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If you’re interested in entrepreneurship or dreaming of starting your own business, you’ve probably also heard about the paramount importance of a business plan. Maybe you’ve even downloaded one of the endless numbers of templates you can find online. And maybe - just maybe - you’re already exhausted from just thinking about climbing the business plan mountain. If you don’t exactly know where to begin, writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task. But don’t lose faith! It’s actually not that hard.
Writing a business plan as a startup doesn’t have to be a 30-page task. Luckily, more and more investors want to see short, precise, and to-the-point business plans that won’t take them forever to chew through.
This doesn’t mean that your business plan isn’t a vital document for your business. And it doesn’t mean that it’s not a big task either. It just means it’s doable, even without a business degree.
The business plan is the backbone of your company. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not “just” a document you need to present to your bank or to potential investors. It’s essentially the creation of your business on a piece of paper. While a piece of paper isn’t an actual business, it is a great way to prepare, control, and grow your idea into an actual profitable business.
Don’t spend endless amounts of precious time writing a long, formal, perfect document. Instead, think of your business plan as a short(er), sharp, work-in-progress description of your business strategy. A great business plan will help you build your business and get you ready to present your plan to potential investors.
You don’t have to be a business expert to write your business plan. Focus on one section at a time and before you know it, you’ll cross the finish line. We promise! Here are the 11 sections you should include in your business plan:
What is the main idea of your business? You want to get people to read your whole business plan. That’s why you should start with:
Next, it’s all about describing the opportunity you’ve seen. It’s important that you focus on the outside for now and don’t spend a whole lot of time focusing on your company. We’ll save that for later. The opportunity should include:
Now’s the time to present what your company actually wants to do. Go crazy! The product description includes:
How are you going to make money and what do you need to do to succeed? In the business model, include these things:
Time to get to know who you’re up against. This section should present:
Who’s going to buy your product? This section of your business plan should provide a detailed description of the customers you want to reach and how. Include:
How are people going to know about you? This section is all about how to reach your audience. Write about these things:
It’s time to break down the road ahead. Describe the steps you need to take to make all of this happen. Include things such as:
Unless you’re able to see the future, you’ll need to think about the risks and challenges you may face on the road ahead.
Your team is probably your most important asset. It’s the people who will drive your idea to where it needs to be and the people who will convince investors to bet on you. Present your team and the reasons why it's so awesome.
What’s your closing statement? End your business plan on a high note by presenting the winning argument that’ll ultimately convince people that your idea and your business is destined for success.
And just a friendly reminder. It's not writing a business plan that'll get you ahead. It's going through the actual planning process and doing the work. Combine that with these steps to start a startup, and you will have a business by the end of it.
Previously published at https://www.cuttles.io/startup-academy/courses/how-to-write-startup-business-plan
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