Creating a business plan and doing it well can help your new venture raise money, recruit good people, and focus your own thinking.

Before you begin, talk with investors and entrepreneurs. Even those who would not back you financially could have valuable ideas, according to Dyan Machan of Smart Money. And talk with prospective customers to see if your idea needs fine tuning.

  • Present your plan to a  carefully selected audience. Focus on one industry or one problem.
  • Keep it interesting. Start with a well-designed first page and don’t let your listeners get bored.
  • Be realistic. Oversized income projections will make you less believable. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • Recognize your competition. Take into account forces that will compete with your product or service.
  • Avoid repeating the same idea or fact in different forms. Use colorful language and imagery to describe your venture.
  • Discuss your ideas and goals in simple, specific terms that almost anyone would understand. In INC., California business consultant Akira Hirai recommends avoiding a lot of jargon.
  • Make certain that every fact about your industry, the market and competitors is accurate. Be sure any chart in your plan is consistent with other material.
  • Before presenting the business plan, have an experienced person check it for any mistake or inconsistency.
  • Create a plan that expresses your idea and your personality. It should be one that states your case, that you are comfortable with, and that you can discuss.