Investors and loan providers need to know that you have a solid understanding of the trajectory of your business. You need to prove that there is an attainable and sustainable need for your solution, that you have a strong business strategy, and that your business can be financially stable.
And you don`t have to start with the full, detailed business plan that I`m going to describe here. In fact, it can be much easier to start with a simple, one-page business plan—what we call a Lean Plan—and then come back and build a slightly longer, more detailed business plan later.
Second, your business plan should be a tool you use to run and grow your business. Something you continue to use and refine over time. An excessively long business plan is a huge hassle to revise—you`re almost guaranteed that your plan will be relegated to a desk drawer, never to be seen again.
At the top of the page, right under your business name, include a one-sentence overview of your business that sums up the essence of what you are doing. This can be a tagline but is often more effective if the sentence describes what your company actually does. This is also known as your value proposition.
Investors, lenders, and others know that a market without competitors is typically a tiny and uninteresting market. And, of course, a healthy, growing market will always attract competition. So, unless you`re creating a new industry or a new market segment, you will have competitors. And, you`ll need to figure out how to beat them or at least to compete with them.
The best use of business plans starts with founders using plans to establish strategy, tactics, milestones, and (especially important) essential projections of sales, spending, headcount, startup costs, capital needs; it`s for the founders to know, first, what they plan to do.