A business plan? I’m selling my small business, not going for a college degree!

There’s an old bit of advice for selling your small business: “if the numbers aren’t good, the story had better be!”
Like most bromides, there’s a certain amount of truth in the advice.

Increasingly sophisticated buyers want to know a lot more than a current financial snapshot of your company — they want to know where the company (and they see themselves at the helm) could go.

Business plans are the blueprints of a business. They describe the framework, and the foundations for your business and they show where additions to the current structure can go. Business plans are, quite simply, a statement of the core business concept, descriptions of the business opportunity, awareness of competition, and hard-won lessons learned about the keys to success.

Rather than being dusty obligations to slog through, good business plans are terrific sales tools.

The next several blog entries will touch on some of the elements of this kind of a document, but, if you’re really impatient, bplans.com offers examples of full business plans for small companies.

1. Restaurant, Cafe, & Bakery
29 plans for restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and other eateries

2. Beauty Salon & Day Spa
7 plans for hair salons, beauty parlors, and day spas

3. Real Estate
12 plans for realtors, mortgage brokers, and related companies

4. Coffee Shop
6 plans for coffee shops and Internet cafes

5. Retail & Online Store
77 plans for retail stores and online retailing businesses

6. Computer Consulting
29 plans for computer repair, reseller, and consulting

  1. I’m wondering if you’ve had your clients create a One Page Business Plan(r) as the first start in selling their business?

    If so, how has that helped them.

    When I work with a client on their one-page business plan(r) I have them create a vision for their exist/succession strategy.

    They think I”m nuts… but making decisions keeping the short and long term realities of your business in sight, just helps in the decision making process.


  2. I haven’t used the One Page Business Plan but — frankly — I’ve been wondering about using it with companies.
    Now — I *have* seen brevity of writing used with great results.

    Years ago I was working with a company (another context, but, that’s a whole n’other story) that wanted to focus its business offering in order to be acquired. They dithered around for a long time with Mission and Vision statements in something only vaguely approaching understandable English and finally, in frustration, called in a consultant. He reminded the company (5 person software deployment focus) that what they did *best* was quite simple. They helped companies evaluate in-house knowledgebase / database needs and when appropriate, did the hardware and software ‘stuff’ to get Lotus Notes running in-house.

    At the end of the day (well, OK, at the end of a consulting gig) the company redid its logo and changed its business cards to reflect the essence of the company.

    From that point on, the small company was known as the group with the following stated purpose: “WE DO NOTES”

    An amazing bit of clarity — even more so given the tendency of consultants to engage in puffery with large words and even larger claims. In THAT case though, less was all that they needed.

    They grew. And yes, they were acquired.

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