A business plan is a formal statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. It may also contain background information about the organisation or team attempting to reach those goals. Creating a business plan will help you achieve your entrepreneurial goals. A clear and compelling business plan provides you with a guide for building a successful enterprise focused on achieving your personal and financial goals. It can also help persuade others, including banks, to invest in what you’re creating.
As an aspiring business owner/student entrepreneur, the Business Plan Competition offers you an unparalleled opportunity to receive guidance as you launch a new venture in addition to the chance to win a huge amount of money. As a Business Plan Competition entrant, working with a team gives you the opportunity to write your own success story, here is how to prepare to enter a business plan competition:
- Build skills in a real-world setting: working on a business plan team enables you to build skills such as leadership; the ability to work in a team; and written and communication work.
- Network with industry professionals: you are able to network with industry professionals and also present your idea to real investors to be judged as well.
- Prepare you to succeed in a global business arena: exchange ideas with the brightest and most creative minds.
- Get advice and mentoring: seasoned entrepreneurs, industry experts and entrepreneurship mentors help you navigate the entrepreneurship process.
- Win prize money: you also have the opportunity to win the prize money at stake from the business plan competition.
Here are some tips to prepare you for a Business Plan Competition:
- Pick a Strong Team
It is important for you to pick a strong team when preparing for a business plan competition. You have to make sure you get the most amazing people on your team, those that would contribute immensely towards your business plan as well as smart and hard workers who are team players.
- Give Yourself Time To Prepare
The earlier the preparation for the business plan competition begins the better the plan is as it is difficult to get away with shoddy preparations. Business plan competitions require an initial submission, sometimes called the “intent to compete entry”, which normally consists of a two-to-three page executive summary explaining all elements of the business namely product, market, competition, finances and operations. Winning a competition also requires far more than a well-researched, passionately conveyed idea. It’s important to seek feedback from entrepreneurs who’ve sailed through similar contests.
- Defined Roles For Your Team
You should make sure your team members know their roles. In short, clearly defined roles are essential so everyone is aware of the task(s) he or she is handling. It is also important to have an honest discussion together on what your team wants to accomplish, such as how you want to start the business and who will do what.
- Use Your Resources To Plan Well
It is key to use your resources, majorly human/labour and capital, to plan well ahead of the business plan competition. This involves getting the optimum/best out of the resources available to your team efficiently and effectively.
- Don’t Shade Your Eyes, Summarize
No matter how exciting your idea is or how great your team can be, be sure to tread carefully as you can still create a meaningful summary in 10 pages.
- Writing An Executive Summary
Hit these highlights, and customize your executive summary for the intended audience.
- Estimating Unknown Expenses
How do you predict expenses? Normally you need some experience. If you have no idea, then you might think again about starting this business.
- Focus On The Customer
Do well to understand the mindset of the consumer (customer), understand what it is they have to do and use those insights to develop a thoroughbred idea. An idea becomes a thriving one, when it focuses on consumers. If you have the greatest product in the world with no customer then you have no business.
- Be An Expert On Your Product And Its Market
It becomes an added advantage if you are not just presenting an idea but has put a lot of effort into making it happen already in real life and could potentially use the funding from the business plan competition to move it forward.
- Make It Engaging
It is important to make the idea more engaging. On paper, it should be simple and memorable. If it gets to be more than about nine words, stop and make a new sentence as long as you get across the message without getting caught up in your own cleverness.