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Having the perfect business plan is the foundation of your business’ life. It can be a roadmap to success, or a path to failure. Putting together a solid, well thought out business plan, however, can be the turnkey to organization, investment, and management. While business plans are not a requirement, including a perfect business plan in your startup launch can help lead to success. To get you on your way, here are 5 tips to help you write the perfect business plan.

Tip 1 – What is your business’ mission?

When designing a company’s mission statement, the goal is to communicate the purpose of the business to people both inside and outside of the organization. It must establish who your company is, and what it does. What does your company do that sets it apart from all other, similar businesses? Try to capture your business in 50 words or less.

Tip 2 – What is your business’ vision?

Please don’t confuse this with the company’s mission statement. What is the company’s HOW? Developing this understanding as to HOW the mission will be accomplished and fulfilled is the objective of the vision statement. Think of this as your company’s North Star. How is your business going to accomplish its goals; how is it going to complete the mission statement?

Tip 3 – What is the principle motivating force of the founders?

Break this down to the basics. In doing so, think about why are you starting this business in the first place? It’s important to articulate the “Why” of the business. Consider whether the founders missions and visions aligned? If there is a split among the founders, that could create some uncertainty in those looking to join you in your business venture.

Tip 4 – What are the goals of the company?

The goals of the company should really be the driving force behind the business plan. Is going public in your future? Or, maybe you want to consider whether your interests more aligned with merging with another company or selling when value of the company reaches a certain level? Hashing out and articulating these decisions should be in your business plan.

Tip 5 – Factors of a perfect business plan (According to Harvard Business Review)

The people:

First, who is starting and running the business? Give an solid description and story of the people behind your business. Remember, it’s not the horse people bet on, it’s the jockey. Convince others that your team is the one to side with. Who are the outside parties providing key services? These are the collateral individuals of your organization that help make up your team. These are resources like lawyers, accountants, and suppliers.

What is the business opportunity looking to be exploited:

Second, help people understand the nature of the business you are getting into. Provide a profile of the business itself. What will it sell, and to whom? Can the business grow, and how fast? What are the economics involved with operations? Are obstacles in the way of success and how will the company overcome these obstacles?

What is the context of the business?

Third, how does the business fit into the big picture? What does the landscape look like from a regulatory environment, interest rates, demographic trends; What factors change but cannot be controlled by the entrepreneur. The business plan should be a snapshot of the map the business is planning on using to navigate the industry landscape.

Risk and Reward:

Fourth, make an assessment of everything that can go right and wrong and how the team can deal with each of the items; This is a great opportunity to define the risks involved in the business as well as the outcomes for success. Crunch the numbers in this section to give a solid outlook to what the profits look like in a poor environment, a stable environment, and an abundant environment.

Take a Snapshot:

Last, the perfect business plan should be a snapshot of the of the founders’ intention once prepared. It should be a reflection of the company’s present and future opportunities and risks. How do all of these factors come together? Is the end result a successful and flourishing company, or is it one that’s just going to get by?

Utilizing these tips to the perfect business plan will help drive your business on the road to success. Take an opportunity to check out more of our Legal Lessons in our blog, or download a .pdf on another related topic.