There are so many business plan templates to prompt the presentation of your map to success. Some are tailored to one industry or another. Others are boiler-plate MBA outlines. Still, at the center of every business plan are three key points — your purpose, your plan, and your progress indicators.
Your first challenge is to define your startup’s purpose for being. The raison d’etre for your burgeoning business. What pain point do you serve and in what way? What is the intention or objective of your company? Defining the purpose of your business reveals what needs to be done to move it forward. Clarifying can include a simple description of your products or services, or it can elaborate on detailed offerings, as well as a precise description of who you will serve — your ideal customer. Outlining your purpose will define what the business is — where you are starting — and what it intends to be — your future vision.
Once your purpose is revealed, you need a plan to reach your vision. Define your goals and the steps needed to reach them. A map of goals will help you and your team know when to act, and when to wait. Factor for future growth in the business plan to prepare for changes in the market, evolving trends, innovations to pursue, or opportunities to take as your company grows. A a comprehensive business plan includes statistics, facts, and details that show whether or not your startup has the potential to be profitable. This is a critical factor when soliciting investors to provide capital required for getting started. Your plan outlines the organizational structure of your business, including positions and individual duties. This is a game-plan for your entire team, keeping everyone working together with an eye on the prize, from partners to suppliers, leaders, and employees of your venture.
Know your metrics. Measure your results. Note how you have progressed. Without progress that confirms you are on target, it can be difficult to know whether you are still on the right path. Validate your intent and results, daily. Be sure you and your team are prepared to make operational decisions in line with the overall business strategy. Your plan shows the way and includes alternate actions the company will follow if projections are overly optimistic. Referring to your plan helps maintain a big-picture view as you make day-to-day decisions.
Your business plan is a living guide for your vision. It is a reference and a management tool to ensure efforts are aligned to meet goals, targets, and milestones.