Plan Your Business Exit: Secure Your Legacy


Starting a business is often a labor of love. You invest your time, energy, and resources into nurturing it, watching it grow, and reaping the rewards of your hard work. But one aspect of entrepreneurship that many business owners tend to overlook is planning for the inevitable end of their journey. Every business, no matter how successful, must come to an end at some point. That’s why every business owner needs an exit plan, and in this article, we’ll explore why it’s crucial to develop one.

The Inevitability of Change

Change is an undeniable part of life, and the business world is no exception. Markets evolve, consumer preferences shift, and economic conditions fluctuate. Just as you had to adapt and change your business strategy to survive and thrive, you’ll eventually need to adapt to the changes that signal the end of your tenure as a business owner. An exit plan prepares you for these changes, ensuring a smoother transition.

Protecting Your Legacy

You’ve put your heart and soul into building your business. You’ve created something of value that reflects your vision and hard work. Without an exit plan, your legacy might be at risk. Careful planning allows you to protect your brand, reputation, and the goodwill you’ve established in your community.

Maximizing Value

An exit plan isn’t just about closing shop. It’s also about maximizing the value of your business. Whether you’re looking to sell your company, pass it on to family members, or explore other options, a well-thought-out exit plan helps you fetch the best possible price for your hard-earned assets. The earlier you start planning, the more opportunities you have to enhance the value of your business.

Peace of Mind

Running a business can be stressful. The uncertainties that come with the entrepreneurial journey can keep you up at night. An exit plan provides peace of mind, knowing that you have a well-defined path for the future. It helps reduce anxiety and allows you to focus on what matters most—running and growing your business in the present.

A Smooth Transition

One of the greatest challenges for any business owner is ensuring a smooth transition when the time comes to step down. An exit plan helps facilitate this transition, whether you’re handing the reins to a family member, selling to a third party, or implementing an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). A well-executed transition is not only good for the business but also for your personal well-being.

Tax and Legal Considerations

Exiting a business can come with complex tax and legal implications. Without an exit plan, you might find yourself in a situation where you’re not optimizing your tax strategy or inadvertently violating legal regulations. Proper planning ensures you’re compliant with all laws and that you minimize tax liabilities.

A Retirement Strategy

For many entrepreneurs, their business is their retirement plan. It’s their most valuable asset, and they rely on its value to fund their retirement years. However, it’s essential to plan for your retirement beyond your business. An exit plan helps you diversify your assets and create a solid financial strategy for your post-business life.


As a business owner, developing an exit plan is not a sign of giving up; it’s a sign of responsible, forward-thinking entrepreneurship. Your business journey will inevitably come to an end, and a well-considered exit plan ensures that end is as successful and rewarding as the journey itself. It protects your legacy, maximizes value, and provides you with the peace of mind to focus on what matters most right now running and growing your business. So, don’t wait; it’s time to develop your exit plan. Your future self will thank you for it.

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Business Models and Innovation: Fueling Growth and Success

Business Models

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, innovation has become a cornerstone of success. Organizations that can adapt and embrace new ideas have a competitive advantage over their counterparts. One key aspect of this innovation journey is the development of effective business models that can drive growth, profitability, and sustainable success. In this article, we will explore the relationship between business models and innovation, highlighting their significance in creating a thriving business ecosystem.

Understanding Business Models

A business model can be defined as a framework that outlines how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value. It encompasses various components, such as target customers, value propositions, revenue streams, distribution channels, and cost structure. A well-designed business model aligns these elements in a coherent manner, enabling a company to generate revenue while delivering superior customer experiences.

The Role of Innovation in Business Models

Innovation plays a pivotal role in shaping and refining business models. It allows companies to identify and exploit new opportunities, respond to emerging market trends, and stay ahead of the competition. By fostering a culture of innovation, organizations can break away from traditional methods and embrace new approaches to problem-solving, product development, and customer engagement.

