Whether you’re trying to catch the attention of an investor or just make a pitch that proves you could, a boring old business plan can feel like it’s not going to get the job done. If you’re trying to spice up that form on your own, it can be hard to give it an edge without taking it over the top. Focus on things on this list to give your plan an edge and unique feel without overwhelming the serious business tone. Here’s where you make it count.
1. Include a Crisp Cover Page
If you want to give your plan a finished and professional look, attach a crisp cover page with your contact information and business name. This gives the entire plan a finished look and makes it incredibly easy for an investor to get in touch with you. No more searching for your information at the end of a long and complicated document. In addition to these benefits, the smooth, mostly blank paper will stand out compared to documents covered with text. You can literally stand out from the crowd when you use a cover page.
2. Take the Time to Flesh out an Appendix
Drafting an appendix is one of the most boring parts of writing a business plan. Most people skimp on it for this reason. They make a very cursory appendix that lists the page numbers for the start of the sections and leave it at that. If you want to create an actually useful appendix, you should go a bit further. List the subheadings in the appendix, and cross reference at useful points. The easier it is for an investor to navigate through your business plan, the more likely they are to take the time to really examine it and weigh its merits. This might feel like busy work, but to a busy investor it could not be more necessary.
3. Take Charge in the Executive Summary Section
If there was ever a time to show off, it would be in the executive summary. Here is where you include not only the concise statistics about your company, but also sell the idea of your business; it forms a very important component of a business plan. You have to keep this section like your elevator pitch: short, sweet, and powerful. The rest of the business plan might be dry, but you have to inject some life into this section if you want your business plan to pop. You can’t just lay out the facts and expect them to do your selling for you. The executive summary is your time to shine.
4. Sell Yourself with Team Management
If you want to inject a little personality into your plan, a good time to do that is by showcasing the diversity of your staff picks. If the lot of you aren’t carbon copies of yourselves, you can use the differences between you to show how you’re going to come up with unique and interesting solutions to the problems you face, according to entrepreneurmag.co.za. Even with slight differences you can play up the “unique perspectives” angle. You want to show that you have enough in common that the overall vision is united. It also helps to highlight a strict hierarchy in this section as it answers investors’ questions about who is ultimately in control and ultimately responsible for your choices.
For those with a lot of personality, following a business plan format can be a drain. You worry that the spirit of your business won’t shine through in your business plan. If you focus on these four sections to add a little flair, you can have a smart business plan that will still convey your great idea.