Ah, the infamous business plan. Not a week goes by without someone asking to see yours. It can be both neglected and a source of stress for startuppers. Learn to make this essential business tool your friend thanks to the advice of Guillaume Fabre, partner at KPMG
With 21 years of experience under his belt, Guillaume Fabre is a partner and chartered accountant in the “Startup and small companies” team of KPMG, an international accounting firm with more than 190,000 employees in 152 countries. It’s a profession that often requires to build bridges between passionate entrepreneurs and financiers.
1. The goal: why do you need a business plan?
Business plan: it’s an expression that evokes the magic pill for convincing investors and commercial partners to join your venture. And for good reason, “a business plan is what allows investors to evaluate the viability of a startup,” explains Guillaume Fabre.
“The team and their complementarity, the offer and the market, the added value compared to the competition etc. The goal of the business plan is to present all the goals fixed by the entrepreneurs and the means implemented to achieve them. It is of course an essential tool for estimating the profit margin of the startup, and is essential too for getting investors on your side during your fundraising phases.”
2. Don’t be tempted by daily revision
OK, so we all need one. But a business plan is also a source of mental exhaustion for startups. “The trap is spending too much time on one.” For Guillaume Fabre, if your BP is revised regularly, there is no need to redo it every other week.
“You need to be able to define your revenues and expenditures thanks to market studies and reliable costings in order to carry out an efficient modelisation in your BP.”
Revisions every 3 to 6 months should be enough: if you need to do so more frequently, that is a sign your business plan was not sufficiently grounded to start with.
3. A discussion and interactive tool
The third piece of advice from Guillaume Fabre: your business plan is a starting point for interacting with others.
Rather than a cold set of figures, it is a basis for launching an interactive exchange regarding your business vision and your development goals.
There are even some software tools that allow for remote interaction, such as those used regularly by Guillame Fabre. “Thanks to these tools, a startupper can progressively get used to the accounting and finance jargon that you need to master to dialogue effectively with investors and banks.”
4. Be professional: Excel is just a start!
Are you in the habit of handing your business plan off to your sales intern? Time to kick it (the habit not the intern). Your business plan should get to the heart and soul of your business. There are a number of methods used for creating a business plan: en Excel spreadsheet, online tools, or those used by accounting professionals and consultants. The AcceleRise startups got the rundown on the tools during their acceleration program.
If you are an adept of finance, Excel is a perfectly adequate means to master and present the details of your business. However, if calculating tax credits, margins, staffing costs and the rest is Chinese to you, best to get the help of an expert.
For Guillaume Fabre, “A business plan needs to be produced effectively using the right tools and the right settings to avoid wasting time and motivation by having to redo it from A to Z.”
“As an accounting professional, we know how to translate your vision as a business owner in order to increase the chances of your project being a success. That’s the essence of our job.”
Managing director of Vitagora and AcceleRise, Christophe is the big boss! His various areas of expertise cover innovation and food business development, internationalisation and influence strategies… basically Food “Business” with a capital B! You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org