What to Put in Your Startup Business Plan

A business plan is the most fundamental component of your startup company. However, depending on who you’ll ask, it can be as short as 2 pages or as comprehensive as 20 pages. Not having one means your startup company is destined for failure but having a detailed description of what your business is all about will definitely set you up for success and future sustainability – and can attract the right kind of investors, business mentors, and industry partners.

Here are five most important aspects to include in your startup business plan:

1. A Powerful Pitch Deck Presentation

It’s one thing to say “I have a brilliant startup idea” but an entirely different thing to be able to describe your business in the most meaningful way possible. Your pitch deck presentation is like a conventional executive summary which outlines the mission, goals, and overall purpose of the business. More than that, it’s what you need to make a compelling argument on these crucial points of your startup:
  • The problem you’re trying to address
  • The products/services you’re going to offer
  • The people who can benefit from your idea
  • The team who will put their hearts and mind into it
  • The technology and tools that can make this happen
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Creating a pitch deck that will draw the ‘ohhs’ and ‘ahhs’ of prospective investors is the new norm – and one you shouldn’t do without. You’ve got one chance to prove you’re worthy of their attention – and resources – so make sure it’s clear enough to be presented and understood in just a short amount of time.

2. A Good Prototype Product

“Done is better than perfect”, says Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg which means that you should go beyond the expectations of having a minimum viable product (MVP) at hand. Make sure to have a prototype of your product ready for viewing or available for a trial run.

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Moreover, though version 1 of your brilliant product offering may not be as good as its succeeding versions, don’t get too hung up in trying to achieve perfection before getting it out in public. Bugs can be fixed along the way but investors’ first impression – and customer feedback – will go a long way to give your startup the momentum, traction, and exposure it needs during its first year of existence.

3. A Detailed Financial Projection

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Your cash flow report should show how much investment capital is needed, the projected income you will make from your product or service offering, and all possible estimates of losses and liabilities. This will give you a logical analysis of how profitable your business could be and help you clarify your key financial assumptions including price per product, operational expenses, gross margins, etc.

4. Market Analysis

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The most important thing about this part of the business plan is to describe the type of customers you want to reach versus the number of customers you can actually reach based on your operating capacity, budget, and geography. Anticipate questions about how you will handle competition so make sure you can explain how you will structure your prices or how you will remain on top of new developments to stay competitive in your industry.

5. Organization and Management

This can be a visual representation on the structure of your startup company. It should include the owners, directors/advisors, and staff including their titles, roles, and responsibilities. If you think you don’t have all the right people in place yet, make sure to put emphasis on the strongest or most relevant skills and accomplishments of each team member.
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Better yet, put extra effort into recruiting. Don’t rush into it just because you’re trying to beat the deadline for presentation to investors and industry partners. A great organizational structure can lend instant credibility.

A business plan doesn’t have to be long, but it should present all the above-mentioned information in an organized and engaging manner that will reflect the goal of your business and that will look appealing to investors.

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