Storytelling and writing a business plan actually go hand in hand. The same ingredients used in telling a story are also used in writing a business plan. Let's use the Executive Summary as an example.
The usual advice give to write this part of a business plan is something along these lines:
? This is the most important part of your plan because it is where potential investors will focus their attention most on.
? Write this executive summary once your plan is at its very final draft stage.
? Highlights and key issues.
? Avoid detail.
? Address the needs and interest of the reader.
? Use bullet points.
? Keep the length of this Executive Summary to no more than three pages.
If this is the most important part of your entire business plan, then it is even more important for you to get it right from the start. But really, how do you this? How much information do you give in this Executive Summary? How much do you leave out? What do you concentrate on? Is it the description of the product itself? But if you concentrate on the product, then how do you keep it to only three pages when there is so much more to say about the history of the company, the people who run it and the financial status of the company? What about the dreams and aspirations of the company? How really can it all be said in just three pages?
Well, most successful business plans use the same formula that storytellers use to write their Executive Summary.
Let's use a very simple example to illustrate the point. Assume that the business plan you are writing is for the launch of a new face cream called Madame Belle, by a company known as Acme Creams Inc.. Your Executive Summary could read like this:
1. To revive our ailing company and generate some revenue, we are proud to introduce our new product, Madame Belle.
2. Madame Belle is a new age-defying face. The ingredients of this product are derived mainly from the aloe vera plant. Using our secret formula, we have extracted the glue-like substance from the plant and combined it with some other materials to produce Madame Belle.
3. The research and development team for the product is headed by Professor Bloggs. The marketing and sales of this product will be carried out by a team headed by Mr. John Stone, our Director of Sales and Marketing. The entire project has been funded by our company, Acme Creams Inc.
4. The distribution of the product will, in the first two years of production, be focused mainly in the U.S. market. Thereafter, the plan is to expand production and sales to Europe.
5. The date for the launch of this product has been fixed for January 27th 2005 and Ms Gloria Vanderbilt has agreed to be our guest of honour.
Where are the ingredients of a story in this?
Well, in sentence 1, the ingredient of 'Why' was used. The product was created to generate revenue.
In sentence 2, the ingredient 'What' was used to describe the product.
In sentence 3, the ingredient of 'Who' was used to provide information about who was involved in the project.
In sentence 4, it is the ingredient 'Where' that is used to show the geographical location of where this product will be sold.
Then in sentence 5, it is the ingredients of 'When' and 'How' this product is going to be launched that are described.
Now, let me state here that the ingredients listed above are not the only ingredients in telling a story but they are the core ones. Also, the description above is but a sample; so, in writing a proper Executive Summary, one would need to expand on each ingredient. Nevertheless, when writing each part of the business plan from the Executive Summary to the financial plan to the marketing plan, the same ingredients can be used to describe each and every aspect of this.
Aneeta Sundararaj, a storyteller, is the creator of the bestselling program "How To Tell A Great Story". Aneeta's technique and famed "R.P.I. Principle"? has been used by many people and offers simple, cutting-edge strategies applicable universally. She is also the author of two 'traditional' books The Banana Leaf Men and Mad Heaven: the biography of Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. M. Mahadevan. Visit http://www.howtotellagreatstory.com to learn more.