No one gets the business plan right the first time, and unless you've burnt your hands before, it isn't that easy to come up with a good business plan. Based on my experience in working with a couple of startups, helping out a couple of friends with their startups, one thing I've learned for sure, is that every aspect of creating a business plan is as challenging as actually executing that plan.
I thought of penning down some insights which might come in handy for first time entrepreneurs and founders who need help on how to go about creating the business plan that fits their need.
Of course, you've got to have your elevator pitch down pat. You should have a clear goal and a vision of what your startup would aim to do. What you need to do next is to create a roadmap for your business beginning first with an executive summary and a mission statement.
Obviously it is also important that you study the market, assess your competition, create a share ownership structure, outline financials, and fill out the rest of the pertinent data like most people would say. But the key after doing all that is to ensure that your business plan has a detailed roadmap. Best thing to do is create an excel sheet with a plan for three years.
So what should the executive summary contain? Besides of course your company name and tagline, this sheet will showcase your goal and underlying problem that your startup addresses. Of course most people are fine with a two-page sheet, but the details you need to draw, forms part of a great business plan.
In addition to that some of the key things that you should consider including are:
- The Team – The key members in your company with a one line / short bio for them.
- Explanation – What does your business do and what problem does it solve.
- Product/Service – Details about your product/service that you offer with functional aspects explained.
- Market – The study and research of the market involved and the audience you're looking to target
- Customer use: Why would customers use your product.
- Competition – Benchmark who else is in the market is competing and what's your edge.
- Company Stage – Where are you currently in terms of overall stage of your startup.
- Investment Opportunity – How much you are looking to raise and what you are offering.
It's also important that you have a proper operation and management plan for your business and you detail it down for a better understanding of the functionalities involved. Of course the important aspect is about the financial factors that are involved, but the key is the concrete detailing of every minute detail that you can think of. Don't worry, you may not have everything right at the first go. Show it to your friends, other entrepreneurs whom you know, probably some investors too and if possible do mock rounds like you'd do for your pitch.
At the same time since money is something that is quite important in getting the startup right, an extensive P&L sheet of sorts would help give a great idea and an estimate of how you intend to use the money for your startup.