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Unlock the secret sauce behind a great business plans through 4 key numbers

In brief

Crafting a successful business plan is not an easy task. This post aims at unveiling 4 major facts that anyone should know for increasing the odds of succeeding in this key exercise. This post aims to Unlock the secret sauce behind great business plans through 4 key numbers.

This is done through analyzing 4 main facts around business plans that are:

  • Cases where you need a high quality business plan
  • Key skills needed to succeed your business plan like a pro
  • Classic mistakes that make a business plan go from pro to amateur
  • Formats of a pro business plan

7 different cases where you need a high quality business plan 

The first number Among the Secret sauce behind a great business plans through 4 key numbers is 7. Seven as the different cases where you need a high quality business plan.

Assessing a new venture idea: 

This is the most common and most obvious usage of a business plan. You have a new business idea and you want simply to assess objectively its real worth.

Defining quantitatively your roadmap

Once a business idea is validated, it’s time to move to concrete actions. But what action to start with, and what will be the following one. This is where a business plan is used as well. A list of objectives and actions is also called a roadmap. 

Examples of actions would be: How many human resources should we hire. How much material resources should we buy or rent? What would be the most important features to start building?

Integrating a new market

Integrating a new market should not be confused with launching a new product or service. In fact, integrating a new market stands for proposing the same products and services for new audiences and customers. 

This is typically the case when an American cyber security agency expands its offer behind the US borders to tackle the Canadian and British markets for example.

In this case, a business plan is key in order to assess the current competition in the new market, the local cultural specificity and preferences, identify the needed changes to be applied to the product or service to make it fit the new market etc.

Launching a new product

A business plan is not only used for building a new business, it’s also used for expanding an already existing one. This is the case when a given venture decides to expand its portfolio of offers.

It’s key to start by elaborating an insightful business plan to outline the current competition in the ecosystem of the new offer. This is in addition to identifying the frustrations and expectations of the current customers. Or to identify the local internal weaknesses that should be healed in order to be able to design, build and commercialize the new product.

Defending a new product or service

Defending a new product or service through a business plan is mainly done by employees, like product managers, inside small to big corporations.

Let’s take the example of an employee that has a new product idea to propose to his hierarchy. Going convincing them is way more credible when he has an objective business plan than when he doesn’t.

At the end of the day, this is what is expected from a business plan: To assess new business ideas objectively, to organize ideas and actions, in addition to preparing tangible and convincing arguments to make people follow the movement.


Products and services are not immortal, even the most successful ones. Repositioning a product or service aims at rethinking its identity and value proposition, sometimes it stands for creating it from scratch. 

On the other hand, repositioning aims at leveraging the already existing brand strength of the product before replacing it by a more adequate one.

This is where a business plan can provide a big value in this case, it’s typically in setting up the right balance between how much the product should be visited without losing its heritage identity.

Let’s take the example of the electric car industry where the biggest car manufacturers had to revisit their products due to this huge trend. They kept at the same time their herited look and feel as much as possible. 


Fundraising is certainly one of the spots where business plans are used the most. They stand for crafting a persuasive business plan that shows concretely and objectively the strengths of the proposed business ideas.

In order to write a successful business plan for fundraising, the crucial points are: Argued facts, concrete numbers and realism.

The appearance and outside elegance of a business plan for fundraising is almost as important as its content.

6 Key skills needed to succeed your business plan like a pro

The second number Among the Secret sauce behind a great business plans through 4 key numbers is 6. Six as the number of key skills needed to succeed your business plan like a pro.

Market research

Market research is undoubtedly the most important technical skill for crafting a professional business plan. Indeed, a business plan is assessed by the quality and veracity of the facts that it contains. Market research is by definition used for that very purpose.

What is meant here by market research is not only online market research, and even less plain google research. What is meant rather by market research here is desktop research, interviews, surveys, focus groups, data collection and analysis etc. 

Writing and storytelling

Writing and storytelling are certainly considerable soft and hard skills for any business plan writer. These skills make the information flow smoothly and persuasively, which can only help the business plan to be even more impactful.


Copywriting is the art of writing for persuading. Persuasion can be for selling, influencing or triggering an action. Copywriting should not be confused with writing. Indeed, writing is about clarity and elegance of the content. Whereas copywriting has one single goal which is to convince people to take a specific action.

It’s obvious that associating the two is very powerful, but it’s important to understand the subtle difference between the two.

Finance and Accounting 

Numbers are key in any business plan, especially the financial numbers. Finance and accounting are very often the most scary part of a business plan for the majority of its writers. This is true especially when these writers are not trained about these very technical skills.

