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The Definitive Business Plan, 3rd Edition by Sir Richard Stutely

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30 CHAPTER 2 A WINNING PRESENTATION
You should probably work on the basis that everyone who will see the plan should first
sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Your employees and fellow execu-
tives should already have done so when they started working with you. This should be
covered in their employment contracts. Terms for contract staff are more important.
Notably, unless explicitly agreed to the contrary, contractors usually own the copyright of
any material that they produce while working for you. Generally, you should try to ensure
that copyright is assigned to you.
In addition, it is a good idea to mark clearly on every page of the business plan ‘copy-
right and confidential’ or ‘trade secret and also to include an indication of your rights
near the front. A sample form of words is shown in Figure 2.2, but check the precise
requirements with your legal adviser.
There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. That
which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.
J. D. HOLLAND
Creating an outline document
When you begin setting up your first business plan, start by defining the broad details
for the page layout. You will probably find that the following characteristics are set in one
place on your word processing application.
PAGE SETUP
Paper size
If you operate in an international environment, you could format the page layout so that
you can print your document on A4 paper for ISO-influenced readers and US letter size
paper for American-influenced recipients. This simply requires leaving enough space
at the bottom of the page so that there is not too much text to fit the shorter US letter
paper. US letter paper is 11 inches/280 mm long, A4 is 11.7 inches/297 mm. US letter
paper is a touch wider (8.5/216 against A4’s 8.25/210) you can more or less ignore this
variation in width, probably by ensuring it occurs in the inner margin.
Margins and columns
Prefer relatively narrow columns. The typographers rule of thumb is that maximum
readability is achieved if lines of text are not more than one-and-a-half alphabets (i.e. 38
characters) long. The eye can skim rapidly down the page without too much lateral move-
ment. However, this is really too narrow for a business plan. Readers associate width with
quality, up to a realistic limit.
CREATING AN OUTLINE DOCUMENT 31
Take a look at well-produced newspapers and magazines. The Financial Times is a
good example. The number of columns to the page is directly related to the content.
Information to be scanned quickly is presented in narrow columns. Weighty editorial to
be read and considered is presented in wider columns. The reader slows down and takes
in the subject matter.
For a business plan, a single column about 5 inches/125 mm wide works well setting
a good pace for the reader and leaving plenty of white space and a margin for notes.
Headers and footers
Use your word processor’s headers and footers option to set up standard information that
will appear on each page of your document similar to the subject header at the top of
this page and the page number at the bottom.
You might want to put the document control information that changes in the header,
and the static and automated information in the footer. Then you rarely have to change
the footer, no matter for what document you use the framework.
For example, the header might read ‘Business Plan for MegaProjects Inc. Document no.
BP2011.01D released 30 October 2011, while the footer could indicate ‘Trade Secret and
confidential. Copyright © 2011 MegaProjects Inc Page x of y. (See Figure 2.3.)
Figure 2.2 Sample small print
All rights reserved. The information contained in this document is confidential
and may also be proprietary and trade secret. Without prior written approval
from MegaProjects Inc no part of this document may be reproduced or trans-
mitted in any form or by any means, including but not limited to electronic,
mechanical, photocopying or recording or stored in any retrieval system of
whatever nature. Use of any copyright notice does not imply unrestricted pub-
lic access to any part of this document. MegaProjects’ trade names used
in this document are trademarks of MegaProjects Inc. Other trademarks are
acknowledged as the property of their rightful owners.
Copyright
© 2011 MegaProjects Inc
TRADE SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL
Copyright © 2011 MegaProjects Inc
Page 2 of 20
MegaProjects Inc Doc no BP0208.01 30 Oct 2011 ...........................Business Plan
Contents
Contact information .............................................................. 3
Document control ................................................................. 3
Professional advisers............................................................ 3

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