Leverage Your Business Plan

Most future business owners create at least a simple business plan as an operating guide or to help facilitate a small business loan.  If you are going to invest the time to create a small business plan there are many other ways this work could and should be leveraged.

It’s true that you wouldn’t want your business plan showing up on the internet for the whole world to see.  But does it have to be labeled top secret and kept under lock and key?   This article explores some ways successful entrepreneurs leverage their business plans to help launch their new ventures.

For any of the ideas below, always give careful consideration to who your audience will be. Next, make some decisions about which sections of your business plan should be revealed.  An executive summary should be written so that it could be shared widely.  Beyond that, think about the level of detail you would be willing to share with your audience.

The risks of handing out copies of your business plan to a broad audience are high and easily understood. (Don’t do that.)  However, properly managed, sharing your plans and ideas at an early stage can be tremendously beneficial.  You’ll suddenly find that you’re meeting new potential partners, investors, advisors and potential key employees.  Let’s not leave out customers.  Any time you’re talking about your business, you’re marketing it to future customers.

Here are four ideas that are available to just about anyone at little or no cost.  Review the list of ideas below and see which ones are right for you.

Business Plan Competitions

Many organizations host business plan competitions.  The guidelines vary on which aspects of your business plan must be submitted.  A few minutes spent on Google will help you find local and national business plan competitions.  Many even offer significant cash prizes to the winners.  Rather than simply submit your plan, use the opportunity to get to know the organization hosting the competition, the judging panel and anyone associated with the event.

Venture Forums and Angel Investor Group

Most medium and large cities have one or more venture groups and angel investor groups that have monthly meetings.  Their attendees go beyond investors themselves.  They include people with a variety of reasons for wanting to meet future business owners.  The presentations at these meetings are usually made by would-be entrepreneurs presenting some aspect of their business plan.  The formats vary, but typically some feedback is provided to the presenters.

Mentoring Organizations

There are many types of mentoring organizations.  When you’ve just put together your business plan and are looking to take it for a test drive, look for those whose mission is to help nurture new businesses.  Your local chamber of commerce, SBA office or even your banker can probably help you identify mentoring organizations in your local area that can provide insight and feedback on your business plan.

Universities

Contact the business department of a local university and find out the name of the dean of the business department, or a department closely aligned with your type of business.  Contact them by phone or email.  Let them know that you’ve developed a business plan and you’re looking for qualified experts who might review it.  Many MBA programs look for individuals to present their business plans to their classes.  Still others assign a group of MBA students to work directly with the business owner over a period of several weeks.  There is usually no cost for this type of assistance.

These are just four ways you can leverage the work you’ve invested to write your small business plan.  Once you start thinking about the value of promoting your business plan, other opportunities will show up on your radar as well.  Even if you are still at the stage of learning how to write a business plan, take a look at how and when these ideas will be right for you.

By carefully and selectively looking for opportunities to present your small business plan to others, you’ll meet new people, forge new relationships and fine-tune your business plan in ways that will help you succeed.

Want a great business plan template you can complete in just one day?

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Want a great business plan template you can complete in just one day?

Click GET STARTED to access our great fill in the blank business plan. Our template is in-depth and covers all the details you need to develop a foundation for many businesses of various industries. We are so confident you will like this plan that we even offer a full money back guarantee.

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