How to write a compelling business plan (Part 1)

Ever wondered if your business plans are as compelling and persuasive as they could be? For many top executives and entrepreneurs, a business plan is the most important document they will ever write, because the future of a company or product is at stake and once in a lifetime monetary gain often rides on the outcome. Yet business plans are seldom written as persuasively as they could be.
Why? It's often because the executive summary (the only part most people read) isn't compelling enough. If you believe that your company's executive summary is strong enough to "sell itself", you may want to think again.

An executive summary is your one chance to tell a story that will excite and impel time-challenged investors to sit down and actually read your Plan. Perhaps you've heard the expression, "the facts will speak for themselves." It's mainly used in the context of legal proceedings. But while an experienced judge might be swayed solely by the facts of a case, facts alone will hardly win a case presented in front of a jury. That's because people need to hear a story -- the full story -- before they make a decision. Even the most hardened financier can be tipped towards your side of the fence if he or she reads a compelling story shaped around facts. We know that people "buy" based on emotion, not just logic. Even business buyers. 

A winning business plan takes the facts and shapes them into a compelling story

So how do you write a winning business plan? Rethink your executive summary, make it unique, says Eric Markowitz in an article in Inc. Magazine (click on the link below). He interviewed a number of experts in the field and put together a pretty good "how to". 

How to write an executive summary

For example, tell us what makes your company unique or exciting? More specifically, do you have a unique partnership? Do you already have customers and traction? Do you have patents or technology? Is your marketing plan special in a certain way? These are some of the questions raised in Markowitz's article. It's well worth a look.

I will explain more of the storytelling techniques behind a winning business plan in Part 2.