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December is National Write Up a Business Plan Month. Having a business plan is essential for any business, especially startups. Your startup business plan outlines your ideas and strategies and helps you to set milestones for measuring success. If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve outlined all you need to know.

Why do you need a startup business plan?

Having a business plan for your startup helps you to set concrete goals and stay on track to completing them.

Startup business plans can also be an important tool in getting investments. Some investors may want some reassurance on the viability of their investment in your company. Having a clear plan that you can share with them can aid in providing that reassurance.

How to create a startup business plan

Creating a startup business plan can seem daunting at first, especially if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve broken down the process into 7 steps:

1. Clarify the startup vision, mission, and values

You can’t create a business plan without a full understanding of your startup. Once you know what your startup does, ask yourself why: What is the startup’s mission? What problem will it help customers solve? Your startup’s mission statement should help define your startup’s reason for existing.

2. Outline the executive summary

Once you have the idea for your startup and its mission and values, you can write your executive summary. This summary should be simple and straight to the point. Begin by writing a one-sentence introduction that showcases the core customer need and how you propose to solve it. 

3. Develop startup goals and milestones

Next you should be outlining your goals. What are your main priorities as you start out? You could focus on gaining new customers, attaining a specific revenue number, etc. Setting clear short-term goals for your startup and help you figure out how to prioritize tasks.

4. Write a company description

In your company description you need to answer two essential questions: who are you and what will you do? Some things to include in your company description include:

  • Your proposed business structure (limited partnership, sole proprietorship, incorporated company, or a general partnership)
  • Your business model
  • What industry you’ll be part of
  • Your business vision and mission statement
  • Some background information of your team members

5. Conduct market analysis

You need to choose the right market with a clear niche. What audience of customers with a need or a pain point is your business aiming to satisfy?

6. Develop startup partnerships and resources

When launching your startup, you’ll need capital to back it up. One of the best ways to get funding as a startup is through investments. For help finding potential investors, Grasshopper offers Grasshopper Connect, an exclusive feature that allows our startup clients to explore and connect with a curated list of investors within our network to secure their financial support.

7. Write a marketing plan and budget

The final step to creating a successful startup business plan is writing a marketing plan and a budget. Your marketing plan should define your startup’s target audience and brand image. Your budget should outline your expected expenses. 

Some things to keep in mind

We want you to create the best possible business plan for your startup, so here are some of the top tips to keep in mind as you’re creating it:

  • Know your audience: Tailor your language and detail level to match the audience reading it so that they have a clear understanding of your plan.
  • Have a clear, simple goal: Keep things precise. Bigger goals can be broken down into smaller tasks that can be more quickly accomplished
  • Research: Don’t assume anything when creating your plan. Have reference points and data to back yourself up.
  • Be flexible: Startups are always growing and evolving, so a good startup business plan should also be able to change over time.

Every good startup starts with a good startup business plan. Taking the time to make sure it’s created properly can help to set you up for success as your startup launches!

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