It is not surprising that many early-stage entrepreneurs face difficulties in writing a business plan. At a stage when you do not have much experience and knowledge of marketing, or no statistics of financial forecasts, establishing a solid business plan can be a challenge. So, then what exactly a business plan for a startup include? Well, one thing which is clear is that it doesn’t need to be a perfect and wide-ranging document. It can depict what entrepreneurs are expecting in the future and how the startup will alter the market, based on some of their own and assumptions and insights.
Business plan acts as the line of attack of a startup
It provides a roadmap that everyone can follow and there are fewer chances of confusions and manipulations. Since you are at planning stage you may be able to discover some risks and warnings before actually diving into the market. Hence, the business plan is not only important to the investors but to the company as well. A simple way to start working on your business plan is to think as if your business is established and is making money. Now think in a backward direction about all the things that you require in achieving that.
Keep it short
The business plan should include only the necessary details and information. It doesn’t need to be a multi-page document. It doesn’t need to include everything want in your business. It rather should be clear-cut and to the point. Anyone who goes through the business plan should be able to read it in 15-20 minutes.
Explain the marketing opportunity
Your business plan can give a complete idea of your future insights, sustainability, and growth along with the key factors that will make your business a success. Hence, try explaining briefly about the market opportunities like:
- What is the potential market size?
- Are there any new opportunities in the market?
- What can be the risks involved?
- How are you going to establish yourself in the market?
- What are the problems faced by your customers and how you will tackle them?
- Where is your market located?
Mention about your competitors
Some people might think that this point can be ignored in a business plan. But, it is indeed important that you mention about your competitors, their key points that you have noticed, and how your startup will give them a tough competition and leave them behind. Your business plan should convince you and your investors that you are really different and better than others.
Describe your product and services
Explain what your business is all about. Explain your product and services that you are going to offer and what is so special about them, why should customers choose you, what do you guarantee them what values you will bring to the customers. Explain everything clearly as this will reflect the level of your confidence in your business and services that you are offering.
Don’t miss the executive summary
The executive summary can be treated as a separate document also which illustrates the key points of each section of the business plan. The summary should be short and clear. It should provide an overall idea of your business aims and goal. Mention all important points here. It should be so effective that the investors get compelled to read your full business plan.
Mention about your team
Small or large, team matters! Hence, give a brief insight into your business team. Mention the concise background of all the important members of the team, what’s their role in your startup how they are going to make it a success.
Describe how you will make money
Do you know how will you execute your plans? What are your targets and how will you achieve them? Answers to these questions should also be included in the business plan. Explain briefly how will you engage and attract the customers, how will you sell, what are all your strategies and lookouts.
A business plan includes all the necessary financial information for everything involved in the business. It should comprise the following:
- How much finance is needed to start and maintain the business?
- How much money are you expecting to profit?
- How much money you need over next 2 years or 3 years etc
- What are the expenses of the company?
- Are there any other costs involved?
So these were some of the important points that all entrepreneurs must include in their business plan. All the MBA and entrepreneurship students often get Business Plan assignment in their academic career as well to prepare them for this situation only. It develops their critical thinking and lays the foundation for understanding all important aspects of a business plan. If you are not aware of the structure of a business plan, check out this detailed article. You can also check out the four common mistakes that every entrepreneur should avoid while working on a business plan.