Are you thinking of starting your own business?
Then you’re going to need a startup business plan template.
The digital world and the availability of the internet means that ambitious individuals all over the world have access to unlimited opportunities. You can sell virtually anything these days, including services, skills and even knowledge. However, the only way to make sure that you’re going to achieve long-term success is to plan for it.
According to the Harvard Business Review, knowing how to write a business plan is crucial to helping your startup succeed.
As outdated as a business plan might seem in today’s fast-paced environment, the era of micro-entrepreneurship has claimed countless victims with the false promise that success is only a click away. Don’t cut corners with your future. Strategize.
Step 1: Start with Extensive Research
This is one of the most apparent tips you’re likely to come across when you’re searching for business plan tips. However, that doesn’t make it any less important. If you want to create the perfect business plan, you need to understand your company, your industry, your competition – even your customer. That means that you’ve got a lot of homework ahead of you.
Before you do anything else, make sure that you know everything there is to know about the essential elements of your company, and what you’re going to sell. For instance:
• What kind of business are you going to run – solo entrepreneur, limited, something else? Why?
• Which companies represent your most significant competition? How is your product or service different from theirs?
• What proves there’s a need for your product or service in your current market? Who is your target customer?
Step 2: Forget the Cookie-Cutter Startup Business Plan Template
When new entrepreneurs take their first step into business, their first instinct is to look for a template that they can use to guide their success. However, as true innovators know, there’s more to running a successful company than ticking the right boxes. Off-the-shelf startup business plan templates are great for novice business owners who need a launchpad. However, you’re going to need to go beyond the plans and programs you find on the web.
The business climate is always changing. Once you have a general format and an idea of the kind of information that you need to include in your plan, continue building. Think about how you can appeal to the investors and shareholders that you want to attract into your organization. There are 400 million entrepreneurs worldwide, so the last thing you want is to blend into the crowd.
Step 3: Don’t Overcomplicate It
A little more than 50% of all startups fail within four years. The simpler your business plan is, the fewer chances there are for something to go wrong with your organization. When you’re looking into how to write a business plan, the easiest way to get started is to think of your pitch. If you had to explain what your business does, what it stands for, and who it sells to in a minute, what would you say?
A startup business plan templated doesn’t have to be the size of the Oxford English dictionary to be effective. It just needs to include the information that’s most important for you. Pages and pages of market analysis great – but not if they don’t do anything to clarify your strategy.
If it helps, you might find it useful to get rid of paragraphs of text entirely and replace them with visuals instead. Graphs and visual elements are easier for you to follow, and they’re appealing to investors too. According to Hubspot, studies find that people following directions that include illustrations often perform up to 323% better than their counterparts.
Step 4: Be Specific
Just as pages of complicated data won’t do much for your business plan, vague statements won’t help either. When investors evaluate the business plan of a company they plan to support, they’re not looking for lofty ambitions or meaningless goals. Telling people you want to one day be “financially free” isn’t good enough. You need to set specific goals that your stakeholders can get behind. They don’t care if you become a millionaire or not!
Ask yourself which specific actions you’re going to take in the first month, quarter, or year to reach certain outcomes. What are your profit projections for the first 12 months? How much money do you think you’re going to lose? Where are these numbers coming from?
Decide what your priorities are for when you first launch your business and set specific, actionable targets in place that you can assign a deadline too. This will help you to break your startup business plan templates into chunks that will motivate you and inspire your investors. Breaking things down into pieces will also make it easier to track your success.
Step 5: Make Sure Your Plan Adapts to your Audience
When you enter the job searching market, any good recruitment team will tell you that you need to adapt your CV and cover letter to suit the company you’re applying to. The same strategy applies to your startup business plan template. Although part of the purpose of a business plan is to guide you as you work on your venture, it’s also there to attract and inform investors. The best business plans are always the ones that seem as though they were specifically written for each investor.
For instance, your banker or financial advisor will be most interested in seeing your balance sheets and financial statements. On the other hand, if you’re wondering how to write a business plan for a venture capitalist, you might want to focus on things like user acquisition costs and growth rate.
Start with the basic information that you need to keep yourself informed, then adapt and modify your business plan every time you share it to support the person reading it. Although the information should stay the same, you may decide to format your plan differently depending on who you’re talking to.
Step 6: Update Your Plan and Learn as You Go
Finally, it’s important to remember that business plans aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it concept. They’re dynamic, ever-changing documents that you carry with you throughout the life of your enterprise. In today’s fast-moving world, the business environment is changing more rapidly than ever before. Even if it wasn’t, there’s no chance that you’d be able to predict everything that your organisation is going to accomplish on day one.
The products you thought would take off may end up falling flat, while new revenue opportunities present themselves in other areas. The key thing to remember is that your strategy isn’t set in stone. A startup business pan template always remains a template, because it’s open to change as you grow. Adjust your information as needed, create new goals, or alter your plans. The most important thing is that you’re constantly moving forward.
Remember, you should be consistently using the things that happen in your business to inform your ongoing drafting process. The business plan you have a year from now could be very different from the one you start with.
Make Sure You Know How to Write a Business Plan
There may be more opportunities for entrepreneurs in today’s landscape. However, that doesn’t mean that running a successful business is easy. Starting a company and making sure that it’s effective is a tough and often stressful process. The best way to make sure that you have a compass every step of the way is to get some business plan help from day one.
Your strategy will motivate you, inspire you and keep you on track as your organization evolves. Plus, it gives you an excellent way to kick-start your elevator pitch when you’re appealing to investors.
If all of the above is looking like a painful process, too much work or you are still unclear. Then seek out a respected Management Consultant who can help you.