How to write a business plan – and use it

Published by The Telegraph

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Whether you’re seeking finance for your start-up or just looking to begin trading, it’s important to put together a strong business plan.

1. Start off with a basic outline that will make sense to funders

“Begin with an executive summary – two pages, maximum three. You need to sell your business to recipients to encourage them to keep reading. Within it, you must:

Demonstrate your understanding of the market, its trends and dynamics in practical and example-based ways.
Where possible, show that you have a balanced and experienced team – for example, operations, finance, sales, tech/innovation – or at least access to professionals with these skills.
What’s your unique selling proposition? Why should people buy from you? If not, how is it differentiated? Is it faster, cheaper or does it offer a better experience?
Think about sustainability: is your business addressing a continuing need rather than a passing fashion?
What is the business model? How will you make money?
Proof of concept: this is hugely important. The more you can prove that this is much more than an idea – that people want your product/service, and (even better) they’re already paying for it – the easier it will be to raise money.”…

6. Get to market as quickly as possible

“This is not a race to beat the competition – it’s to validate your business model, especially since your plan will be based on assumptions that might be unrealistic. My motto is ‘fail fast’ – if a project is going to fail, get there before losing too much time and money.”

Tips by Doron Cohen, co-founder and chief executive of Covercy, and co-founder of Leverate…