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[Back to top] Now that you’ve written your business plan, here are some tips to help your hard work stand out: Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well.
Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.
[Back to top] List any supporting information or other additional information that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts, and personal and business credit history.
If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.
Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made.
If writing and editing aren’t your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.This section can also highlight the strengths of your business and focus on what sets your business apart from your competition.[Back to top] If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet.“They know what you can expect sales to be for that type of business in that market,” Allen says.“If you walk in with a sales forecast 50% higher than other businesses, they are going to know that you are not being realistic, and that’s going to work against you.” Keep it concise: All you need is 15 to 25 pages for a good business plan, as long as the plan is clear, concise and contains all of the relevant information, Allen says.“I always feel like if the person can’t even bother to proofread something that they wrote, how detail-oriented is this person in running their business? Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers, which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance. But you should also address the various risk factors of the business, Allen says.“The loan officer is definitely going to want to know that you’ve thought through all of the potential risks and that you’ve mitigated those risks in some way,” he says. Appendix Business plan tips and resources This is the first page of your business plan.» MORE: Best loans for working capital [Back to top] Here, you’ll list your business’s legal structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — as well as key employees, managers or other owners of the business.