A Standard Business Plan Outline [Updated for 2017]

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This article is part of our “Business Planning Guide” —a curated list of our articles that will help you with the planning process! Start from the very beginning understanding that your business plan ought to be specific to your business needs and objectives.

How to Write a Business Plan: Use This Checklist to Keep Yourself on Task

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Most people think of the business plan as a one-time event, something used to accomplish a specific goal—getting funded, usually. How you format your plan will depend on what your needs are. Describe your business in one sentence (what do you do, and who do you do it for?).

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20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan

Growthink Blog

Below are our top 20 reasons why you need a business plan. Reference our proven business plan template to most quickly and easily complete your plan. To prove that you’re serious about your business. To establish business milestones. Business Plannin

How to Write a Business Plan

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You’ve reviewed what a business plan is , and why you need one to start and grow your business. It’s time to dig into the process of actually writing a business plan. First, a few must-follow rules for writing a business plan. > Financial Plan.

How To Quickly Create A Great Business Plan


You know you need a business plan if you want funding. And you know you should have and follow a plan to grow your business. But oftentimes creating a business plan takes too long. Below are some tips to help you complete a great business plan faster: 1.

Protect Your Business Plan Like It’s Your Baby—Here’s How

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We all want the best for our babies—and our business plans! Nearly all businesses, whether they are small or large, are comprised of intellectual property (IP) and trade secrets, which can serve as the foundation for commercial success.

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How to Write the Sales and Marketing Section of Your Business Plan

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You have to be flexible about a business plan, so take what you can from what we say here and make sure it applies to your business. In general, a standard business plan includes three parts of the sales and marketing section.

How to use your business plan

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Bill Payne had a nice post on gust.com late last month titled Using your business plan , in which he lists the different forms or outputs people confuse with a business plan and sets each one into the proper use context.

Investors Expect Ten Essentials in a Business Plan

Startup Professionals Musings

People ask me if they really need ANY business plan, unless they are looking for an outside investor. In fact, a business plan is needed more by you than investors, as the blueprint for your company, team communication, and progress metrics. Explain the business model.

Strategies to Increase Your Construction Business Revenue

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In the construction industry, there are a number of ways to increase your profit margins, even when you are new to the business. When you’re first setting up shop, it’s tempting to say that your only business goal is “more than last year” or “as much as possible.”.

5 Reasons Startups Need Revenue As Well As Users

Startup Professionals Musings

Some analysts argue that revenue drives growth, while others say user growth drives revenue. Google reached $1B in revenue within five years of incorporation, and now has a market capitalization of over $400B. A business only achieved critical mass by becoming cash-flow positive.

Lean Business Planning with Tim Berry [VIDEO]

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We recently had Tim Berry, Palo Alto Software founder and business planning expert, present our Bplans audience with his latest advice on lean business planning. Start your lean business plan today: Download our Free Lean Plan Template one-page-pitch-download.pdf.

Pull Investors to Your Business Plan With a Summary

Startup Professionals Musings

Modern investors love to first read a two-page summary of your business plan, formatted like a glossy marketing collateral sheet, with text well laid out in columns and sidebars, and a couple of relevant graphics. Business model.

Should Entrepreneurs Grow Revenue Or User Count?

Startup Professionals Musings

Some analysts argue that revenue drives growth, while others say user growth drives revenue. Both have worked.Google reached $1 billion in revenue within five years of incorporation, and now has a market capitalization of over $400 billion.

Small Business and Startups: The 3-Page Business Plan (and a short post to match!)

crowdSPRING Blog

Well, it’s been a while since we last explored the topic of business plans and plenty has changed. The age of the 80-page plan has passed and has been replaced with the 140-character attention span. Business Summary. The Market and the Plan.

Business Plan Financial Forecasts Test Your Savvy

Startup Professionals Musings

In reality, you need to set these projections as goals for your own use, to convince employees as well as investors that you have a business which is challenging, but achievable. The holy grail is break-even, when revenues first catch up with the outflow.

Business Plan Financial Models are Not Black Magic

Startup Professionals Musings

Most entrepreneurs tend to avoid this area of the business, and as a result are badly surprised by cost realities, and investor expectations. What is a business financial model, really? While people start businesses for many reasons, making money is usually important.

10 Things That Make a Business Plan NOT Fundable


I really like Martin Zwilling’s post here yesterday, 10 things that make a business plan fundable. That made me think about this list, the opposite, things that make a plan not fundable. The only businesses that have no competition are businesses that nobody wants.

The History of Lean Planning

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Lean Planning is a concept that we introduced back in 2012 as an evolution in business planning. The traditional business plan just wasn’t fitting the needs of modern, fast-moving companies and it was time to bring more of a scientific approach to business planning.

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7 Revenue-Boosting Strategies for Your Travel Business

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Not only is the travel industry one of the largest in the world, but it encompasses a wide variety of business types and customer needs. Customer referral programs can be an effective way to increase revenue for your travel agency, if implemented correctly.

Are Business Plans Still Necessary?

Both Sides of the Table

Many of these businesses were what First Round Capital called FNACs (features, not companies – this acronym has always stuck with me). Someone remind me to do a future post on why I think the Ramen Profitable approach has actually hurt some businesses.

