When writing a business plan, remember to choose an audience and objectives first. You may wish to have differing versions of the plan written for different audiences. This is a common practice.
- Importance of First Impression
- Use a Business Writing Style
- Contents Based on Target Reader
- Good Executive Summary
- Table of Contents/Page #’s
- Binding and Cover
- Executive Summary
- Confidentiality & Qualifying (non-disclosure of ideas and protect owner from being hit with a lawsuit if things go wrong)
I have an idea or two that I think would be very valuable to to a large company I used to work for or a competitor of theirs. I was thinking of either marketing the idea myslef by writing a business pla and getting investors or selling it to one of the large companies. I’m afraid of getting ripped off. I know I have to talk about the idea in both cases but how can I be sure they won’t take my idea? I might reveal too much.
Response: Many people are more paranoid about this than need be. Most reputable companies and people would rather buy the rights than risk lawsuits and big payout later. Many invstors don’t want to or can’t do the work it takes to produce and market something.
Your idea may not be as valuable as you think. A big part of business success isn’t the “big” idea or even innovation. It is usually in the execution and details: having a plan, finding a market, pricing, distribution, etc.
Think about proposing a book idea about a witch academy or a way to sell products with high prices and very limited breadth and depth of product lines. (Harry Potter and 7-Eleven)
Protecting Your Idea
- Patent genuine inventions
- Copyright software, writings, bsuiness plans, ads, music, etc.
- Rely on a signed Non-Disclosure agreement; some companies won’t sign
- Realize that general concepts are difficult to protect and my not be unique to you or original at all
- License the idea, don’t sell it
- Expect lots of non-interest.
What do readers of business plans look for when reading. The following is a list of items that a professional reader, such as a banker, would look for:
- Who is the Start-up Team? What confidence do you have in them and why?
- What is the Product?
- What is the unique selling proposition?
- How much start-up capital is needed?
- What is the proposed source of capital?
- What is the businesses purpose or mission?
- What is the opportunity? What is the competitive advantage?
- What are the risks?
- What is the Market potential?
- Who is the typical customer?
- How will the business be marketed?
- What is the business name/brand names?
- How many employees?
- What is the expected monthly/yearly profit?