Types of Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation can occur in various forms, ranging from incremental improvements to radical transformations. Let’s explore some common types of business model innovations:

Value Proposition Innovation: This involves enhancing the core value delivered to customers by improving existing products/services or creating new ones that cater to emerging needs and preferences.

Revenue Model Innovation: Companies can explore alternative revenue streams by adopting new pricing models, subscription-based services, licensing agreements, or leveraging data monetization opportunities.

Distribution Channel Innovation: With the rise of digital platforms, companies can leverage e-commerce, online marketplaces, and social media channels to reach customers directly, cutting out intermediaries and reducing costs.

Cost Structure Innovation: Organizations can optimize their operations, streamline processes, and leverage technology to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance profitability.

Ecosystem Innovation: Collaborative partnerships, strategic alliances, and platform-based models can create synergies and unlock new sources of value by integrating complementary products or services.

Benefits of Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation offers several compelling benefits for organizations willing to embrace it:

Competitive Advantage: By introducing novel approaches and value propositions, companies can differentiate themselves from competitors and gain a unique market position.

Adaptability and Resilience: A flexible business model allows organizations to adapt to changing market dynamics, technological advancements, and evolving customer needs, ensuring long-term viability.

Revenue Growth: Successful business model innovation can unlock new revenue streams, expand market reach, and attract new customer segments, resulting in accelerated growth.

Customer-Centricity: Innovation-driven business models prioritize customer needs and preferences, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Attraction of Talent and Investment: Companies with innovative business models often attract top talent and investor interest, providing access to resources and further fueling growth.


Innovation is the lifeblood of any successful business, and the design of an effective business model is the canvas on which innovation can thrive. By continuously exploring new ideas, experimenting with different approaches, and adapting to evolving market conditions, organizations can stay ahead of the curve and drive sustainable growth. Embracing business model innovation enables companies to unlock new opportunities, deliver exceptional value to customers, and secure a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic business landscape.

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Strategic Pathways: Unleashing Business Planning for Success


In the dynamic and ever-changing business landscape, having a solid plan and a well-defined strategy is crucial for long-term success. Effective business planning and strategy development help organizations navigate uncertainties, seize opportunities, and achieve their objectives. In this blog article, we will explore the key elements of business planning and strategy development, along with practical tips to help you master this essential aspect of running a successful business.

Understanding Business Planning:

Business planning involves setting objectives, identifying strategies, and outlining the actions necessary to achieve those objectives. It provides a roadmap for success and serves as a guide for decision-making and resource allocation. A comprehensive business plan typically includes elements such as an executive summary, market analysis, competitive assessment, financial projections, and implementation strategies.

The Importance of Strategy Development:

While business planning focuses on the overall direction and objectives, strategy development delves deeper into the specific approaches and tactics needed to achieve those objectives. Developing a robust strategy involves analyzing the competitive landscape, identifying market opportunities, assessing internal capabilities, and aligning resources to maximize competitive advantage. A well-crafted strategy provides clarity, sets priorities, and ensures efficient resource allocation.

Key Steps in Business Planning and Strategy Development:

A. Conduct a Situation Analysis: Begin by evaluating your internal and external environment. Assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) to gain a comprehensive understanding of your business’s current state and competitive landscape.

B. Define Clear Objectives: Establish specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. Clear objectives provide a sense of purpose and direction for your business and serve as a yardstick for evaluating success.

C. Identify Target Market and Customers: Determine your target market segment and identify your ideal customers. Understand their needs, preferences, and buying behavior to tailor your strategies accordingly.

D. Develop Competitive Strategies: Analyze your competition and devise strategies to differentiate your business. Identify unique value propositions and develop competitive advantages that set you apart from others in the market.

E. Create an Action Plan: Outline the specific actions and initiatives required to achieve your objectives. Break down your plan into manageable tasks, set timelines, and assign responsibilities to ensure accountability and smooth execution.

F. Monitor and Evaluate: Regularly review your progress against the set objectives and make adjustments as needed. Monitor market trends, consumer behavior, and industry developments to remain agile and responsive to changes.

