Every entrepreneur has a common question: Where am I going to get the money to start my business? After all, as the saying goes, it takes money to make money.
But before seeking a loan or angel investment, it is paramount for entrepreneurs to first subscribe to a methodical approach by developing a solid business plan.
In this three-part series, Credo explores the nexus of creating a business plan that will not only tell your business’s story, but will do so in such a way to compel investment.
To begin, a business plan should be precisely what it sounds like: a document that describes a business, its objectives, and how it will achieve said goals. While there are endless templates and forms for business plans, the document should ultimately outline the operational and financial goals of the business in a future state, no matter the format.
Yet before outlining the future profits or details of your product/service, you first need to anchor your audience with the business’s purpose. A plan should not be solely focused on the ins and outs of making money; rather, the key starting point should be in answering the question: “Why do we exist?”
In building your mission statement, you should describe the purpose of your business. For instance, the Tim Tebow Foundation’s mission statement has multiple focuses, including the support of those with special needs and combatting human trafficking. Specifically, their mission is to “bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.” What a great way to immediately center purpose in one sentence! With this in mind, a good mission statement should aim to nurture the interest of the reader/listener.
Next comes your executive summary, the natural extension of your mission statement. This summary will lead the consumer from an idea to a 30,000-foot, pragmatic view on what the business is about. For this section, let’s examine Johnson & Johnson as a prime example in their one-page, one-minute-read executive summary: https://www.jnj.com/credo/.
Of course, J&J has been around for over 130 years, so they have had some practice. And as you can see, that practice has resulted in a comprehensive, yet easy-to-understand executive summary that appeals to a wide range of readers. They articulate the purpose of the business for employees, customers, shareholders, and the general community at large.
As an entrepreneur, you can—and should—take these examples to help you answer the question of what makes you, the business owner, tick. Ultimately, your mission statement and executive summary should be written from an external perspective, so that readers can easily familiarize themselves with what you stand for and who you and your business are.
- What is the purpose of your business?
- How are you communicating this message to potential clients? To employees? To investors?
- Are you losing sight of the business’s purpose?