Practical tips for Writing Your Business Plan
Hollis Chase

Hollis has guided several jewelry companies through the process of putting together a cohesive, well-thought-out business plan, following such guidelines as those given here.

Be Realistic

Build your business plan with a sense of realism and practicality.

* Do your homework carefully and think through every detail that could impact the success of your business. * Your business plan should be a carefully crafted, practical document, geared toward performance not a speculative piece of fortune telling.

Support Your Facts

When you base projections on specific assumptions, i.e. projections about the market responses to your goods and services, give evidence that these are based on facts.

* Assemble and apply expert opinion to substantiate your projections * Use sources such as industry magazines, associations, studies and interviews of prominent people familiar with your market.

Create a Unique Selling Advantage

You need a "competitive edge." Emphasize your advantage, make it your selling point and direct the customer to associate their needs with your company versus the competition.

Be Flexible

Your business plan should be your road map. It should allow you to check your position and direction while keeping primary objectives in mind. As you monitor your progress, you will need to peiodically implement mid-course corrections.

Use Technology to Good Advantage

There are many cost-effective ways to invest in technology that can be a tremendous help to you in developing portions of your business. Do some research and make the right technology investment.

Pay Attention to Packaging and Presentation

Your business plan should be clean, simple, well prepared, clearly written, error-free and appropriately bound. If you are presenting the business plan to prospective financial sources, you should bind the materials in such a way that they will open flat on a desk top.

* Your plan should look impressive, not slick. * Let the visual form reflect the quality of the content.

Present the Business Plan Skillfully and Graphically

Consider using projection technology and similar support equipment when presenting your business plan to prospective funders. Presenting the economic and chart-oriented information in attractive visual ways will help to solidify your position. It will speed up the presentation and make the important facts quickly accessible.

Use Outside Resources and Experts Consider budgeting for hiring professionals to help you with writing your plan. Make these outside resources part of your team and the future success of your business. Remember: it takes an entrepreneur to help an entrepreneur!

Chase and Associates can be reached at Suite 715, 11 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108, by calling 617-720-5851 or faxing 617-367-9231.

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