How to Create a Business Plan

Just as any long journey needs some form of navigation, your startup needs its own guidelines. Your business plan requires answers to key questions that define what you’re trying to do and how you’re going to do it.

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How to write a business plan

Keep it short and to the point—many online business-plan templates feature examples of long documents and detailed analyses. We recommend using this template. You need to have all your detailed information handy, but it should not interfere with what you are trying to accomplish. Always include an executive summary for those with little time to browse through your entire plan.

First and foremost, your business plan should serve as a guide to building your company that others, including potential investors, can understand. It will be your roadmap going forward.

Make sure your business plan includes the following:

Value proposition

This defines why your company is unique and what value it gives to its customers.

Customer definition

You must understand your company’s type of business and target audience. Also, this is an easy signpost that shows specialized VCs whether they can bring any additional value to the company on top of their money.

Execution roadmap

How long will product development take before you can launch? Six months, two years, something in between, or something longer? What are the necessary steps and critical paths for your company to succeed? Lay this out as clearly as possible and identify potential issues and solutions.

Team

Who are your co-founders, and what is the division of labor among them? What roles are currently missing? Who will you need to hire? In what timeframe?

Financing needs

This includes the amount of money you require, for what purpose(s), and when you expect to break even. If this is the bedrock of your business plan, you should include detailed calculations and justifications, which you can include in an appendix.