Putting together a business plan is great for your own clarity and of course when you come to pitch your idea to potential investors or business partners. I also found that it’s not as easy as it may sound.
There are many details to iron out, which will help you to understand how the business is going to run and truly see if it’s an idea that has a future. The key elements that your business plan should have are:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Elevator pitch
- Products and services
- Target market
- Market research
- Competitor research
- Marketing strategy
- Operations and logistics
- Costs and pricing strategy
- Sales and costs forecasts
- Cash flow forecast
Most business plan templates include these sections but the Prince’s Trust also recommends having an owner’s background, personal survival budget and backup plan. Pretty thorough right? I’m envisioning a beautifully designed 33-page document.😟
I was spending a lot of time researching and reading all sorts of how to guides: how to write a company description, how to choose the right pricing strategy, how to write an effective elevator pitch, how to recruit providers to marketplaces and the list goes on.
Meanwhile I was also on a look out for some free business training in London (there are many!) and it’s a good idea to attend these free workshops, as you’re likely to learn something new even if they are very salesy. You can find workshops on Eventbrite and I discovered a few through Instagram advertising as I follow some relevant startup profiles like Foundr, Entrepreneur, The Startup Co. and Startup Grind.
I was actually enjoying myself writing this endless business plan but my lovely husband noticed that I wasn’t getting anywhere. He gave me a pep talk and made it clear that with my personality (i.e. me not being the classic entrepreneur) I would just end up doing research for 3 years. So he encouraged me to forget about doing more research at this stage, move on to the next step and start doing what really matters.
With hesitation I knew he was right so there and then I decided on the brand name, which took me to the next stage in my startup journey: actually validating my business.
Writing a business plan can be time consuming if you get side tracked. It’s good to be curious and ready to learn in the process but do recognise if it’s eating up a lot of your time. And quite frankly your initial business plan doesn’t need to be a 33-page master plan, it should have just enough detail so that you’re clear. Validating a business is more important at the beginning than having a polished business plan.