Starting up a business is an exciting time, but writing a business plan can seem daunting initially. However, being able to write a good business plan is an essential skill to have for any entrepreneur or new business looking to increase their chance of survival.
This situation is complicated by the fact that many venture capitalists will refuse to sign an NDA before looking at a business plan, lest it put them in the untenable position of looking at two independently developed look-alike business plans, both claiming originality. In such situations one may need to develop two versions of the business plan: a stripped down plan that can be used to develop a relationship and a detail plan that is only shown when investors have sufficient interest and trust to sign an NDA.
Traditionally business plans have been highly confidential and quite limited in audience. The business plan itself is generally regarded as secret. An open business plan is a business plan with unlimited audience. The business plan is typically web published and made available to all. In the free software and open source business model, trade secrets, copyright and patents can no longer be used as effective locking mechanisms to provide sustainable advantages to a particular business and therefore a secret business plan is less relevant in those models.
Attention to detail. A plan that is concise and clear reads professionally so don't make yours too wordy. The reader needs enough detail and information to be able to make an informed decision. As with all professional documents, care must be taken to avoid spelling mistakes and use correct grammar and punctuation. A plan that makes absurd or unrealistic assumptions is of no use so stick to the facts and make sure you are making credible projections and accurate content at all times.
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