Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Turn Ons and Turn Offs

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Turn Ons and Turn Offs

Article excerpt

I am one of those people who gets paid to evaluate business plans for financiers. Most plans I review represent the life's dream of an aspiring entrepreneur, yet many are created, assembled or presented so poorly that I rarely read beyond the first few pages. These entrepreneurs subsequently send their rejected plans to another organization and continue to wonder why their proposals never interest potential investors.

Every business plan ever written has one or more elements that either turn readers ON (making them want to read further), or turn readers OFF (in which case the plan is immediately rejected), with the entrepreneur receiving the polite "thank you for submitting your plan but we are unable to commit an investment at this time" letter. The entrepreneur is left with absolutely no knowledge as to why the plan was rejected.

Therefore, let me share with you some of the most common "turn offs and turn ons." Turn offs * Dual purpose is missing. If you want your plan noticed, make sure it has two obvious purposes. Most importantly, it must be your business bible, the strategic operating plan for your company. Secondly, it should be a sales document to attract funds from financiers. Ninety-nine percent of all business plans never focus on the first purpose; therefore 99 percent of financiers will reject it, because they don't want to read shallow sales tools. If you pay attention to this step, yours may be the one out of a hundred business plans that gets read. * Too lengthy. Anything longer than 40 pages is asking for trouble. In fact, I believe that if you can't explain your strategy clearly within 20 pages, more pages will only make it worse. * Obvious errors. Proofread your plan extensively, to insure there are no errors of spelling, grammar, composition, clarity or organization. I once saw a plan that was rejected because the word "laser" was misspelled throughout the document (showing a lack of attention to detail). …

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