Turning a Client’s Brief into a Business Plan

27th Jun, 2016

| by Nanditha Vasudev

I never thought I could draft a business plan until I actually drafted one. All that I had in mind was a format with a couple of empty pages. I knew I needed to fill these up from the brief that Write Solutions had received from the client. It was a tough job, albeit interesting!

There were eight sections that I had to fill up and we had just one page of brief from the client. How I built upon and elaborated that was totally up to me. Luckily, I was able to do some extensive and intensive research from the many proprietary, peer-reviewed journals and other databases that Write Solutions subscribes to and came up with the right tool kit, statistics and industry-relevant content needed for our client’s business plan.

To a big extent, my previous experience as a business analyst and a management accountant played a key role in my market research and the financial planning for the client. Nonetheless, I had to go back to the client, every now and then for more information until I was completely convinced that I had all that it would take to compile a credible plan that would impress our client’s investors and potential business associates.

During this interim, one thing I realized is that numbers are what investors love to see. How much they need to invest and what can they expect in return (ROI) is all that matters. Show them the money so they get hooked to the plan. However before we reach there, a lot of spade work needs to be done on projecting the results for the next three to five years. We need to present a scalable plan that looks both realistic and impressive. After all, after the first A series capital infusion, we also need to present a road map for subsequent rounds of funding once the start-up gets rolling.

A few things to bear in mind while creating a business plan:

Get the outline straight

This would involve dividing your business plan into sections. The standard sections would include an executive summary, company description, market overview, competition analysis, organization and management, service or product line, marketing or sales plan, funding requirements, financial projections and appendix (optional). Nothing is cast in stone. You can eventually work around this outline, adding or removing a few components, depending upon your start-up ecosystem and project specifics.

Determine the kind of details you may need

It’s always a good idea to design a questionnaire that will give you all the information that you seek from your client. Try to keep it simple and easy. Make your client understand the importance of filling up such a questionnaire. Also work out a channel of communication with which the client feels comfortable in answering your queries.

Work with your client or his representative at every stage

It is very important to include accurate information in your business plan. Especially the sections on funding requirements and financial projections may require a whole lot of workings. You may need to work with your client closely to check if you are on the right track. While seeming impressive, this should also be realistic. Investors may have queries on some of the numbers cited. It is good to keep these workings handy and assure complete accuracy.

Proofread the draft before sending it out

Business plan is a document that is very important for the owner of the start-up. It needs to be thoroughly professional in its approach. Proofreading is a must as you can’t afford to have mistakes of any kind. It is better to get a co-worker or mentor to proofread the business plan for you before you send it out to your client. Do ask your client to run a spell-check before showing it to the prospective investors.

The main goal of a business plan is to find investors who can fund the start-up. It is not about showing off your writing skills. You will have to think and act on behalf of the start-up owner while creating the plan. The main focus should be on highlighting the USP of the start-up and making sure the entire venture seems profitable to the investors.

Nanditha Vasudev

Nanditha Vasudev

Copy Editor

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