A business plan is essential for successful strategy development. It is a document which helps everybody in the company to understand the vision, strategy, and tactics for product or service development. Also, having a business plan is a must if you plan to pitch investors, share your plan with external stakeholders of board members. So here’s my template for an effective business plan.

A good business plan example should have the following:

  1. The project executive summary
  2. Overview of the challenge and the innovative solution addressing it
  3. Market assessment
  4. Revenue potential
  5. Innovativeness of technology used
  6. Organizational design and product development plan
  7. Project management team

The top of the business plan document should contain some basic information about the project.

<Title of the project>

<Company name>

  • Description of the project in one sentence
  • Main objective
  • The total value of the project
  • Amount requested from the investor
  • Industry/Sector

1. The project executive summary

The Project Executive Summary should explain the key elements of your development project and introduce the reader to your product or service and present the value it will create for its clients. It should also give a clear understanding of the value that the end-users will get for acquiring and using your product/service or technology. This section of the business plan should be used to provide the reader with information regarding the following:

  • What is your story?
  • A brief explanation of the problem you are attempting to solve.
  • Who are you solving this problem for?
  • How will you earn by solving this problem?
  • What is the big ambition behind your partnership?

 

2. Overview of the challenge and the innovative solution addressing it

This part of the business plan confirms that your innovative idea has a market fit and that there is a need for such a product or service. Writing this section will validate your business idea.

Describe the challenge you are addressing

Describe the challenge you are aiming to solve. A business plan should address the pain points which you want to solve with your product or service. Who is facing this challenge? How did you learn about it?

What is your innovative solution for addressing the challenge

Provide an understanding of how your solution will fit the client’s needs. The focus should be on the added value for your clients, rather than pure technical description. Put yourself in client’s shoes and try to understand how they face their challenges today and improve on that.

Do you have a prototype

If yes, describe what are the key features of your prototype. What were the reactions like? Did your clients love it? Some of the business plan examples have this section, and it is optional.

3. Market assessment

Present as much data as possible for business plan readers and make sure that you provide context for it. In the assessment of the market, please provide the context for your solution and fit it to the market you are exploring. The objective of the provided data should be to show the scale of the problem/addressable market and to show how the impact of your solution would be greater in terms of money, time and risk than the cost you would charge for it.

Be specific about the market you are targeting and provide the assessment on how these markets will react to your product, price, selling proposition, terms, etc.

Which markets are you addressing?

Describe the market by using as much data as possible. What is your primary market? What are the market entry barriers? Describe the potential for market growth. What are other potential implications of the technology/product/service you are developing?

Who are your potential clients and what is your value proposition for them?

Who are your customers? What is the premium offer of your solution to potential customers and how much value does it bring to them? What is your best estimation of the costs of customer acquisition? Who are your ideal customers and what are their characteristics in terms of size, growth rate, business culture, etc.?

Who are your main competitors?

Who are the main players on the market? Do you foresee new competitors entering the market before your product is introduced and how much time will competitors need to follow you to the market if you’re the first mover? How will your company handle the competition? What would be your advantage over the solutions that are currently used?

4. Revenue potential

Revenues are an essential part of success required to keep your business running and help you develop new or improve current projects. Be clear, specific and honest to yourself. If you’re pitching investors, your business plan should address this section with special care.

What is your marketing and sales approach?

Describe how you would approach the market. What channels to the market would you use? Which tools will you use for marketing and how will you use them? How will your technology, product or service be recognized within the target markets?

Describe your revenue model

How will the project help generate revenue and profit in the future? What is your best estimate of the lifetime value of a customer acquired? Describe the pricing strategy for your new technology, product or service. How does this compare with what was revealed in your market and competitors’ analysis? This is an essential part of a business plan.

Estimated time to market and revenue forecast

Please describe the expected timeline to develop and commercialize the proposed innovation. How long until the project can result in revenue? When will you break even? How many customers would you need to retain profitability in the long run? Provide a revenue forecast beginning with the expected date of your project’s start and continuing through the next 5 years, including your expected profit margins for each year.

5. Innovativeness of technology used

This part of the business plan should focus more on the technical part. Try to use less technical terms so that the readers of this business plan can understand it even if they are not too techy. As Einstein said – “Everything Should Be Made as Simple as PossibleBut Not Simpler“.

Describe your innovative technology

Describe the concept of the technology, product or service that will be developed. Make sure to point out the most important advantages of your product in terms of creating added value for your client.

 

6. Organizational design and product development plan

Project milestones

This part of the business plan should contain quarterly plans for achieving the project goal. What are the planned milestones? What will be the deliverables after each quarter?

SWOT analysis

This is a classic. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. To spark your imagination, here are some examples for each category.

Strengths:

  • Level of the Innovation?
  • Capabilities?
  • Competitive advantages?
  • USPs (unique selling points)?
  • Resources, Assets, People?
  • Experience, knowledge, data?
  • Financial reserves, likely returns?
  • Marketing – reach, distribution, awareness?
  • Location and geographical?
  • Price, value, quality?

Weaknesses:

  • Gaps in capabilities?
  • Lack of competitive strength?
  • Reputation, presence and reach?
  • Financials?
  • Own known vulnerabilities?
  • Timescales, deadlines and pressures?
  • Cash flow, start-up cash-drain?
  • Continuity, supply chain robustness?
  • Effects on core activities, distraction?
  • Reliability of data, plan predictability?

Opportunities:

  • Market developments?
  • Competitors’ vulnerabilities?
  • Industry or lifestyle trends?
  • Technology development and innovation?
  • Global influences?
  • New markets, vertical, horizontal?
  • Niche target markets?
  • Geographical, export, import?
  • New USPs?
  • Business and product development?

Threats:

  • Financing aspect?
  • Political effects?
  • Legislative effects?
  • Environmental effects?
  • IT developments?
  • Competitor intentions – various?
  • Market demand?
  • New technologies, services, ideas?
  • Vital contracts and partners?
  • Sustaining internal capabilities?
  • Obstacles faced?
  • Insurmountable weaknesses?
  • Loss of key staff?

Risk management with mitigation measures

This part of the business plan should address the risks and measures which you can take to prevent or mitigate them. They could be technology risks, timing, employees, procurement, budgetary issues, market risks, environmental or social, etc.

7. Project management team

Company background

Describe the company’s previous track record, its qualities, and capabilities for successfully implementing the proposed project.

Key project staff credentials

Provide a summary of the management teams’ key person credentials with a focus on the previous project implementation track record and the possibility to contact clients or other partners.

 

That’s it! If you address all these topics, your business plan will look and feel professional and well thought of. I hope this business plan example will help you build your own.