Ten Deadly Sins of Writing a Business Plan to Raise Capital

Business Plan Blog

Ten Deadly Business Plan Writing Sins for Raising Capital. Another key factor is how these business concepts are portrayed in the startup’s business plan. All good business plans put considerable attention on the competition for several reasons.

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Small Business and Startups: Thinking About Business Plans (again)

crowdSPRING Blog

I am thinking about starting a new business and beginning to focus on planning, financing, marketing, launching and operating the thing. But, I have been thinking a lot about what I would do differently and that would start with the business plan itself.

The Anatomy of a Killer Business Plan

Inc Startups

What key elements should you include in your business plan? I started investing in start-ups in 1996 and have seen plenty of business plans. The other three went out of business. Here you go.

Website Ads are Not a Revenue Stream for Startups

Startup Professionals Musings

One of the biggest red flags I see in many Internet-related business plans today is advertising as the initial revenue stream, or a key part of it. Until you get a million page-views per month, your revenue will be negligible, and advertisers won’t be interested in your site.

Q&A: That Nonprofit Business Plan

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Do you have a template for the particular issues and approach that a nonprofit business plan would require? Or, do you know of an alternative source that would have such a business plan? Every business plan is unique. A nonprofit plan is a business plan.

6 Best Business Planning Tips I Ever Got

Inc Startups

My point is that in business you’re going to confront unforeseen stumbling blocks, and you have to be able to hurdle them--quickly and effectively. One of the best pieces of advice Martin ever gave me was about crafting a business plan that can absorb shocks to the system.

No Business Plan Survives First Contact With A Customer – The 5.2 billion dollar mistake.

Steve Blank

Conceived in 1987 by Motorola and spun out in 1990 as a separate company, Iridium planned to build a mobile telephone system that would work anywhere on earth. With an out-of-this-world business plan. A Business Plan Frozen in Time.

Writing Your Business Plan

Business Plan Blog

Business Plan Benefits. You can be sure that writing your business plan will be a time consuming process. Familiarize Yourself with the Business Plan Table of Contents. If you need any help writing your business plan, contact us for a free consultation

Tips for Writing a Successful Business Plan for a Daycare Center

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Working out a business plan for your daycare center can be a challenge. As someone who owns eight successful daycares in the Chicago area, I know the strategies and approaches that work when it comes to developing a sound business plan for a daycare center.

The Mission Model Canvas – An Adapted Business Model Canvas for Mission-Driven Organizations

Steve Blank

As we prepared for the new Hacking for Defense class at Stanford, we had to stop and ask ourselves: How do we use the Business Model Canvas if the primary goal is not to earn money, but to fulfill a mission? From Revenue Streams to Mission Achievement.

Early Stage Entrepreneurs Don't Need a Business Plan, They Need a Battle Plan!

Small Business Force

It never ceases to amaze me, the amount of time early stage entrepreneurs spend creating a business plan that's, often, a combination graduate thesis, Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, with graphics that would dazzle the folks at Pixar.

10 Answers That Make Your Startup Plan Investable

Startup Professionals Musings

Entrepreneurs who are looking to attract investors need to develop and pitch a plan -- preferably written -- that answers every potential investor question about your startup before it is asked. What is the business problem you are solving? How does your business model make money?

SWOT Analysis Examples

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Even if you already know what a SWOT analysis is and what it’s used for, it can be tough to translate that information and examine your own business with a critical eye. See Also: The Complete Sedibeng Breweries Business Plan. See Also: The Complete UPer Crust Pies Business Plan.

Proven Strategies to Increase Your Nonprofit’s Revenue

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For nonprofit business owners, finding money—and finding it on a regular basis—is a constant worry. In this article, I’m going to provide you with a list of strategies that will help you increase your nonprofit’s revenue so that you can not only stay in operation, but thrive!

10 Entrepreneur Approaches That Turn Off Investors

Startup Professionals Musings

Others will work hard on a business plan, and then mail it indiscriminately to every potential investor they can find on the Internet. Attached is a copy of my full business plan for your review.” I don’t have a business plan, but the technology is disruptive.”

What Lenders Look for in a Business Plan

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Tweet Your business plan is the foundation of your business. It’s also an invaluable tool when it comes time to apply for a business loan. When lenders ask for a business plan, they are looking specifically for the following items: History of the business.

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Startups With Real Revenue Can Get Venture Capital

Startup Professionals Musings

To me, this indicates that venture capitalists (VCs) are looking for business, but not from first-time startups. Your friends and family are really the only answer until you have a significant revenue stream. It also helps to keep track of the business sectors VCs are focusing on.

Step Away From the Business Plan

Inc Startups

The “learning and discovery” part of the Customer Development philosophy can be immensely disorienting to a founder, engineer, or investor who has spent his or her career executing a plan. Bonus Rule: No business plan survives first customer contact.

6 Tips to Maximize Your Coffee Shop’s Revenue

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It’s about being clued-in to key strategies that have been proven to boost revenue. By 2019, Starbucks projects that Evenings will add about $1 billion to overall sales revenue, and that by the end of 2019 the program will be in operation in 20 to 25 percent of stores across the U.S.