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When passion meets planning,
This review is from: FT Essential Guide to Writing a Business Plan: How to Win Backing to Start Up or Grow Your Business (The FT Guides) (Paperback)
Well, we've seen them on tv - those aspiring entrepreneurs, long on passion but short on next year's forecast sales and profit figures.
Sometimes even last year's performance is rendered vague and unquantified. But, as Vaughan Evans points out in this excellent guide to creating a business plan, backers need evidence as well as passion before they sign up to an investment. That's the strength of this book - it is slanted towards the initial market for the business plan - the backer - and once that perspective is established, the criteria and priorities follow. The author has clearly immersed himself in hundreds of business plans which enable him to take the entrepreneur or executive logically through the composition of the plan using tools, techniques and research. He especially stresses the need to analyse competitors - competition is good news in that it suggests that there is indeed a market for the product or service but the degree of intensity will greatly help to determine the strategic positioning of the business within its market. The central case of a couple running a spa hotel and restaurant in Devon is accessible by everyone, very illustrative of the planning process and wittily described. The many tools and techniques are also presented with illustrative examples and there are some engaging quotes at the chapter headings including this gem from Vaclav Havel: "Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare at the steps, we must step up the stairs." If I have a criticism it is that, after the first few pages, the use of business terminology is by no means light so a jargon buster at the start would therefore help. Moreover, for the less experienced, the drafting of the plan may well be put together in consultation with a professional eg an accountant so a section on how to plan with professional help (without getting ripped off) might be useful. So whether you have a business education or just a good idea, the book will help transform what can be an intimidating challenge into a well-informed, skilful task that might just make the difference in attracting a backer.