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Editing and Finalizing Your Business Plan

Decide How to Organize Your Plan

Each business plan has a unique structure that to some degree is determined by the particular business and fundraising needs. Although you’ll be writing a few more short sections in this chapter, you’ll probably want to take a few minutes now to get organized. Take out all the work you’ve completed so far using this book. Then arrange the various components in the order suggested below for a complete plan or a quick plan, whichever you’ve chosen. (See the Introduction for an explanation of these different methods).

Write Final Portions of Your Plan

Now that you have an overview of what your finished plan will include, it’s time to begin writing the final sections. Every business plan needs a summary, which is covered below. In addition, you may choose to write several short statements that will improve your plan and make it more cohesive. Those optional statements are also covered below.

Write Your Plan Summary

The plan summary introduces and emphasizes the high points of your plan. It includes a statement of the total amount of money you seek. Because the summary is based on the rest of your plan, we’ve waited until now to cover it. Your job is to tell your readers who you are, what you want to do, how much money you need, and how much money you expect to make, all on one page.

Create the Appendix

This book covers the primary business building blocks all businesses share. Of necessity, it leaves out any mention of items that are specific to any one business. Yet, in many cases, specific items are critically important to the success or failure of your business. Your job is to decide which items to include in your business plan

For example, suppose that you are establishing a franchise business. You want to include all the information about the franchise you can, including copies of the agreements and any information the franchisor provides you about the operation. Or let’s say you have invented a revolutionary new gadget. You’ll want to include a copy of the patent, patent search, or patent application to support your claims.

The key to deciding what to include is whether the information helps the reader understand your proposal. Include proof of statements a lender or investor would be likely to question—for instance, horseshoeing is a growth industry. Do not include support for obvious statements—for example, people like ice cream. Don’t be afraid to edit by cutting and pasting, as long as you don’t unfairly change the meaning.

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