Tips for Writing a Venture Plan

  1. Tell your story, tell it quickly, and tell the truth.
  2. Make sure that on every page the reader gets the information you want them to get.
  3. Creativity helps, but scale it back and be traditional with your headings and your formatting.
  4. Use talking headings to send the reader in the desired direction.
  5. Brand your pages; use appropriate colors; use images and charts and graphs to help reader understand key points; write short paragraphs; use headings that help the reader follow the story you are telling; caption your charts/graphs; use graphics to highlight your sentences and use sentences to explain the graphics. 
  6. Avoid fluff.
  7. Cite your sources. 
  8. Every paragraph should represent a discrete chunk of information. Every paragraph needs a thesis sentence. This is normally the first sentence. The middle of the paragraph should add important information to elaborate on the main point. The last sentence of each paragraph should tie up the specific chunk of information and direct the reader to the next chunk of information in the next paragraph. The reader should know all of your main points by 'reading the first and last sentence of every paragraph.
  9. When using bullets or other formatting maneuvers, decide what you want to emphasize, then use the appropriate marking words or graphics. To emphasize importance, for example, use words or phrases that indicate value; if you emphasize time, then use words that indicate chronology. Make sure that the mixture of bullets and numbers you choose conveys the right tone.
  10. To proofread, print a copy and go through it out loud. Look for any place the reader stumbles out loud. Read it backwards if necessary. Have a friend outside of your team read it out loud and see where they get confused. Read slowly to catch basic errors. Allow adequate time to do all this ... it is time-consuming, so give yourself the time to become perfect.
  11. When in doubt, check for rules of grammar and usage with a handbook. [Jim's 2 cents: Save Swing Jazz, Pelicans, and the Oxford Comma! ... Strunk and White, the Chicago Manual of Style, and the US Government agree!]
[Thank you, Randy Accetta]