The founders of a startup business want to discuss the idea in more detail, so they need a business plan. Most business plans are too complex for this early stage of ideation about the business. Is there a short list of topics or headings? What parts of the business should the founders discuss at this early stage?
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it depends a little bit on the type of business. But here are a few things that every business plan should cover.
Executive summary: write this last. It will be much easier to summarize your business once you have written all that component pieces.
Product or service: Briefly describe the product or service you will offer. Make sure to describe it from the perspective of your customer or client. What is the value to your customer or client? That is more important than the features and functions.
Marketing: how will clients learn about your product or service? Advertising? National, regional, or local? Try to include metrics, numbers of target audience members you have to reach for each buyer.
Business model: this is often left out or not explicit. How will you make money? "Buy wholesale; sell retail" is a well understood business model. So is "subscription pricing." Lots of options. Just put into words how you will make money.
Financial model: build a spreadsheet of start up costs and cost of goods sold. Nothing fancy, just enough so you can figure out when (or if) you will break even. Assume it will all two a lot longer and cost a lot more than you think, because it will.
Team: described be the strengths of the team. Even if it's a small team, you want to identify gaps. For example, if you are great at marketing and your partner is a great chef, you have an incomplete team for a restaurant because you really need a financial person on the team.
You initial business plan doesn't have to be longer than a couple of pages. The hard part is thinking through the issues enough to get the answers right.