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How To Write A Business Plan

For your company, a written plan can crystallize your thinking and serve as a blueprint for your company's success. In our experience in investment banking, we have helped clients increase the price at which they sold their business by 50% or more vs. prior offers by providing buyers with a compelling description of the business and its future prospects and opportunities. Did the value of the business increase because of the plan we helped write? No, but buyers could understand the big picture much better, and that led to higher offers.

Writing a strong business plan will help you maximize your success in:


  • Selling your company
  • Raising capital from investors
  • Arranging bank financing
  • Starting a business
  • Planning for a business expansion
  • Integrating an acquisition
  • Building a successful company

A business plan can help you introduce your business and yourself to the reader in the most favorable light. An attractively packaged business plan helps create a good first impression; a careless or inadequate plan will reflect badly on a company. Always prepare a cover letter and an executive summary (2-5 pages) of your plan, because many times you need to convince not only the person you are dealing with but other colleagues – investment or loan committees, for example. The actual organization will vary in response to your needs. The content of a plan should be tailored to the targeted audience and purpose. For example, if the plan is only for internal management, the content should be more geared toward action steps rather than descriptions of the company. Keep your plan concise, about 20 pages should be enough. For selling a business, it may be longer because you may need to include relevant exhibits. There are many resources and books on how to write a business plan. One that I like is: Writing a Convincing Business Plan, by Arthur R. DeThomas, Ph.D., and William B. Fredenberg, Ph.D. Barron's, 1995.

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IPO Trends: Fewer and Larger

The number of Initial Public Offerings(IPOs) has fallen in half since the peak years of 1981-2000, when there were an average of 621 IPOs a year. During 2001-2010, the average fell to 307 IPOs annually. Some people have referred to the period of the 1980s and 1990s as "the IPO Boom", and the period after a 2000 as the "dot-com bust", but we feel this is overly simplistic. On closer analysis, we see that the number of large IPOs has in fact remained fairly steady; but the number of small deals that has decreased by 78%. Defining IPOs with over $50 million of proceeds as "large" and those under $50 million as "small", the number of large IPOs has stayed about the same (an average of 170 in 1981-2000 versus 208 in 2001-2010), while the number of smaller offerings declined substantially (452 in 1981-2000 versus 99 in 2001-2010).

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At The Courtney Group, we pledge to provide you with the highest level of integrity and expertise; to recommend only what’s suitable for you and your situation; to give you senior-level personalized attention; and to stand by our work and our word.

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