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Business plans need to be understandable at a glance to attract funding.
If your business plan includes some supporting data in the form of charts and tables, use a two-column layout to juxtapose text with its corresponding data.
Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that your business plan design feels clean and professional and doesn’t distract from your content.
While the SWOT matrix does have a place in the world of business communications, it’s not necessarily the best way to present your competitive landscape.
The SWOT matrix doesn’t make it easy to see at a glance the key characteristics that differentiate your business from your competitors.
Tables are usually the best choice for this kind of financial summary, as they provide an unbiased view of the numbers and allow investors to look up specific values.
If you’re just starting your business and you don’t have any detailed revenue data, you can still provide useful information about your budget.One of the reasons that so many small businesses fail is that they don't do the necessary up front work to create an accurate and realistic business plan.Creating a business plan doesn't guarantee success, but the process of writing a plan is critical for any successful new business.You want your information, not your formatting, to be the focus!In business plan charts, color should be used only to clarify trends and relationships.Word allows you to assign format Styles to text and paragraphs, and we've designed the template to use these Styles for defining headings, sub-headings, and figure captions.If you want to add a new section so that the Table of Contents updates correctly, just add a new heading in the body of the document and assign it the Heading 1 or Heading 2 style.Update (7/22/2016): We've added a basic break-even analysis worksheet to the companion Excel workbook.This template provides a business plan outline with sample questions, tables, and a working table of contents.Use a Gantt chart (a sort of modified bar chart) to outline the major milestones and phases of your business strategy.Try to include a multi-year plan, broken down by quarter and by project or department.