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A good marketing campaign is often the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one. After all, how can you expect to support yourself by doing wedding photography let's say, if no couples even know you exist? Marketing yourself is a continual process that you will have to work on throughout the life of your business and it all starts with your business plan. Business plans are the documents that get you started by helping convince investors that you're worth the risk. Use our tips to make sure your business plan is sending the message you want received.
Imagine that you're a banker. You receive two applications for business loans. One of them, for an international cell phone retailer, is printed on white paper from a computer program with legible fonts, elegant bullet points, and illustrative graphs. The other, for a Day Care, is hand drawn in crayon on bright pink paper and uses cute children's phrasing. Which one would you choose? Remember: just because your business is irreverent does not mean your banker appreciates irony.
Incomplete business plans give the impression that you're not willing to work hard to accomplish your goals, and therefore make a bad impression on investors. Lay out each stage of your plan from start up to normal running procedures. Budget each stage carefully. Make notes of where everything you need will come from. For instance, if you're opening a bed and breakfast, how much will it cost to wash the linens? Toronto is a city full of businesses, and bankers need to know you have a clear idea of what you're doing before they sign.
Just because you WANT to open a particular business, does not necessarily mean that there is a niche in the market for you. Who will your competition be? How many people in the city will be in need of your services? How much disposable income do they have? Are there properties existing in Halifax already you could lease or will you have to build your own? By consulting statistics and doing your own research, you should have the answers to any question a banker might ask and proof that your assertions are true.
Investors are looking for businesses that will be successful, so naturally you want to play up your strengths. Do not, however, embellish or create a business plan that predicts an unrealistic level of success. Don't say you managed a business or specialized in a product if you have not. Remember: your investors will still be involved in five years, so if you predict you will have made them a million dollars by that time, you had better be able to do it.