The Two Most Commonly Overlooked – Yet Vital – Factors in Writing a Business Plan
Director of Sales & Marketing
In my 5+ years at Joorney, I’ve reviewed hundreds of business plans written by people other than my colleagues, including clients themselves and business plan consultants. While many of these plans are well-written and informative, I’d estimate over half have the same crucial oversights.
These oversights aren’t specific to one type of business plan. I’ve seen them in every type of plan, from immigration business plans to investor business plans, and even in pitch decks.
Which crucial oversights am I talking about? Objective and audience.
When creating any business plan, you need to start by asking two very important questions that will lay the groundwork for your plan: What is my objective? Who is going to read this?
Your objective should drive your business plan
Not all business plans are created equal simply because every business plan has its own unique goal. Identifying your unique goal is like starting your journey with a clear roadmap. A well-thought-out objective will clarify the fine details of your business plan, such as the way you’ll prepare it, which details you’ll focus on, and which sections you’ll cover broadly verses in detail.
The objective of your business plan is directly related to the reason you’re creating one in the first place.
There are many reasons why you might create a business plan but there are two main objectives that the business plans that cross my desk are aiming to achieve: 1) securing an immigration visa or 2) securing funding through an investment or bank loan.
If you’re creating an immigration business plan, it is vital that you establish that you and your business meet the main requirements of the specific immigration path you’re seeking, such as an E-2 in the US, a new-office ICT in Canada, and other visa applications. A big part of meeting these requirements is ensuring that your business is explained clearly and in simple terms.
An immigration business plan should focus on very achievable, realistic goals and financial projections. There are exceptions to this, of course, but part of the reason behind this is that you want to write your plan with a future visa renewal in mind. When it comes time to renew, the closer you are to meeting the initial objectives you laid out in your business plan — especially in terms of profits and job creation — the easier it will be to renew.
If you’re creating a business to secure funding through an investment, then your main objective is to convince someone to part with money… with a return on investment, of course! This is a very different goal that requires an approach that will vary significantly from an immigration business plan. You’re still convincing someone that your business is feasible and that you can reach pre-determined goals, but your focus will instead be on things like rate of growth and return potential.
Once you’ve identified your objective, the next step is to understand and write for your intended audience.
Who is your target audience and why are they important?
If everything goes according to plan, someone will eventually read your business plan and either reject it or give it a stamp of approval. That future person reading your yet-to-be-written business plan is your audience, and in order to achieve your objective, you need to write specifically for your business plan’s reader.
If you’re writing an immigration business plan, your audience is going to be an immigration officer. Their main objective is to determine if your business plan is viable and meets the requirements of the particular visa you’re applying for.
Immigration officers are typically not business or finance experts and their job is to process applications efficiently. With this in mind, you want to avoid business jargon and make sure your business model — no matter how complex in practice — is explained in a way that can be understood quickly by a layman. This helps ensure you don’t raise too many questions that may result in a Request for Evidence (RFE) — as it’s called in the US — which will increase the time it takes for your visa to get approved.
If you’re writing a business plan to secure seed funding, your audience is potential investors. In this case, you are dealing with business and finance experts who look at business plans every single day — it’s literally their job! Under this circumstance, business jargon is not only acceptable, it is often expected. The business model and financial projections that you include in your business plan can (and in most cases should) go into depth and include fine details.
How immigration and non-immigration business plans differ
Each business plan, regardless of the type, has similar sections — for example, financials, personnel, or market analysis — but the business plans themselves are actually quite different. Every section of a business plan is important, but depending on the goal, the focus can shift and each section is longer or shorter, or is deep or higher-level.
As an example, let’s consider a restaurant.
The personnel section of an immigration business plan is of vital importance. Most business immigration visas place an emphasis on job creation as a means to validate the benefit the immigrant and business will bring to the country. With business plans that are seeking investment, the personnel section is mainly used as a way to demonstrate strategic direction.
If you’re writing an immigration business plan for a restaurant, your organization chart would show every employee from the owner and general manager down to the line cooks and restaurant attendants. However, if you were creating this same business plan for funding purposes, you’d probably focus on key staff such as the general manager and head chef.
Joorney can help you understand your business plan’s objective and audience
Joorney is one of the leading business plan writing companies in the United States and Canada, with a focus on immigration business plans. Our team of experienced consultants, project managers, and writers are here to help you or your clients produce convincing, succinct documents that give your business or investor immigration case an edge. We’ve written over 6,000 business plans for immigration and commercial purposes. In other words, we know a thing or two.