1. Identify Your Unique Niche
While it is tough to come up with a truly unique idea for a business, you need to identify what sets you apart from the rest of the companies in your industry. Try to focus on a specific market and indicate any secondary markets that you may want to tap into in the future.
You should not be concerned about the size of the market population but by your ability to lure them to you. A big market only means that a lot of companies are already in it, which will give you a huge amount of competition to deal with. Identify what sets you apart and why you think you have a chance of getting a share in the space.
2. Know your Business before you Set a Budget
You cannot set a realistic budget without knowing your business industry, market, and competitor profiles. Make sure you have a firm grasp of them, while you mindfully hit the numbers on your excel sheet. There are so many times when I’ve heard people tell me that they have a budget of $1,000 and they want to start a company. They figured they’ll find some way to just fit everything in. WRONG! There are barrier costs for many industries. Your primary job is to understand what they are.
3. Customers are Always Right
You are NOT your client. Don’t create a product or service just because you think it’s a great idea. And don’t get offended when people, outside of your family and friends, tell you it’s a bad idea. You need customers! Make sure that your target market really wants what you’re offering.
4. Leave Room for Improvement
Though you may want to boast about how you have the perfect fool-proof plan, be careful to leave room for improvement. Most investors that I know would laugh at the idea of a perfect plan. Be honest about your weaknesses, and be insightful about ways to improve them. Especially, if you are a tech oriented business. As they say “technology today, gone tomorrow” No, I don’t know if they really say that. But all the same, be relevant to your market!
5. Get Someone to Proofread
I can not emphasize this enough. Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! There’s nothing worse than asking someone for money when you have a whole bunch of spelling errors in your plan. Get someone you trust to read through your plan. Have them point out any weaknesses or areas that need more explanation.