A common mistake is to believe that a Business Plan is the number crunching work in Excel. No!
A good business plan includes three components:
- The financial plan, which is a 3-10 year forecast of the business financial statements (Profit and Loss, Cashflow, Balance Sheet).
Typically people use Microsoft Excel for this. But other software packages are available, for example Adaptive Planning, as well as STEM
- The ‘sales pitch’, which you use to present the business plan to others (you don’t present Excel documents…).
Typically you will use Microsoft Powerpoint for this (no more than 20 slides please).
- The ‘story’ and all the details of how the business plan will be executed.
Most often than not, people don’t take time to write the business plan as a word document (5-15 pages). What a pity. It is actually by writing down the business plan that the plan really become better. It also provides an opportunity to think about the tough questions that your audience is likely to ask when you present the business plan.