Developing a good business plan is among the core skills a good consultant should possess. A good business plan draws upon various skills, from strategy analysis and market sizing through financial analysis and valuation. No one is going to be an expert in all of these fields. However, a consultant will do well to enter this process with a working understanding of the fundamental areas. If you are completely new to this topic, start reading about strategy and the fundamentals of finance and accounting. Make sure you have working knowledge of an office programs, such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
- Keep it short: Business plans should be short and concise. First, you want your collaterals to be read. Nobody would bother to read a 50 or 100 page document. An excessively long document is a hassle and will be shelved, never to be seen again.
- Know your audience: Write your business plan using a simple language. This ensures that your audience will understand your perspective. Keep explanations about your products or services simple and direct, Use terms that everyone understands. If required, use the appendix to provide more specific details.
Usually, you don’t have to start with a detailed plan that covers all functional areas. It is much easier to start with a simple, one-page document — what I call a Concept Paper — and then delve into details at a later stage.
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