Tips for Effective Business Planning and Strategy Development:

A. Foster a Culture of Innovation: Encourage creativity and foster an environment where new ideas can thrive. Embrace innovation as a key driver of growth and adaptability.

B. Involve Key Stakeholders: Engage key stakeholders, including employees, customers, and partners, in the planning and strategy development process. Their input and perspectives can provide valuable insights and enhance the effectiveness of your plans.

C. Embrace Flexibility: Recognize that business environments are constantly evolving. Build flexibility into your plans and strategies to accommodate unforeseen changes and seize emerging opportunities.

D. Leverage Technology: Utilize technology tools and platforms to streamline planning processes, gather data-driven insights, and enhance collaboration within your organization.

E. Continuously Learn and Improve: Regularly assess the outcomes of your planning and strategy efforts. Learn from successes and failures, incorporate feedback, and adapt your approach to improve future outcomes.


Business planning and strategy development are critical components of achieving long-term success in today’s competitive marketplace. By understanding the key elements and following the steps outlined in this article, you can develop a robust plan and strategy that align with your business objectives, adapt to changing circumstances, and drive sustainable growth. Remember to embrace innovation, involve stakeholders, and remain agile as you navigate the ever-evolving business landscape.

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Market Research Unleashed: Mastering Insights for Effective Marketing

Market Research

In today’s highly competitive business landscape, understanding the target audience, market size, customer needs, and competition has become paramount for success. This is where market research steps in as a powerful tool, enabling businesses to gather vital information that drives informed decision-making and the development of effective marketing strategies. In this article, we will delve into the significance of market research and explore the essential steps involved in conducting comprehensive research to uncover valuable insights.

Defining the Purpose and Objectives:

Before embarking on market research, it’s crucial to clearly define the purpose and objectives. What specific information are you seeking to uncover? Are you looking to understand customer preferences, evaluate market size, identify gaps in the market, or analyze competitor strategies? Defining the purpose will provide a clear direction for the research and ensure that the collected data is relevant and actionable.

Identifying the Target Audience:

To conduct effective market research, you must identify and understand your target audience—the individuals or groups who are most likely to engage with your product or service. Demographic factors, such as age, gender, location, and income, play a significant role in defining your target audience. By narrowing down your focus, you can gather insights specific to their needs, preferences, behavior, and purchasing patterns.

Choosing the Right Research Methodology:

Market research can be approached through various methodologies, depending on the nature of the information you seek. Quantitative research involves collecting numerical data through surveys, questionnaires, and statistical analysis, providing insights into market size and customer preferences. Qualitative research, on the other hand, focuses on gathering in-depth insights through methods like interviews, focus groups, and observations. Combining both methodologies can yield a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and market dynamics.

Gathering Data on Market Size and Potential:

Understanding the size and potential of your target market is crucial for strategic decision-making. Through market sizing techniques, you can estimate the total addressable market (TAM), serviceable available market (SAM), and your share of the market (SOM). This data enables you to gauge the growth potential, identify market trends, and assess the feasibility of your business objectives.

Exploring Customer Needs and Preferences:

To develop products or services that resonate with your target audience, you must gain a deep understanding of their needs, pain points, and preferences. Surveys, interviews, and focus groups can help uncover valuable insights into what customers value most, their motivations, and the challenges they face. This knowledge empowers you to tailor your offerings, improve customer satisfaction, and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Analyzing Competition:

Analyzing the competitive landscape is a critical aspect of market research. By studying your competitors’ strategies, products, pricing, distribution channels, and marketing tactics, you can identify gaps in the market and potential areas for differentiation. This analysis enables you to position your brand effectively and develop strategies that highlight your unique value proposition.

Making Informed Decisions and Developing Effective Marketing Strategies:

Armed with the insights gathered from market research, you can make informed decisions and develop effective marketing strategies. By aligning your offerings with customer needs, you can create targeted marketing campaigns, optimize pricing strategies, refine product features, and tailor your messaging to resonate with your audience. The data-driven approach minimizes risks and increases the likelihood of success in the market.


