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The sections entitled "Company", "Business", "Market & Marketing" and "Personnel" are those that you use to present factual statements about your project. A "fact" (and by extension factual) can be defined as "knowledge or information based on reality".
While you can present anything as "knowledge or information", the readers of your plan will decide whether or not they believe that your facts are "based on reality". To aid the reader in concluding that your statements meet the above definition of "fact", we believe that you should:
- Keep your statements clear and concise - unread is worse than unbelievable it's unknown. Use as few words as possible while still getting across your message.
- Avoid technical or industry jargon. If you must, make sure that you explain it's meaning.
- Quote research and sources. To state "the industry will grow at a rate of 15% annually" is likely to be read as puffery. To state "A recent US Department of Commerce study shows that..." is likely to be read as fact. Good sources of low cost or free independant research include government agencies, industry associations, franchisors and, if yours is an industry with public companies, stock analysts.
- Avoid stating your own opinions. Rather than saying "I believe..." state the reason you believe, hopefully, as a believable fact. If you must use an unsubstantiated opinion try to use that of a professional (your accountant, lawyer, appraiser, etc.).
- Use only those sections with which you feel comfortable. A short, well written plan is likely to be more successful than a long poorly written one.
We think that the watch phrases for these four sections are "short, sweet and to the point" and "factual and if not provable, believable".