It was a Thursday around 10:30am when I received a simple text, “You got a second to chat?” The text was from someone I had met when I was serving as a board member and I knew this would be an interesting call. Minutes later we were catching up on our life events and then on the path to writing a business plan.
A good business plan communicates the vision, strategy, and execution for your idea. It becomes the heart of your business model as well as solid reference point as you move forward with your new business. I once worked for a CEO who referred to these elements with a war metaphor:
- Vision – what hill are we going to take
- Strategy – how are we going to take the hill
- Execution – what are the goals, initiatives, and tasks to make it happen
I recommend starting your business plan with an overview of the problem you are solving, state of the market, current alternatives, and introducing your solution to the problem. It does not need to be long; one page with a few paragraphs works well. Include as many independent data points as possible and remember to footnote them to build credibility.
Perhaps the most critical piece of the business plan is defining the Total Address Market. This section of the plan puts a dollar value on just how big of a revenue opportunity you have with your idea. The formula usually looks something like the number of people in a specific location multiplied by the selling price of your new product or service. It is also important to identify how much of the market you believe you can capture given existing competitors and your strategy.
Writing a business plan takes time. I doubt you can complete it in one pass and you will likely update it multiple times. You might get stuck or frustrated during the writing process or trying to piece all of the data points together. If this happens, reach out to trusted friend or business partner to talk through it.
If the idea of staring from a blank page is too overwhelming, I can help with a template that you purchase below. I’m also available to work with you on a consulting basis and happy to sign a confidentiality agreement. Feel free to use my Contact page to get a conversation started.