Market research is a powerful tool that empowers businesses to understand their target audience, assess market size and potential, analyze customer needs, and stay ahead of the competition. By conducting comprehensive research, companies can make informed decisions and develop effective marketing strategies that drive business growth. In a rapidly evolving business environment, market research remains.

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How Do You Know Your Business Ideas are Good?


Investors want to fund good business ideas. That’s a broad statement because what seems like a good idea to me may be different from what seems like a good idea to you. So many ideas never seem to go anywhere. Some are just so uninspiring that they can’t seem to get the attention of anyone, much less investors. You can even write a whole business plan around a bad idea, leading to great disappointment when investors spot the fact it’s bad.

A good business idea is much more than just an idea. You can sit there all day and come up with ideas, but that doesn’t make them good. Good business ideas have certain qualities that differentiate them from other ideas. For one thing, a good business idea fulfills an unmet customer need, and it is often a need the consumer doesn’t even recognize yet. That may sound odd, but great ideas are often not great until someone invents a product or service.

Determining if a business idea is a good one requires more than just knowing the market will appreciate products or services. The idea must be feasible and realistic in terms of production costs, the time from funding to sales, profitability and safety. A good business idea is also one that can be brought to fruition because the entrepreneurs have the knowledge and skills needed.

There are more qualities associated with good business ideas, but one of the most important is related to innovation. Good business ideas offer a new twist on products or represent creative and innovative new products. The new twist or innovation should represent something that matters to people which means it brings some kind of satisfaction.

There are no hard and fast rules or magic formula to define a good business idea. Instead, investors will consider all of the qualities of the idea coupled with the marketing, competitive and financial factors.

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Business Plan Mistakes to Avoid


Writing your business plan is probably one of the most important business duties you will assume. If you follow a quality business plans template you will cover the basics of the plans, but there are still common mistakes made by entrepreneurs that hurt their cause. It is reminiscent of the teacher in school who gave you the parts of the essay for easy outlining and then marks points off because the essay is too long or too boring.

Following are some of the most common errors made in business plans. Some of them are simple errors, but that doesn’t minimize their importance. Other are mistakes usually made due to lack of experience. Either way, these mistakes can hurt the effectiveness of the overall business plan.

  • Including more than one business model in the false belief that more information and more strategies are always better (not true!)
  • Lacking cohesiveness throughout the business plans
  • Difficult to read due to illogical or poor layout (another reason to use a business plan template)
  • Including unsupported projections or estimates
  • Not fully analyzing the competition
  • Failing to prepare all required sections of a business plans (making your plan look amateurish or as if you are hiding something)
  • No value proposition separating your business from the competition
  • Not letting anyone else read your business plan and provide feedback before submission
  • Making the business plan difficult to read because it is written using mostly hard-to-understand industry or discipline terms (i.e. your funder may not know much about technology so using technical jargon will make the plan too difficult to understand)
  • Showing lack of understanding of the niche market to be served

These are certainly not the only mistakes, but they are some of the most common. You want to avoid writing a business plan that is too long and tedious, is not well written, and is boring. Though funders are often professionals looking for the next great business investment opportunity, they are also human. Grammatical errors and boring prose can quickly discourage anyone reading the business plan. It seems your essay teacher was right all along.

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Does the Business Plan State Your Value Proposition?


The ideal business plan is composed of more than just history, marketing and financial sections. It should also convey the value proposition to the angel investors you approach about business funding. Typically, angel investors are sought after a business has been established so it’s possible to show real products, actual customers and a working business model. However, the angel investors will want to know how you define the company’s value proposition.

The business value proposition is developed with the marketplace in mind. The value proposition defines why people in the target market should buy your products or services. It defines what benefits purchase of the goods or services will provide or what problem will be solved by product or service use. It sounds like the statement would be long, but it should be kept short which forces the business owner to concisely explain the value the company is bringing to the marketplace and the relevance of the product to the customer. If it takes a long winded explanation then there’s  good chance the business owner has not fully developed the business concept.

