You’ve spent a lot of time putting together your business plan. You’ve got an excellent package ready to send off to the bank. But maybe you want to make your business plan more professional looking and more appealing to a reader. Particularly, you might be wondering if you can put pictures in your business plan.
It is always a great idea to put pictures in your business plan. Images can provide valuable insights, display your branding, and break up the text to make it easier for the reader to digest. If done right, adding images will also make your plan look more professional.
To learn more about putting pictures in a business plan, follow this helpful guide.
Why it’s a Good Idea to Put Some Pictures in a Business Plan
Before you go popping a ton of pictures into your business plan, let’s talk about why you would want to add images. Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish with the pictures will help you choose ones that compliment your plan.
There are a few reasons why you should put pictures in your business plan. Good images can visually communicate a concept quickly and effectively.
For example, let’s say that what sets you apart from your competition is that your company uses state-of-the-art technology or equipment. Instead of only describing its features in words, an image can provide some visual context for the reader.
This visual context is especially useful with data. Graphs can quickly display data in a powerful and visually appealing way. A helpful graph can communicate a summary of complex data without the reader needing to dig into a lengthy and possibly dull text.
Because of their power to relate information so effectively, it’s always a good idea to add them strategically. Images in a business plan should be chosen based on what and how they communicate to the reader.
The Types of Pictures You Should Include
You should use a mix of different pictures and images in your business plan. These include:
- Your logo: Your logo should be displayed prominently on the cover page of your business plan. It’s worth spending a little money on a decent logo to make sure it looks professional.
- Your branded marketing images: If you have images that you’ve used in your marketing materials, feel free to include them. These might be photos demonstrating your manufacturing process or the unique aspects of your business. You can even add stock photos that have graphics or your logo overlayed on them.
- Photos of your products: Whether you’re a manufacturer or a specialty retailer, always include some professional pictures of your products. If you have multiple products, try to avoid putting a picture of every one of them in the plan. Just choose some good examples of each of your product categories.
- Photos of your store, facilities, or equipment: Any pictures you can include in the facilities and equipment sections will add some more dimension to the plan. Maybe it’s a picture of your restaurant dining room, your high-tech pill sorting machine, or your service van. A couple of images in these sections will visually break-up the plan a bit.
- Screenshots of your website and mobile application: Mock-ups or screenshots of your website or the user interface of your mobile app will show the reader how you present yourself to clients. These are great to include in the marketing and sales plan sections.
- Graphs with market information: All that census data that you cite in your plan will look great in a graph. It will also provide a nice visual summary of your research. Graphs are especially useful for displaying trends over time, market segmentation, and market demographics.
- Graphs of your financial projections: Financial graphs are perfect for a reader that wants to quickly see your revenue, expenses, and net income over your projection period. A couple of good financial graphs are a must.
- Maps: If you’re serving a defined, local market, I recommend including a map image in your plan. You should include your location and the location of each of your top five competitors. This allows the reader to easily see where and how close your competition is located.
What Images to Avoid Putting in Your Business Plan
So, strategically adding quality images to your plan makes it look more polished and professional. Unfortunately, some pictures that seem like a good idea to include, end up being distracting or confusing to the reader.
- Generic stock images: Try to avoid putting generic stock photos in your business plan. Many of the free images available on the internet are overused and look amateurish. If you want to add stock photos, try adding some design and branding elements with a software like Canva.
- Multiple images communicating the same or a very similar message: If you have more than one infographic about your processes, unique product features, or selling points, try to include only one or two. Images that express similar information but with slight differences can be confusing to readers.
- Complex graphs or charts: All of your graphs or charts should be straightforward and easy to grasp quickly. Try to avoid including too many variables or comparing somewhat unrelated things in the same graph. Also, always be sure to include titles and label all your variables clearly.
- Unrelated images: Don’t include images that are unrelated to your business. This would include generic pictures of another business’s facilities, products, or materials. Also, I would resist putting in memes or joke images, as well as super personal pictures.
Now you know that you can, and should, strategically add quality pictures to your business plan. Images in your business plan can easily communicate complex information, brand identity, and financial performance to your reader. If done right, they can also break up the walls of text in your plan.
One thing to remember, though, is not to put too many images in your plan.
Too many photos will drown out the information and distract the reader. Try to choose quality over quantity when selecting your pictures. If done right, your plan will look sleek, professional, and informative.
If you have any questions about retail or commercial banking, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay up to date on new blog posts, subscribe to The Helpful Banker below.