How to Write a
What is a Business Plan
• Business Plan is a tool,
designed to transmit
information to a wide range of
• Financiers, staff, head office,
• The plan is a selling
• Never forget to tell the reader
what response is wanted and
ask for it because, just as with
any selling process closing
the deal is crucial.
You are telling a Story
• Avoid using jargon,
abbreviations that the
reader will not understand.
• Proposals are often passed
on by the original recipient
– who may understand
technical terms to a
general manager or a
finance manager, who may
not and could find the
jargon confusing and off-
You are telling a Story
• Before beginning to write
you must have clear idea
of the story you are telling.
• The story should have
beginning, a middle and an
• A story grabs the attention
of the reader and
stimulates interest and
imagination . It flows ……..
So should a business plan.
Use Action words
• Think of your plan as an action story, not literary criticism.
• Use as much as possible to say what you will do and when,
rather than describing scenery.
• You must stimulate the reader’s enthusiasm for your project
so that he or she will ‘buy in’ to it.
• The story of you, your business and what you propose to do
with it is a fascinating story, tell it that way.
Structure of The
• You probably have a few minutes to make a good
impression with your plan. By the time the reader has
finished the summery and maybe the introduction you have
won or lost.
• The summary should never be more than a page long. It
should not include all the evidence for your case just an
outline of the most important points. It says what the
situation is and what is proposed.
• As the story, it is important to set the scene. Let the reader
know the history of the organization or business. For new
enterprise give some history of the market or service, how it
has developed and where you think it is going.
– What does organization do?
– Where does it do it?
– How does it do it?
– Does it sell product or service and, if so, how?
– Does it have key suppliers, customers or staff?
– How many outlets or factories does it have?
– How big it is? ( turnover? profits? Staff ?)
For start-ups with no trading history there should be some
background to the market, competitors and management
team. If the background suggests operational problems
explain how they arose, what has been learned and how they
will be or have been resolved.
• Say something about yourself and rest of the people who
run the organization.
• The most important factor for investors in evaluating a
proposal is the management team.
• This is the place to review the organization structure and the
skills of the organization as a whole and key people within
• Show your organizational structure.
• For fund raising document it will probably be appropriate to
put a more detailed CV for each key manager in an
The outline of the business/organization
• You must educate the
reader and get the key
facts over quickly.
• There are three sections to
– What product or service
– The market place you
– The mechanics of you
provide the product or
Be selective. Don’t go into pages of detail, just describe what
is necessary. Every business or organization will be different
so there is way of defining what should be included.
THE PRODUCT OR SERVICE
Why are You Different
• If your product or services
are unique make that clear.
• Superiority is something
you should shout about-
so do. Make sure the
reader doesn’t have to
search for reason to back
• Talk about your
competitors. Show that
you know who they are,
how they are organized.
• Supply – Do you have
unique source of supply.
• Processes – What are your
• Distribution – How do you
deliver your product.
• Premises – Do you have
What can go wrong?
• People who read business
plans tend to ask, “ what is
my risk, what can go
wrong, and what would be
my exposure be?”
• Dispel concern. Your
reader does not want to
back a business that can
be shut down at the whim
of a far-off authority or as a
result of a small error.
• Define your market and describe its key features.
– Segmentation, structure, size, and trends
• Are you trading in a particular niche within a larger market. If so,
explain the segmentation.
• Is the market growing, static, shrinking? The reader want to know
what might happen, how ever speculative.
• Issues that determine competitive success include distribution,
pricing, brand strength, packaging and promotion as well as
financial strength. Set out these issues briefly.
• Explain who are your relevant competitors are.
• Are there alternative products? These are also competitors.
• For an existing trading business, summarize its past
performance and its future expectations.
• Don’t put masses of detailed figure in the body of the plan-
put them in appendix and summarize them here.
– Gross Profit
– Profit before interest and tax.
• Assumptions – Set out the key assumptions you have made
in any forecast. These determines the reader believes your
proposal, so give some evidence to support them.
• The reader wants explanation not just data.
Cash… Cash…. Cash
• A business plan show a
fabulous profit projection
but if you run out of cash
you will never achieve it.
Cash in a sense more
important than profits.
• Business never collapse
because they are losing
money but because they
run out of cash to pay their
bills or to reinvest.
• How do you compete?
– Explain whether the market is price-sensitive, dependent upon
location of outlets, driven by quality of product or service, etc.
– Describe important factors about the key competitors. The
reader needs enough information to assess whether you can
– Who are your customers?
– Is your customer store or supermarket buyer.
– Do you have any dominant customer who represent very high
proportion of your sell?
• If you are certain to go ahead with your numbers then be
sure you have convincing arguments supported by
evidence, not just ambition; then try to pursued the reader.
• Give supporting evidence.
• Show breakeven of business.
• Show your fixed and variable cost.
• It is better to surprise with good results than to disappoint
with bad results.
• State your proposal clearly. Don’t forget to tell them why
you are here.
• Reiterate your requirement in the summary at the beginning
of your business plan. Make sure the reader has not turned
the first page before knowing what you want.
• How much are you investing. There are many ways but non
as persuasive as money.
• Show salaries and fees clearly; justify them if necessary.
• State if funds have already been raised towards total
• Help the reader by telling them what might go wrong but
also what you will do about it.
• Each risk is evaluated.
• The response to things going wrong is given.
“Your Ideas + Our Solution”
= Success Story
ZADI e Ventures