One most common question that strikes in the mind of almost all new entrepreneurs is, “how long should a business plan be”.
Some experts suggest business plans to be detailed with just everything that you need to present your business idea, the revenue model and the projections. On the other hand, some insist not to be too much stuffed!
Well, business plans today are way too different than that of what they looked like ten years ago, but today’s trend still follows those fundamentals, i.e. good projections and solid analysis and easy & quick to read. So, the crux is to keep the business plan simple, i.e. from wording and formatting to the stats and graphical presentations.
Now, the problem happens when people confuse simple wording and formats with simple thinking and assume that a complex business model cannot have a short and simple business plan.
Anything of 20 to 30 pages long with 10 pages for appendices is an ideal length of a business plan for a complex business model. The length may be trimmed for simple business ideas.
Writing a simple business plan for a simple business model is easy, but entrepreneurs with complex business ideas find it difficult to make it happen. This article will help you to make your complex business idea comprehensible to a layman.
Here goes the quick guidelines to keep the business plan simple:
- Avoid long complicated sentences.
- Avoid buzzwords, jargon and acronyms; you know that KISS stands for “keep it simple, stupid,” but don’t assume anybody else does.
- Avoid verbose text.
- Keep the text style same throughout the business plan.
- Avoid text size lesser than 11 and greater than 13 for paragraphs and note more than 18 for headings.
- Use page breaks to separate sections and to separate charts from text and to highlight tables.
- Be creative with explanations and use imagery, charts, diagrams and more visuals that can explain the plan in less time.
The graphical business plans are more effective than any other type, however, they require more effort and development time. Hiring an experienced business plan writer is the best idea, however, if you want to do it yourself, you may need help of a designer or graphic tools.
Here are some more tips to utilize the graphics more effectively.
- Make your important numbers easy to find with summary tables and simple business charts. And provide related details easy to find in the appendices.
- Bar charts can serve best for yearly data, i.e. sales, profits, cash flow and net worth etc.
- Pie charts work great for presenting market share and analysis of segments.
- Action plans and milestones should be presented horizontally with labels on the left and dates along the top or bottom.
- Don’t use a graphic without referencing it in the text.
And finally, always proofread your text to make sure that everything is in order!