Follow the hint, whether it be to publish a paper or peg shoes. But all business plans are not the same any more than all businesses are. In the publishing business, I know of no less than six positions actually yawning for the men to come and fill them--not clerical positions, but positions of executive authority. Are you living to work or working to live?

Look for your competitive edge without knocking or denigrating your competition

It should ease the task of anybody whose job it is to read it, and it should make that task enjoyable by presenting an interesting and compelling account of your company. It s important to avoid jargon and expert terms; instead, communicate your message using wording that is easy to understand. As with so many other directions people take in life, the time and the place just happen to be right. There may be a big difference in what you have to give up, such as majority ownership or control, to get the funds.

Be Direct with your Production

Emphasize a cogent, succinct summary and explanation of the basic business concept, and do not stint on the details about the impressive backgrounds of your management team. Many companies'such as business-to-business service providers, consultants, contractors, printers, wholesale distributors, and insurance agents'have less than twenty major customers who make up the majority of their business. Even great head football coaches don't call their own plays. Leaders put people first.

Communication Standards for Operations

Ross Winans, of Philadelphia, secured a business that netted him $100,000 a year simply through his politeness to two Russian agents, to whom others in the same trade had accorded scant courtesy. In a long tail model, a business does the opposite: It sells a very wide range of items, each in comparatively small amounts, to a large customer base, often over a very wide geographic area. Six different excellent and experienced people will still do things six different ways. As you read such a document, you may make a surprising discovery, such as that you don t really want to own a large, fast-growing enterprise but would be content with a stable small business.

Tap information sources to provide the answers to as many questions as you can

Try writing a personal essay on your business goals. Your website must show what your company does best. There s a good chance someone reading your plan will know more than you do. You may get along for a time on 'shady' lines, but such success is only gained at the expense of ultimate loss.

The key point is that benefits are dependent on the perceptions of the market

Fixed-cost overheads are bad news for start-ups hoping to do without money. You gain customers, clients, or readers once you have been able to put yourself in their shoes and speak their language. By asking people to sign a non-disclosure agreement for a hardcopy or an electronic business plan, you are making it clear that you are trusting them and making them think harder about sharing the plan with others. The companies that had off-site backup of their documents after Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 had far better chances of restarting their businesses than those that had to begin from scratch.