There are literally hundreds of books that discuss the process of writing a business plan. These books teach you how to write a business plan, including the sections needed, and what each section must contain. But few actually give you the secrets of a winning business plan that can attract the investors you need.
“Rich Dad’s Advisors®: The ABC’s of Writing Winning Business Plans: How to Prepare a Business Plan That Others Will Want to Read — and Invest In” (Time Warner Book Group, July 2005) by Garrett Sutton goes above and beyond the standard business plan book. Part of the popular Rich Dad’s Advisors series popularized by Robert Kiyosaki, the book not only teaches you what you need to cover in a business plan, but how best to write it in order to sell investors to your idea and make them invest. The book teaches you how to write a compelling business plan that people would actually want to read – over and beyond the plan’s Executive Summary.
What sets the book apart are the boxed Rich Dad Tips that punctuate every section. In fact, if you are a seasoned entrepreneur already knows the components of a business plan, you can skip the entire chapter and simply focus on the boxed tips.
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The book starts with the premise that there is never a perfect time to start a business. All you need to do is to embrace the challenge of starting a business, and be prepared for everything that comes with it. You may have heard that about 90% of new businesses fail, and the book explains that those businesses failed not because of poorly written business plans, but because the owners “don’t prepare themselves for the real world of business.”
So what makes a winning business plan? Below are some of the tips that the book offers:
- Money follows management. Investors look first at the people involved in the company. If you are just starting out and don’t have relevant experience, investors expect to see that you have an experienced team of advisors and employees helping you in the business.
- Make sure you “sell” the one reason your business will become profitable.
- State clearly the strategies you will employ to get the word out about your business. Your business plan must show how you will leverage the Internet, public relations, viral marketing, and other strategies to attract customers.
- Present realistic estimates of the time, energy and costs of building a successful business. Do not underestimate or overestimate revenues. While investors know your numbers are simply guesses, they want to see that your numbers are within the “range of reality.” Be careful of your financial statements: this is one area where you can easily lose credibility if presented poorly.
- Benchmark similar companies to show that you’ve done your homework and researched the market.
- Your Executive Summary is your calling card. If it is not a winner, investors may not even read your entire plan. Emphasize your own as well as your team’s track record in the Executive Summary.
- Before sending your business plan to lenders and investors, send it out first to a few in order to get feedback. You’d want to correct your plan if someone tells you that you’re way off mark, rather than have a potential investor tell it to you and lose the chance to get the funding you need.
“Rich Dad’s Advisors®: The ABC’s of Writing Winning Business Plans: How to Prepare a Business Plan That Others Will Want to Read — and Invest In” will not show you the best outline of a business plan (after all, each outline version is but a derivative of each other). Instead, the book will help you clarify your business objectives and present your business in a way that will impress investors.
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