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In Business Financial Planning, Get the Facts
Business plans are filled with projections of what a venture might be able to achieve in the future. They should also be filled with facts about the venture’s past and about the market in which it operates. It is these facts that often convince an investor that the opportunity is right for them.
Key areas in which facts must be presented include the company, customer, market, competition, management team and financial projections sections of the plan. In the company analysis, facts must be presented to highlight the venture’s accomplishments to date. These facts could include financial results, dates on which products were launched, etc.
Facts in the customer, market and competition sections should bolster the opportunity. These should include facts about market sizes, market trends, customer needs, and competitors’ products and services. Whenever possible, cite sources for these facts. For instance, mention which research firm stated that the market size last year was in fact $X million and is projected to grow to $Y million within the next five years.
In the management team section, the business plan writer should include facts about key personnel and what their career accomplishments have been so far. It should highlight specific positions they held and ideally show how this makes them to uniquely qualified to execute on the current opportunity.
Finally, while the financial section of the business plan focuses on projections, these projections should be based on facts. Such facts include much of the facts that were presented in the body of the plan regarding market sizes and trends (should influence projected sales growth), competition (should influence pricing), customer needs (should influence customer adoption rates), etc.
Investors want to invest in businesses that they are confident will succeed. By providing them with factual evidence, they are more prone to invest than simply offering your beliefs and opinions. Importantly, most investors will conduct significant due diligence before making an investment, so make sure your facts are genuine, or you risk failing to receive the investment you need.
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