Every business (startup, existing business, non-profit) should have a business plan – and, in fact, even individuals should have a business model & a planfor themselves. The reason is because
(1) writing it down makes your idea concrete, and (2) it is the first step to business success.
Here are some key elements of a business plan:
Target Audience: Who is the customer? Is this customer new or different from your existing customer?
Value Proposition: Why should the customer care about your product? What customer need/want does your product satisfy?
Customer Experience: Does the product meet the customer experience promise? Does this customer experience help build/maintain your brand?
Product Description: How will you describe the product to the customer? Is it a service, solution, resource or something else?
Target Market: What is the overall market size and growth rate? What are analysts saying about the target market?
Competition: How is your product different from the competitor? How will you describe this difference to the customer?
Pricing & Revenue Model: What price will the customer pay? What do your revenue projections look like over 6 months, and up to a 5-year period?
Sales: Who is selling the product? How are they selling it? How are they getting compensated to sell it?
Marketing: Who will market your product? What tactics (traditional or new) will they use? How will they work with your sales team?
Customer Service & Operations: Who will make sure customers are getting the support? Who will make sure that underlying infrastructure supports the end-to-end customer experience?
If you have written a business plan, you know writing one is both is an art and a science. I say art because writing a simple and clear business plan takes time and clarity, and science because you need the data/numbers to support your claims. If you already have a product, service or a solution, then don’t fall into the trap of “we will build it and they will come” – answer these 10 question areas today, and create your roadmap by writing down your plans.