The value proposition is important to the angel investor because it concisely differentiates the business among its competitors and reflects an alignment of business operations with the market. The value proposition must also reflect specific results or performance and is not a generalized statement that any business could use. For example, a consulting business could say that it can help customers get a high return on investment , but that would be a weak value proposition. A strong value proposition would say that the business can demonstrate customers will experience an improvement of 15% Return on Investment (ROI) by using the company’s state-of-the-art proprietary software.

Angel investors expect a business plan to have a value proposition that quantifies market results and also states the source of its competitive advantage. That should never be a problem if a company is serious about success.


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Having Trouble Writing Business Plan Goals and Objectives?


One of the important components of a business plan is clearly defining objectives. Stephen Harper in Starting Your Own Business (McGraw Hill) writes, “Objectives can be viewed as dreams with a deadline.” The point he is making is that objectives should be specific in terms of projected amounts and timeframe.

For example, you would not write an objective like this: The business will grow over the next 5 years. You would write it like this: Sales are expected to be $2 million in 5 years and the business will be one of the top 5 niche market leaders. The dreams you have for the business should look ahead and establish where you want the business to be positioned or how much growth is expected within a set period of time. The dreams should also be reasonable, based in facts and business reality, and achievable.

For example, if you plan on opening 5 franchise businesses within 10 years (1 every 5 years) the objective should be stated as such. However, you should also be able to support plans for opening these franchises in the competitive analysis section of the business plan. If the market is already close to being saturated, those 5 new franchises may be difficult to open. When objectives are focused and sensible, the business plan will become a living breathing document that supports your dream.

If you are having trouble setting objectives for the business plan, there are some questions you can ask yourself to develop focus. Ask yourself what your ultimate goal is 5 years from now. Picture yourself as an entrepreneur 5 years from today and imagine the level of business success you want to succeed. Ask yourself questions like how many sales people you hope to have working and how much market share you want to gain. Picture yourself as successful and put your definition of success in writing.

Objectives will become clear when you take the time to look into the future. Though a business plan is not a crystal ball, it is a driving force with strategies for achieving success. Set clear objectives first and the rest of the business plan will be a lot easier to develop.


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Why It Is Not Advisable to Not Have a Business Plan


When you start a business, different people will advise you differently on how to turn your venture into a success. While it looks natural to have a business plan beforehand, do not be surprised if you find some people telling you to not have one. According to some, having a business plan limits you in your exploration and prevents you from taking risks. That might hold true in some cases, but that’s not how it is for everyone. Having a business plan is a sensible step, but if you are on the fence about whether to have one or not, here are some disadvantages of not having a business plan to help you make a well-informed decision.

Why Not Having a Business Plan Is Not Advisable

1.      There Is Nothing to Achieve

Milestones have to be an integral part of any venture. When you don’t have any milestones and targets, there is nothing for you to achieve. Having no business plan is the first sign of your non-seriousness with your business. If you could not take out time to create a detailed plan, how can one expect you to manage your business – an activity that could require even up to 16 hours of continuous working at times? The problem with having nothing to achieve means you will have no strategies for your expenses, profits, revenues, etc.

How would you ever know how much you should spend or not spend? Why would you invest in marketing when you don’t have any goals?

2.      There Is Nothing to Interest Investors

There might be some proponents of the idea that a business does not require a business plan, but there are still more people who believe in having a business plan. Investors always need indicators from entrepreneurs to judge their personalities and potentials. Business plan is one of the strongest indicators of a person’s potential of doing a business. When you ask investors for a certain amount of money, the first question they ask is why you need that money or what you need that money for. Your answer to this question can make it or break it for you.

In fact, that is not the only question. They will follow up this first question with a lineup of crucial follow-up questions. For example, if you tell them you will invest the money in marketing, they will ask you about the type of marketing you are aiming for, the return you expect and the costs of customer acquisition. How can you answer all those questions if you do not have a business plan?