On the other hand, let’s keep in mind that the majority of the readers of a business plan are not finance and accounting experts.

Consequently, as long as the written content here is consistent and based on defendable assumptions, it should do the work. 

Besides, it’s important to take some training about the glossary and significance of the technical terms of these fields. It’s also possible to request the help of finance and accounting experts if needed to review the first draft of the proposed plans.

Marketing and business strategy

A business plan by definition is about vision and planning. Consequently, it’s by nature imbedding marketing and business strategy at many spots. This can be seen through business models that aim at presenting complex business information in a graphical way.

Marketing and business strategy stand for making assumptions about the future and prepare an action and business plans accordingly.

Domain knowledge

The main difference between an average business plan and a professional business plan is accuracy. Domain knowledge helps a lot in that part. 

For example, a social media specialist can help craft a great business plan about a SaaS targeting social media platforms. Whereas a brain surgeon will likely not be able to provide as much value for the same kind of a business plan.

5 successful formats of a professional business plan

The third number Among the Secret sauce behind a great business plans through 4 key numbers is 5. Five as the number of successful formats of a professional business plan.

Written report

The written report is the most common format of a business plan. It’s almost inevitable especially in the case when a formal business plan is requested like for fundraising.

Written reports should exhibit the main expected sections of a business plan. It’s the most exhaustive and complete format of a business plan.

On the other hand, in some cases it can be seen as a deprecated and dull format, like in the case of crowdfunding online platforms, where more dynamic and catchy contents like videos are requested.


Slides are another common format for a business plan. It’s also the perfect balance between depth and lightness. 

A slides format contains the same typical sections for a classic business plan. The main difference is that the slides format tends to be more graphical and way less textual.


Video formats are gaining exponential popularity especially for online audiences. Some crowdfunding platforms even impose a video version of the business plan. 

This is undoubtedly the most catchy and engaging format. It’s on the other hand less used among classic environments like within historic big corporations and Venture Capitalists (VCs).


An infographic is a graphic catchy way of presenting complex information. This format aims at presenting the business model, especially the executive summary or elevator pitch, in a very digestible way.

This format is often very viral and successful with graphical social media like Pinterest, Instagram etc.

Audio content

Audio content is getting increasing momentum with the continuous emergence of podcasts and audio books. It’s still on the other hand a relatively rare way of presenting a business plan. But it should not be neglected since it’s a quick win especially if one or several of the other formats is already ready.

5 classic mistakes that make a business plan go from pro to amateur

The fourth number Among the Secret sauce behind a great business plans through 4 key numbers is also 5. Five as the number of classic mistakes that make a business plan go from pro to amateur.

Little quantitative facts

Numerous business plan writers don’t take enough time in gathering and analyzing quantitative facts. What is meant by quantitative facts are all the quantitative data, whether primary or secondary, that should be included in a business plan. This encompasses results from surveys, statistical evidence from third party resources etc.

Most average business plans contain more qualitative data than quantitative data. Great business plans contain a balance between these two types of data. They should even contain primary quantitative data.

Filled of fluffy and low quality text

Text is the main information transporter in a business plan. Obviously, its quality has a direct impact on the final worth of the business plan. Most business plan writers do not put enough emphasis on the quality of the text. They think that facts and financial figures will matter the most.

Great business planners double and triple check the level of their writing. They even outsource the proofreading to professional writers. Which can only take the final business plan to the next level.

Low quality design

The look and feel of a business plan is as important as its content. Very often, digital entrepreneurs are techy people that do not care naturally about appearance and emphasize more on the content.

A great business plan balances the high quality of the look and feel with the high quality of the content.

Unverified assumptions and hypothesis

Most business plan writers are in love with their business ideas. Like a parent in front of his child, he’s blind to imperfections and sees everything as ideal.

This is the most tricky pitfall when writing a business plan. It’s how to keep your head as cold as possible and as objective as possible.

A great business plan is factual, objective and focuses equally on weaknesses, threats, strengths and opportunities.

Irrelevant team

The human resources or team section is seen as the most important section by business angels and Venture Capitalists (VCs). This is because even if the idea is not perfect, it can be fine tuned and optimized if the good team is onboard.

The ideal team should be a complementary one that covers the three main pillars of creating a business, especially tech businesses. These three pillars are: Technical part, sales and marketing part and the administrative part.

Great business plans present human resources in such a way that it proves that these three pillars are very well covered.

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