Among the entrepreneur’s nightmares, the preparation of the business plan and the financial forecasts are prominent together with the bank’s or customer’s refusal to cancel subscribers. Because the business plan for many is a dive into the unknown and the actual launch of his future life as a business leader. “ What should I write in my business plan? How many pages should it be? These are the two questions we hear most often confirms Mathieu Brogniart, of the Limousin Expansion Regional Development Agency.
A valuable tool to see more clearly in your project
What should a business plan include? This is the presentation of your project and is completed by the financial elements of it. Both must inform each other. The “literary” part should take stock of your background, your motivation, your idea, its market, etc. On the financial analysis page, the financing plan, cash flow, three-year forecast will shed light on your goals and the means to achieve them.
Admittedly, today’s business leaders often believe that between their business plan and the form of business, reality has done its job: rarely are business plans kept from start to finish! If this business plan, in good French, is often seen as a simple tool to convince bankers and other financial partners, it is also a very good exercise for creators: “ The business plan is a tool to pose and therefore formalize the idea of the future entrepreneurexplains Matthieu Brogniart. After writing it, the creator often sees more clearly and will be able to briefly explain his project. »
4 important tips:
Advice from Matthieu Brogniart (Creer-mon-business-plan.fr, Limousin Expansion)
–Start! ” When I set up my business, I did not complete my business plan because I quickly found my first clients, but it allows me to lay the foundation for my project. »
–Cross the data : a figure must always be crossed, checked. “I also recommend sites like Apce (Agence pour la création d’entreprise), with many practical sources“
–Avoid the wording “fleas” : a business plan must be written in a literary style, it is not a catalog of characters. “ Present your background, your motivations, and then detail the project, its managerial, commercial process, etc., all enriched with numbers“.
–The length of a typical business plan? “No single rule, but for a classic sector, about fifteen pages is generally enough “.
An online guide to help you
For creators who lack inspiration, the website Creer-mon-business-plan.fr, created in 2011 by Limousin Expansion, allows business creators to quickly start developing their business plan for free. This site was first launched as a business tool for this regional development agency, but it was quickly made available to anyone on the web. Today, 50,000 project evaluations have been completed.
Future creators can find three types of tools there: a business plan model, the preparation of which is facilitated by the pre-filled summary that guides the project manager step by step through the various chapters of the business plan. Each of them is supported by video help that will give you the right writing tips for your business plan. Another tool: the economic simulation, which shows the elements that must not be forgotten. What is your capital? What are the expected expenses? At what price do you want to sell your products or services? All this data will go through the prism of tools for calculating fees, depreciation allowances, etc. Finally, the future creator has the opportunity to evaluate his project: We relied on several studies on the strengths and weaknesses of creators, explains Mathieu Brogniart. Nothing is insurmountable, but it allows the creator to know and therefore compensate for any weaknesses. »
Beware of common mistakes
The most common mistakes? Blur “how”. “ Many creators come in and say they will get 1% market share. The real question that the business plan must answer is how it will achieve this goal!warns Matthieu Brogniart. Many also avoid talking about their project, for fear of having their idea stolen. It’s a mistake: the more you talk about your project, the more you expand your network around it and enrich it. »
The other common mistake is to spend too much time in the R&D and preparation phase. ” I’ve seen a software company spend months fine-tuning their solutions. Eventually, they drew on all the resources and had nothing left to find their first customers. One last piece of advice? If the pursuit of the business plan, certainly boring, is capital, the most important thing is to continue to find its market and its customers. So do not focus on writing it, and quickly get started testing your concept, in iterative mode, to improve it, to refine it under real conditions.