3.      Your Marketing Will Go Awry

One of the damages of not having a business plan is your marketing plans going awry. Entrepreneurs have more power to them today than they ever had before. These days, startup owners have internet where they can collect information about their customers in the startup stages. Collecting customer information helps them create buyer personas and target their audience with appropriate marketing. Here are some pieces of information you will have to collect.

  • What age group and gender my product appeals best to?
  • What interests my target age group and gender?
  • What platforms is my target audience most active on?
  • What is the average buying power of my target audience?
  • What type of content best attracts my target audience?
  • What expectations do my potential customers have with my product?
  • How can I personalize my marketing to my audience?

That’s just few of the many questions that you have to get the answers for to make your marketing endeavors profitable. However, all of this homework is a part of your business plan.

4.      Your Team Won’t Share Your Vision

It is crucial for a business’ success to have a team that shares the same vision and endeavors to achieve it. Several studies and researches have proven that employees do not perform at their best when they don’t understand the vision well. You must define clear and vivid targets to your employees for them to know exactly what they have to do to be of value for the company. What you have to realize is that telling your team the vision of the business is not enough. It is a broad concept and does not define the action plan to your employees.

What you have to do is break the process of achieving your vision into small parts. These small parts are the milestones and within each milestone the role of your team is clearly defined. In short, break the entire pursuit of vision into small missions, and explain the role of every team member to achieve a milestone.

5.      You Won’t Know When to Exit

One of the biggest mistakes most startup owners and entrepreneurs make is that they don’t know when to exit. If you can close down your business before it starts hurting you financially, that’s a form of success. The true failure is when you cannot realize that your business is hurting you and you keep burning dollars for its success. An integral part of a business plan is defining favorable and unfavorable conditions for the business to exist.

In a business, you have to define a deadline before which you must see positive results. You have to define a time frame within which you can continue to invest in your business. However, you have to draw a line to make it clear when you cannot continue anymore. If you have been running your business for six months and the money has been going out of your pocket, it might be an indicator that it won’t work for you.


A business plan should be considered a part and parcel of a venture. It is not an optional component because your success rests on it. If you are looking forward to starting your business, it is advisable that you sit down and take time to write and review your business plan. If that is too much for you, hire a professional to write it for you.

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Sales Estimates in Business Plans – Getting Them Right to Avoid Failure


Chances are this is not your first business plans if you are considering starting a new business. Studies have shown that today’s successful entrepreneurs have tried 3 or 4 times before to start a business sales. Sharing that information is not meant to be discouraging though. It’s meant to be motivating because true entrepreneurs don’t give up easily.

In fact, you may like to know that Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft in 1981 after 3 prior failed business attempts. The 3 failed attempts were The Lakeside Programmers Group in 168, Traf-O-Data in 1970 and Micro-Soft partnership in 1975. In reality, the 3 failed companies were not failures at all in one very important sense. These 3 companies taught Gates and Allen a lot about business planning and development. They used that information to start Microsoft, Inc. and the rest is history as they say.

One of the strategies for managing a new business venture is the business plan. Because it forces the entrepreneur to identify sales specifics so that investors are comfortable providing equity, loans or other capital. The entrepreneur should also consider a graceful exit should the business not succeed as planned. Though you would not present a business destined to fail to investors, the people you are asking for money also want to know how their investment will be protected as much as possible.

When developing sales projections for the business plans, it’s important to go through each step with due diligence. It begins with a product or service description, followed by a market study. A sales estimate is calculated which drives needed production capacity. The needed production capacity then drives facilities planning and workforce estimates. Finally, the financial analysis is calculated.

One of the issues to be addressed in the business plan is the timing of sales growth. This is where entrepreneurs often get too optimistic. The end result is disappointed investors and a failed first, second or third venture. Sales projections need to be as realistic as possible because inflated numbers don’t do anyone any good. The business plan needs to tell an honest story and that will greatly increase your chances of getting the new business right the first time.


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