Key features to include in a startup business plan

Regardless of your idea, there are six elements that should be present in any business plan. A clear structure will allow stakeholders to pull out key information and decide whether your plan is viable or not. It will help investors and employees to understand your business and your objectives clearly and concisely. 

Length of business plan

If you’re wondering how long your business plan should be, you need to look at the nature of your business as the plan’s length will differ from business to business. 

A basic plan can be as few as five pages long, sometimes even less, whereas more comprehensive plans may exceed twenty pages, but no more. This is because no one is likely to read the entire plan; they may only require the essential ‘pull out’ information. 

If you believe you need to present extra proof and statistics, include these as appendices.

Business plan executive summary

This section is a synopsis of your company, similar to an abstract in an academic paper. Executive summary business plans explain your idea, mission, and objectives in a concise manner. This section may also include information on your location, employee count, and basic operations.

Products and services

This section goes into additional information on the product or service you’re selling. Make sure to include information regarding the product’s longevity, cost, and benefits for the consumer. 

Include details about your manufacturing process and available patents if you want to manufacture goods. Describe the R&D process if development and research is involved.

Competition and market analysis

Here is where you outline the markets in which your product can be sold. If you are providing something completely new, you should emphasise that there is a gap in the market that your product can fit into. This essentially comes down to consumer demand.  When delivering something that already exists, you should pay close attention to competition and market analysis when writing a business plan.

List your top competitors and explain how your product differs from theirs. This section should also include details about the company’s strengths and weaknesses.

Marketing strategy

This is one of the most crucial elements of any business plan, thus it should be quite extensive. A marketing plan includes the value proposition of the organisation, significant brand messaging, and data on target audience demographics. Depending on the nature of your business, you may wish to employ a range of marketing strategies.

This could include plans for social media, content marketing, and product launch marketing, which detail the channels, strategies, methods, and campaigns you intend to utilise to promote your new business or product.

Financial planning

This section outlines your financial objectives. Startups should present estimates of potential profitability as well as time frames for meeting these financial goals. Companies who have already been in business and are looking for growth, partnership or investment options should provide insight into your existing financial status.

A small business’s financial goals may include generating an appealing profit margin or attaining a specific goal, such as accumulating enough money to purchase a specific piece of equipment. In this situation, billing sheets and statements can be presented inside a financial planning section or an appendix. Take a look at our strategic planning document to see an example of how to create a financial plan. 

Budget and pricing

The budget may appear to belong in the financial planning section, but the two are not the same. Financial planning deals with the profits a company plans to earn. A budget is concerned with the initial expenses needed  to launch a new business. These include any pricing costs related to staffing, R&D, marketing, etc. 

If you wish to attract investors, this is the section where you specify how much money you require. When developing an internal business strategy, this part should provide a clear picture of the initial spending that will need to be allocated straight away.

To account for the price structure of the products, a pricing strategy includes aspects such as competition behaviour, market conditions, consumer trends, and other variable expenses. Before advertising products to clients, businesses must decide on a price plan. Incoming and outgoing money are two distinct areas that will drive profitability.

Many factors influence money going out (or expenses). This includes efficiency, marketing, technology, staffing, as well as others. Money coming in is determined by the amount and value of work, both of which are affected by pricing. Thus, pricing will have a significant impact on your revenue and profitability. It is worthwhile to devote some attention to it.

Consider what you and your client require from a pricing structure.

Writing and formatting

When looking for business plan samples, you will see that they all follow a similar pattern. However, the formats may differ slightly. Consider the type of your business while selecting an example business plan.  Stick to traditional templates if your business is traditional as it will generate a clear and consistent impression.

Finally, keep in mind that a business strategy is not something that can be written quickly in one day. The Harvard Business Review says that successful entrepreneurs spend up to 6-12 months perfecting their concepts from the planning stage. However, if you’ve done some research already, you’ll save time. Find the best tips to make a business plan here. 

Nonetheless, analysing and investigating every facet of future business operations is a time-consuming procedure. However, it remains one of the most important components of a business plan. The good news is that proven, well-researched business plans frequently result in successful, profitable businesses, which is why you should create a business plan.

Need help with the structure of a business plan?

Whether you are self-employed or own a small business, we can advise and help with your business plan. To speak to one of our experts, contact us here

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