8-Step Business Plan

A bright, ambitious, and driven young entrepreneur once asked me, “Why do I need a business plan?”  She had done […]

A bright, ambitious, and driven young entrepreneur once asked me, “Why do I need a business plan?”  She had done some research and was confident about her product and competitive angle, sure she could make $10,000 in the first month.  So, I answered her question with a question: “How are you going to do that?”

THIS is why you need a business plan:  to map out how you’re going to get from CONCEPT to CASH.

According to SCORE, “Writing a business plan is an opportunity to carefully think through every step of starting your company so you can prepare for success.  This is your chance to discover any weaknesses in your business idea, identify opportunities you may not have considered, and plan how you will deal with challenges that are likely to arise. A well-written business plan can help convince investors or lenders to finance your business.”

I’ve written, edited, and pitched multiple business plans.  Below is the outline for a business plan I had to write for a pitch competition a few years ago, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is considering launching their own business.

  1. Executive Summary
    1. Overview of Idea
    2. Mission Statement
  2. Products/Services and Key Problem to Solve
    1. Key Problem to Solve
    2. Product/Service Overview
    3. Relevant Technology or Expertise
    4. Personnel
    5. Key Opportunity
  3. Market Analysis
    1. Market Overview (Current size, growth rate, etc.).
    2. Target Market
    3. Main Competitors
    4. Market Entry
    5. Pricing Strategy
    6. Scalability/Ramp-Up
  4. Operational Plan
    1. Advisory Board
    2. Partnerships & Trade Organizations
    3. Product/Service Management
    4. Website Development & Administration
    5. Marketing Strategy 
      1. Website
      2. Email
      3.  Social Media
      4. Written Content
      5. Live Content
    6. Business Development/Sales
    7. Customer Service
    8. Licensing/Franchising
  5. Management Summary
    1. Organizational Structure
    2. Current Management Team
    3. Legal Counsel
    4. Advisor/Consultant
    5. Personnel Plan
  6. Defensibilty/IP and/or “Know-How”
    1. Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights (if applicable)
    2. Expert Knowledge and Trade Secrets
    3. Competitive Advantage and Defensibility
    4. Barriers to Entry
  7. Financial Information
    1. Current Sources of Funding
    2. Funding Needs
    3. Use of Funding
    4. Breakeven Analysis
    5. Exit Strategy
  8. Appendix
    1. Examples
    2. Supporting Documentation

The outline above is what I use to coach my start-up clients through the process of writing their business plans.  Every sub-component may not apply to your business.  However, without a solid business plan, as my colleague Marshall Knapp stated, “the business may be doomed before it begins.”

Learn More about Growth Strategies
Tags: , , , ,
Scroll to Top