How to Draw Up a Business Plan - Using Graphics to Tell the Story

By Eric Powers

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A business plan does not have to be a monotonous, text-only document. In fact, your plan may be more successful if it is not. After reading many plans of this type, investors and lenders are always ready to see a plan which uses images, charts, and graphs to better tell its story, as long as these graphics fulfill their purpose. The following are a few suggestions of where images or graphic layouts can be used to good effect in a business plan, although they are by no means the only options.

Customers and Competitors

Since your customer groups and top competitors must be listed in the plan, why not use a chart to summarize this information? This can be a good method of showing the differences and similarities between customer target markets and competitors. To better illustrate how competitors will compare to your intended business, include your business as a row on such a chart as well. Furthermore, images or logos that better inform a reader about customers or competitors can be of use here and help to break up the monotony of research.

Industry Market Share

If you can find the information, it is always easier to communicate how market share for a given market is broken up between competitors using a pie chart. If you cannot find this precise information in your research, you may still be able to extrapolate such a chart through smart assumptions and the bits of information you can find.

Products and Services

If you are creating a new product or service, showing images can generally illustrate them better than the same space in text, even if they are just charts of the product or service delivery system prototype. If full diagrams of the design of a system are necessary, these may be better placed in the appendices of the plan and mentioned earlier on. However, if a picture can replace a great deal of text, it is highly recommended here.

Eric Powers is associated with Growthink, a business plan consulting firm. Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for more than 2,000 entrepreneurs and business owners who have raised more than $1 billion in growth capital. If you'd like professional assistance, call 800-506-5728 today for a free consultation with a Growthink business plan consultant. Or, if you're writing your plan yourself, Growthink also offers a business plan template to help you finish your plan quickly and easily.

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