Creating a Business: How to Create Your Business Plan

An entrepreneur rarely doubts the chances of success of the start-up he dreams of creating. But even if that means risking his certainties, he must commit himself to an essential task: formalize his idea in writing in a logical and rigorous way. This pre-completion phase comes in the form of a report detailing the economic and financial reality of the project. This “business plan” or “development plan” is primarily useful to the project leader: it allows him to test different hypotheses and obliges him to ensure that his intuition is good, but also viable! “It served us to formalize our ideas and it was ultimately based on what he taught us that we decided to launch ourselves,” testifies the founder of an online concierge service for individuals.

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Create three scenarios to direct your future

Writing such a report is tedious, sometimes thankless work that cannot be done in two hours. Rather, it is intended to evolve, to be repeated over and over again, depending on the degree of maturity of the project. Do not hesitate to build three scenarios: an optimist, a reasonable and a pessimist. Then, when the company is actually launched, the business plan will become a management tool, intended to verify that the objectives are being met and that the company is developing at the planned pace.

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Calibrate your plan according to your interlocutors

The first role of the business plan is persuasion. For Christophe Chausson, managing partner of Chausson Finance, a consultancy specializing in fundraising for companies in formation or development: “The business plan is above all a means of communication. It is intended to convince financiers that we want to associate ourselves with the capital – whether it is bankers, grant providers or competition organizers – as well as the key people we want to recruit.”

These interlocutors are not all looking for the same information, but they all want to be sure of the seriousness of the project and want to gauge the enthusiasm of the founders. The business plan must therefore arrive at a balanced synthesis between these two components. Christophe Chausson recommends applying what he calls “the law of the 2 Rs” (to “dream” and “reassure”) by adapting the presentation of the document to the interlocutor: “A venture capitalist wants growth with two digits? Make it dream! A bank would rather be sure of getting its money back no matter what? Try to reassure it.”

Both a summary and a foreword to your business plan, the executive summary should have your full attention: some of your interlocutors will only read it! This two-page text should make you want to delve into the full document. It is also intended to be sent to your correspondents after an initial telephone contact. The typical recipients are fundraisers, venture capitalists and business angels, who have no time to lose. The summary allows them to perform an initial sort among the mass of files received.

Provide the two pages of your “executive summary”

First requirement of this “summary”: keep it short – two pages maximum – without compromising on reading comfort. The document should remain pleasantly readable, light-hearted, composed of short paragraphs that follow each other logically. A typical plan is to start with a header that includes the name of the future company, its logo and, ideally, a slogan or a few words summarizing the positioning. Then explain the main points of the project in a few lines. Indicate the unmet needs you will be meeting. Describe your product or service and emphasize what sets it apart from the competition. Then introduce yourself and your team.

Don’t just list the positions you previously held, but explain how they made you legitimate to undertake this project.

Ask for help with the financial part

Finally, get to the financial issues: bring out some numbers, especially the sales forecasts for the first two or three years. And don’t forget to state what your “business model” is, in other words what mechanisms you want to use to win markets and generate profits.

Getting help writing your business plan is a good idea: all kinds of professionals can contribute their expertise on the most technical aspects, especially the financial part. It could be a chartered accountant or a support network for setting up a business. But in no case should the responsibility for the work as a whole be delegated. The new entrepreneur you are, when the time comes, will have to defend against each of the points being developed there, which means mastering the smallest details.

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Up to 30 pages to convince investors

A business plan generally consists of two different parts: and rarely more than thirty pages:

The first part is a description of the future company : what need, hitherto unsatisfied, does the product or service fulfill? Who is carrying the project? What is the business model † Where is the competition? What are the material, legal and human needs of the future society? What is the planned schedule for the first months of activity?

The second part is a presentation of the financial perspective with figures, including forecast dashboards. Added to this are attachments that bring together the documents justifying the creation of the company: testimonials, articles, list of prospects… Finally, a two-page summary, themanagement summarypresents the company in a concise manner so that the reader can form an opinion about the value of the project.

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