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Creating a Business Plan with the Right Support
A business plan is built on a foundation of data which all serves to support the argument that the business will be successful and is a good investment opportunity. The market opportunity, management expertise, and exit strategy are three areas which need specific types of support through data in the business plan.
Market Opportunity Support
The plan should include a great deal of support for the basic market opportunity the plan must establish. This means showing that there is an unsatisfied need in the market for the specific mix of products and services at the specific prices which your company will offer. Research into the market need can include secondary research through industry reports, articles, and blogs as well as primary research through interviews, surveys and focus groups of actual potential customers. Research into competitors to understand whether they are positioned to take advantage of the opportunity or not should be included, hopefully supporting the idea that there is a window of opportunity for a new firm in the market.
Management Expertise Support
The management team's expertise must be supported to show the qualifications of the management (whether partners or employees) to fulfill their specific functions in the company. Experience should pull from industry experience as well as functional experience. Irrelevant experience can be left out if it adds nothing to the argument. However, look deeply at skills which the managers have developed in seemingly unrelated positions to find what will be useful in their new positions.
Exit Strategy Support
If your plan includes an exit strategy (a plan for investors and owners to cash out of the business at some point) you must support your plan fully. For example, a strategic sale to a competitor or large company that may value your product line or customers sounds great, but is only realistic if supported by evidence that that company does, indeed, make acquisitions and that they will consider it an advantage to buy your company rather than develop capabilities in-house.
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