Here are five things you can do to give your business a mini-makeover for the new year:

  1. Narrow your focus.
    Have a third party like a SCORE mentor go over your business plan to see if they can tell specifically who your target market is. If the answer isn’t clear, it’s time to get out your red pen and make some changes. Have you clearly identified your current and prospective customers? Do you have data to back up those numbers?  Make sure you can answer any specific questions about your target market an investor asks.
     
  2. Eliminate repetitiveness.
    Look over your business plan for any phrases, idioms, metaphors or expressions you tend to overuse. It’s easy to get in a rut when you’re trying to market your business, but it just makes your business plan sound superficial. Which brings me to number 3…
     
  3. Liven up your language, but don’t oversell.
    Investors or bank loan officers look at hundreds of business plans, so you need to keep their interest with captivating writing, but not to the point where it sounds like too hard a sell. Don’t overpromise or overproject. Make sure your marketing and financial goals are well thought out and described with specific steps for how you’ll get there.
     
  4. Add visuals like charts and images.
    You’re still writing a business document, so you don’t want too many visuals, but if you can get your point across better with a chart, illustration or photo than with words, make sure you add it in.
     
  5. Include your social media plan.
    Your social media plan is part of your marketing strategy, but it also needs to be well documented. Investors and small business loan officers want to see that you’re knowledgeable on all the new marketing platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus as well as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.