When you’re writing up a business plan, whether to get a bank loan, to show investors or for anyone else who may be interested in your future business, or for any other purpose, you’ll need to start with a good cover page. After all, if you can’t get and keep the reader’s attention from the beginning, not only will they lose interest in what you have to say, they might not be as convinced of your ability to get the attention of customers or clients. This online course will help you write your full business plan. A good cover page, though, will bring in the reader and convince them that you know what you’re doing.
Although you’ll want the name of your company to feature clearly on your cover page, keep in mind that if you’re working on a new start up, the name likely won’t be especially meaningful to the readers. Instead, you may want to use a different headline that tells them what you are and what you’re doing while also engaging them.
After the headline, you’ll need to make sure you have your business name and your industry, as well as what stage of development you’re in, whether first-stage or second-stage financing, for example.
You’ll also want the words “business plan” to be prominently featured, because your business plan may be passed along to readers who haven’t already been told what it is, and unlike with some other types of documents, it may not be immediately apparent that this is a business plan. Include the date of the plan as well, to let readers know how recently this was developed and, when you’re getting into multiple versions, to help indicate draft status for each copy.
You may want to put a slogan or tagline, or a logo if you have it, on the front. However, you don’t need to, and it shouldn’t be something you’re especially worried about. This may be more important if you’re in a trendier field, or one particularly concerned with style and image.
Although you may not be focused on style, you’ll still want your cover to look attractive and professional. A good font will be clean and readable while still looking good. Depending on your field, you may want to use a more traditional font like Times New Roman, or you might want to use something more stylized. There may also be fonts that have associations more relevant to your field or particular business. The color scheme should keep the text legible and not be too distracting. While you do want to draw attention, the most important thing to focus on while designing your cover page is conveying information. Pay attention to the font size—key information such as the business name and any slogan should be larger in order to be more prominent.
Your own name and your contact information should be prominently featured on the front page. This is another way to establish your identity, and is also the best place to show readers how to reach you. You may also want to list two or three other top people in the company, and describe their positions and potentially a few words about what they bring to the business.
When writing up a business plan for a specific presentation, you’ll likely also want to list the presentation date as well as the entity or person you’re presenting to. This is part of making the business plan more tailored to the situation, and will also help you keep your own records straight.
There’s a limit to how deep you’ll want to go into your company’s operations on the front page, since too much clutter will turn off readers. However, you may want to put a brief summary, especially if you’ve already been in operation for a little while. Along with describing your area of operation and how your business fits into your industry, you can mention the geographic area you’re operating in.
A business summary would also include a description of your products and chain of production, or your services and how you intend to provide them, as well as existing supply contracts. For new products, you’ll want to describe the stage and process of development. This online course will help you develop the strategy you’ll be laying out.
Finally, you’ll also want to be clear on what kind of finances you intend to raise, as well as any collateral you might be offering, and what kind of return you expect to be able to give investors; for example, point out if you have plans to sell the business. The fundraising strategies in this online course will give you some good ideas.
Using this kind of information, you can use this summary on the cover page as a brief outline of the information that will be laid out in more detail in your business plan.
Once you’ve got a professional-looking business plan in place, this online course can help you get your business off the ground successfully.