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Tweaking your business plan for different audiences

Tweaking your business plan for different audiences

It is important to tailor your plan according to the different audiences you'll be facing

A detailed business plan is an essential component of pitching your idea to potential stakeholders. But when you’re preparing your pitch to persuade various parties to buy into your plan, you don’t have to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach – you can tailor your plan according to the different audiences you’ll be facing.

In order to do this, it helps to have an idea of the kind of information that’s important to the different groups of people you’ll be pitching to, whether it’s potential investors, bank executives or prospective partners or employees. So with that in mind, here is a guide to help you tweak your business plan accordingly.

Bank executives

If you’re looking for a loan to fund your business, then your bank will want a clear indication you’ll be able to pay back the money with interest. For that reason, they’ll look at your business plan to see if it will provide a consistent revenue stream with which you can make regular payments on the loan. Although you’ll need to convince them the business will be successful, they won’t be so interested in your grand plans for expansion in the future – in fact, it will worry them if your plan suggests there’s a possibility you’ll overstretch yourself. They’ll be most interested in how your business will perform during the term of the loan. The key aspect they’ll look at is a risk. You’ll need to show you’re a safe bet so don’t make your pitch to them overambitious. Also bear in mind the bank will require some kind of backup in case things go wrong, which means you’ll probably have to secure the loan against your assets – most likely your home or other property.

Investors

Unlike banks, investors won’t require security for their funds. But they will want a healthy return on their investment. While they’ll be prepared to take risks, they’ll still want solid evidence that your business is a sound proposition. In fact, they’ll want to see signs that it has the potential to deliver big returns – they’re not just looking to get their money back or make a small profit. And they won’t want to wait too long before they see their investment paying off. So your plan should emphasise the profitability of your business and your growth strategy. You need to show you’re thinking big and can maximise the company’s earning potential. Also, be aware that investors are likely to want a significant shareholding in your company if they buy into your idea. Focus on how the business will generate revenue, not how it will create wealth for you personally.

Potential partners or employees

If you’re looking to recruit people to work with you to make your business a success, they’ll want to see signs that the company can provide them with a secure future and job satisfaction. Your plan should emphasise the exciting opportunities presented by the business and the low level of risk involved. Prospective partners will want your plan to demonstrate the company’s healthy earnings potential. Employees will be looking for promotion prospects and the ways the business can develop their career and improve their skills. In either case, use the plan to show how the business can benefit them personally.

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