Without a business plan as a baseline, it will be far more difficult to track your progress, make adjustments, and have historical information readily available to reference when making difficult decisions. Creating a business plan ensures that you have a roadmap that doesn`t just outline where you plan to go, but where you`ve already been.
Start the opportunity chapter by describing the problem that you are solving for your customers. What is the primary pain point for them? How are they solving their problems today? Maybe the existing solutions to your customer`s problem are very expensive or cumbersome. For a business with a physical location, perhaps there aren`t any existing solutions within reasonable driving distance.
The more you test and review elements of your plan, the better your plan and business will be. This can save you from spending days developing a strategy that just isn`t feasible.
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.
Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. In fact, it`s very common for investors to ask for only the executive summary when they are evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they`ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation, and more in-depth financials.
This means having the right financial statements, forecasts, and a digestible explanation of your business model available for potential investors. Writing your business plan helps you put all of those pieces together and create connections between them to tell a cohesive story about your business.