You might prefer a lean startup plan if you want to explain or start your business quickly, your business is relatively simple, or you plan to regularly change and refine your business plan
Lean startup formats are charts that use only a handful of elements to describe your company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. They’re useful for visualizing trade-offs and fundamental facts about your company.
There are many versions of lean startup templates, but one of the oldest and most well known is the Business Model Canvas, developed by Alex Osterwalder. You can search the web to find free templates of the Business Model Canvas, or other versions, to build your business plan.
Note the other businesses or services you’ll work with to run your business. Think about suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors and similar strategic partners.
List the ways your business will gain a competitive advantage. Highlight things like selling direct to consumers, or using technology to tap into the sharing economy.
List any resource you’ll leverage to create value for your customer. Your most important assets could include staff, capital, or intellectual property. Don’t forget to leverage business resources that might be available to women, veterans, Native Americans, and HUBZone businesses.
Make a clear and compelling statement about the unique value your company brings to the market
Describe how customers will interact with your business. Is it automated or personal? In person or online? Think through the customer experience from start to finish.
Be specific when you name your target market. Your business won’t be for everybody, so it’s important to have a clear sense of who your business will serve.
List the most important ways you’ll talk to your customers. Most businesses use a mix of channels and optimize them over time.
Will your company focus on reducing cost or maximizing value? Define your strategy, then list the most significant costs you’ll face pursuing it.
Explain how your company will actually make money. Some examples are direct sales, memberships fees, and selling advertising space. If your company has multiple revenue streams, list them all.
Use your appendix to provide supporting documents or other materials were specially requested. Common items to include are credit histories, resumes, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, or patents, legal documents, permits, and other contracts.
Business Plan Tool
The SBA’s Business Plan Tool provides you with a step-by-step guide to create your business plan. You can save your plan online and update it any time, or download it as a PDF file.