outlook

New business owners are often overly optimistic about time and resources. You will handle much, if not all, of the day-to-day operations yourself until you can afford to hire employees to help. For that reason, plan for things to take 15% longer than you anticipate. A realistic outlook translates to credibility in the eyes of those who read your business plan.

5. Explain why your business is different

Name your primary competitors—name them, but do not disparage them—and explain why your company is different from, and better than, them.

6. Include payout options

What will your investors want? A seat on the board or hands-on involvement? Either briefly describe options for investors or indicate your willingness to discuss options with interested prospects.

Development help

A good business plan will not only introduce your new company to individuals and other businesses that can help you, but it will also serve as your blueprint for future success. Seek professional guidance to help you develop a well-drafted plan and ensure that you avoid making any legal missteps.

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