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How To: Startup Business Plan

Business plan templates are a dime a dozen. You can find hundreds of guides and models to follow online. So, why is it still so hard for startups to develop a successful business plan?

The problem is that the majority of business plan templates found online are designed for traditional companies. As a lean startup, a lot of the sections in these plans aren’t going to fit your company.

And, trying to squeeze information into sections just to appease the template you’re using will result in a low-quality business plan.

How do startups write an effective business plan when traditional templates don’t work? It’s time to find out. And here you have little bit idea about cross marketing.

Ditch The Templates, Mostly

The trap that a lot of new company owners fall into when devising their business plan is thinking that the structure of that plan is set in stone. It’s not. You can (and should) make your business plan your own.

You can use a template to give you an idea of what sort of information and structure are expected of your plan, but don’t be afraid to color outside the lines. You can move, add and remove sections as you feel fits your company the best.

Worry Less About Length

A traditional business plan can be over 10 pages long, more if you include charts and projections. Most lean startups won’t come close to this mark for a variety of reasons.

     Your business is just beginning, which means you don’t have a lot of data on finances, market share, projections, etc.
     Your business is rapidly developing and subject to change quickly and often
      The scope of your startup business is simple and you don’t need a lot of information to describe it.

It’s okay if your business plan is only a couple of pages long. In some cases, being able to quickly explain your business is more valuable than putting it all on the table.

What To Include

With the overview out of the way, it is time to focus on some of the suggested details and sections of your startup business plan.

Value Proposition

Every business plan, traditional or startup, needs a value proposition. This is where you share the unique edge that your company has that no one else offers.


What outside companies are you partnering with? This includes your suppliers, software providers, manufacturers, distributors, etc.


Much of your business plan describes the company itself and what you’ll do. Here you want to describe how you’ll get that done. This is where you include all of the things that will separate you from the competition, such as creative marketing campaigns, innovative sales channels, etc.


What resources do you have to help your business and add value to the customer experience? Important resources could be your staff, software and technology solutions, intellectual properties and so on.


Who will your company serve? Be specific about your audience and the various segments that your company will conduct business with. You want to have a clear and specific idea of what type of person will benefit most from your products or services. This ideal audience should be backed with market research.


When you begin to acquire customers, how will you cultivate those relationships? What communication channels will you use to interact with customers? And, how will these interactions take place? Your business may be conducted strictly online rather than in person. Or, it could mix both.


Naturally, you need to include some financial information. This is what investors or potential partners use to measure the value of your business. First, discuss your operational costs, if any. How much money do you need to stay in business?

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