Well guess what, this same trend also applies to business plans.
With mass attention fading to 60 second sound bites; you can be sure that no one wants to read 3,000 words of text about your business. The formal 30-page business plan is thoroughly dead. If you don’t believe me, Google it. Brad Feld, a top venture capitalist in technology calls business plans an historical artifact. And I agree!
Unfortunately you can still see a business plan listed as a requirement for some loan applications. But stop and think about the purpose of the business plan. Its sole purpose is to convince someone who will never meet you that you have sound business judgement and a financial plan that will realistically result in you repaying your loan.
There are far better ways to convey this information than a written document that is outdated as soon as you hit print (or send).
So what should you do?
Well, an in-depth financial plan is essential. So build it first.
In that plan you’ll have to make a lot of assumptions about how your business will perform financially and each of those assumptions will be based on your knowledge of the markets you serve, the region you are in, and the specific products you sell.
Next, spend time documenting those assumptions that form the base of your plan. Do it in short crisp sentences –headlines really. Include the key facts about your market, products, pricing and capacity. Then turn that outline of key facts and assumptions into a powerpoint or visual presentation that has lots of pictures, graphs and very very very few words.
Finally, summarize your key points in paragraph form so that you can provide a bit of context or backup documentation that goes along with the powerpoint. Don’t worry too much about quoting data and studies, just link to any reliable sources online that illustrate your points.
In the end, you’ll end up with three short, crisp documents:
- A financial plan (spreadsheet) that shows your overall growth strategy and financial well being in numbers
- A pitch deck that reveals your knowledge of your industry and strategic vision for your farm/company (and gives compelling visuals of your business in action); and
- An executive summary (2 -5 pages) that conveys in text the same stories, vision and facts you would present if you were to stand up and present your pitch deck to a friendly audience.
Each document can, and should, be kept up to date with simple edits at the end of the month, or season; or as you try new markets, products or add business lines.
Trust me, this is much easier to manage, and for the most part, your bankers will thank you.
To learn more about how to build a more profitable company and get the cash you need to grow, visit my website: https://www.cfoonspeeddial.com