A business plan is a document describing a business, its products or services, how it earns (or will earn) money, its leadership and staffing, its financing, its operations model, and many other details essential to its success.

Business Plan Blueprint


Investors rely on business plans to evaluate the feasibility of a business before funding it, which is why business plans are commonly associated with getting a loan. But there are several compelling reasons to consider writing a business plan, even if you don’t need funding.
  • Planning
  • Evaluating ideas
  • Research
  • Recruiting
  • Partnerships
  • Competitions
If you are looking for a structured way to lay out your thoughts and ideas, and to share those ideas with people who can have a big impact on your success, a business plan is an excellent starting point.

 

Why you need a Business Plan

The most import purpose to have a business plan is actually for you and your team to agree on the overall vision and strategy, as well as identify, prioritise and plan the next key focus areas. Another obvious use of the business plan is to shape it into a pitch-deck to get funded.

As an entrepreneur you need to keep your eye on 6 key areas. Hereby presenting you with the Business Blueprint:

 

1. Purpose

The first thing you need to articulate and be crystal clear about is your purpose, that is what it is about. There are two main parts to describe here; the problem space (current) and the solution space (future).

Problem Space:
Before jumping ahead in solution-mode it is important to really understand and describe the underlying problem and take stock of the current competition. Innovation often starts with an idea to solve a pain-point.

Solution Space: Describe whatever the actual value is that your solution creates e.g. save money/time, reduce complexity, increase comfort, etc. Also highlight how your solution is solving the problem and what it is that makes your solution better than the competition, current alternatives etc.

 

2. Goal & Revenue Model

Having defined the purpose you need to describe a convincing vision with an ambitious goal. Here you need to share what exactly you will be aiming for and what goal will make this a success. In your vision you will describe how much value (typically revenue) you aim to capture as well as projection of how many you believe can be convinced to take to your solution.

 

3. Market Strategy

Your worthwhile purpose with an exciting vision, also needs a credible strategy outlining how you plan to get there. Working back from the goal you can describe how you plan to progress and grow towards your target.

Once you have found a problem-solution fit your focus can shift towards validating the whether there is a market for your solution.

 

4. Status

Be very transparent when it comes to sharing where you are today towards your goal. Share the key learning to-date, the assumptions that have already been validated and how, and any other proof of traction.

 

5. Plan

By this stage you have hopefully managed to excite everyone to believe in your purpose, vision and strategy as well as shared the current status.

The “plan” part of your business plan is vital as it justifies any funding you are asking for and what your next steps are. Here you will also openly share what your next objectives are, which activities your team has planned for this, and why those activities were prioritised.

 

6. Support

You have provided enough information to now ask for the support you need to execute the planned activities. Be clear what the resources are whether it is money, people, time, etc.

Other than the 6 key areas above, you obviously also need a catchy name and a high level pitch where you describe what you are about in one simple sentence.

All this information is fundamentally very similar, irrespective whether you are pitching to get funding for your start-up. It can also serve when you are updating an internal innovation board on the results of your past quarter’s activities to get buy-in on your approach, next steps and ask for further support.

Nothing on the Business Plan Blueprint is a one-off exercise. Anything can change based on the learning and outcomes of previous activities. You may learn something that significantly changes your solution or it can make you adapt your strategy. It can also provide you with facts that change  your long term goal probably to make them more realistic.

The Business Plan Blueprint can be your team’s working dashboard, to openly share where you are, what you are working on and where you are going. Whatever your rate of updates, tag each version of your business plan so that it becomes your journey from conceptual idea to a successful new product!

Ensure your company overview include both short- and long-term goals. Short-term goals, generally, should be achievable within the next year, while one to five years is a good window for long-term goals. Make sure all your goals are S.M.A.R.T. specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

Ensure you take a SWOT analysis w looks at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. What are the best things about your company? What are you not so good at? What market or industry shifts can you take advantage of and turn into opportunities? Are there external factors threatening your ability to succeed?