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Need a startup business plan template for your new venture?

What’s the best layout for a business plan? What role should it play in your small business startup? How do you best make it work for you?

The Role Of The Business Plan In Startups

Every business needs a startup business plan template. However, there are different uses for these plans depending on the type of business you are launching, and what you expect it to do for you.

Every entrepreneur needs to sketch out their plans on paper and make sure things line up and to get a handle on their basic needs.

However, most of the time entrepreneurs are focused on business plans for the others that will see them. Even those who just plan to have a small local business will focus on creating a business plan to take to banks and local lenders. 

True startups who hope to go really big and really fast and to raise a lot of money hone in on a business plan for their perception of what they’ll need to raise money. 

Note that these dynamics have really changed a lot in the last few years. Now one of the biggest regrets that entrepreneurs have is spending way too much time on rehashing business plans and pitch decks. Especially, since they get so little attention from lenders and investors. Today, most business loan lenders aren’t going to look at your business plan at all. 

Angel investors and early-stage investors might look at your executive summary and pitch deck but aren’t going to get bogged down in an in-depth business plan. Firstly, they are too busy. Secondly, they are experienced enough to know that plans change fast when you are a hyper-growth startup. 

Business Plan Templates

There are a variety of places to find a startup business plan template and help with business plans.

Some of the most common are:

  • SCORE which provides advisors for small businesses
  • SBA which also provides small business loans
  • Upwork for hiring someone to write your business plan

You can also check out my step by step startup business plan template guide for what to include in a full and comprehensive business plan, published on Forbes here.

Remember that storytelling is everything. Now investors may ask you more for a pitch deck instead of a business plan that captures the essence of what you are doing. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here).

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

The One Page Business Plan

One thing that entrepreneurs need to get over and fast is that increasing the length of the business plan does in any way increase your potential altitude and speed or odds of getting funded. 

It is important to do some kind of budget and to get a handle on cash flow and have a marketing budget. The number one reason that new businesses fail is running out of money. That can even happen in your best month of sales.

However, short and sweet didn’t stop Airbnb from achieving close to a $40B valuation and spreading all over the world with just a one-page business plan.

The most effective business plan, and especially when you want potential investors just to speed through to giving you their capital is one that is brief and simple. 

For yourself and your team, you want a plan that just keeps you focused.

Here are the five things that should be on that one page.

1. Your Mission

What are your purpose and mission? What are you trying to accomplish? This will guide your team, make it really clear and simple as to what your business is doing, and give everyone from your customers to investors and employees something to gather around and be a part of.

This just needs to be a sentence or two.

2. Your Vision

What’s your big-picture vision? What does the world look like when your vision is fully realized?

Again, keep it simple, just a sentence or two. This is what will keep you going during the tough days, and even when you have to change tactics and the path to get there.

3. Long Term Goals

What are your specific long term goals? Think 3 to 5 items that you will achieve over the next 5 plus years. These are the big ones. It may include your exit strategy, major partnerships, significant expansion plans, and metrics.

These are the big things you are shooting for that will tell you that you’ve arrived. Even though there will always be bigger new goals to shoot for.

4. Strategy

What are the strategies and tactics you will use to get to these long term goals? What sales channels will you use? What unique positioning will you use? 

5. Short Term Plans

What are the next 3-7 things on your to-do list? Are you raising money? When will you raise your next big round? What key hires are you looking to make? What will you do with any new funds? What new markets are you expanding into? What sales goals and milestones are you set on achieving? What key missing pieces do you need to plug in to make this work?

Summary

You shouldn’t be in business without a startup business plan template and for that you need a startup business plan template. If you try, you probably won’t be in business long.

However, the rules of business plans have changed. They may not be expected where you think they are any longer. They certainly would be read through in-depth if they are long. You’ll probably rely on them less than you think. However, you still need some type of document to show potential investors and to stay focused.

This one-page business plan may be just what you need to get going. If you are planning to use it to raise capital, check out this fundraising training course for even more tips.

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