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How To Write a Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan [updated for September 2020]

How to Write a Business Plan
How to Write a Business Plan

In this article I show you how to write a business plan in just 13 slides. This will allow you to build the modern business plan you need to do business in 2020 and beyond. If it’s easier for you to listen to how to build your business plan I put together a 16 part series that goes over each of the slides on the Build a Business Success Secrets Podcast. It’s free and the links are at the end of this article for you.

Learning how to write a business plan is essential because it is:

  • the foundation of your business
  • your roadmap to grow your sales
  • a playbook to grow your team
  • a tool that shows you aspects of your business you didnโ€™t think about when you came up with your business idea

And if thatโ€™s not enough motivation for you learn how to write a business plan…

Itโ€™s scientifically proven to increase your chances of success. Yes, scientifically proven. See the FAQ section at the end of this article for the Harvard article that was written about it.

And you’re going to love this framework even better because this 13 slide business plan can also…

  • serve as your pitch deck for investors
  • sales pitch
  • recruiting team members deck
  • board member recruitment deck
  • advisory board recruitment deck

You can build this plan in a relatively short amount of time if you dedicate some focused effort. I spent a decade figuring this template out. Additionally…

Dynamic Business Plan

This business plan framework is dynamic. Just like Google Maps is when you use it to navigate to a destination and there is a traffic jam. Google Maps routes you around it to save time, gets you to your destination faster and reduces the stress of sitting in traffic.
This means you can easily adapt it to use as you’re growing and scaling your business to hit the goals and milestones you’ve set.

How to Write a Business Plan… in 13 Slides

Slide 1: Opening Slide

You want to include:

  • Your company name
  • Tag line that describes what your business does (if you have a tag line, if not, don’t worry about it)
  • Your contact information

When you are pitching potential customers, investors, or a new recruit for your team, etc… you want to give your elevator pitch here.
Your elevator pitch should be no longer than 45 seconds.

Opening Slide 1 of 13. Your elevator pitch gets you started in your Business Plan
Slide 1 – Opening slide where you give your business’ Elevator Pitch

Slide 2: Problem Slide

You want to include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving with your product and/or service

Aim to be able to give all your talking points on the problem you are solving in less than two minutes

Slide 2 of 13 Problem Slide of your business plan. What problem are you solving for your customers?
Slide 2- Problem Slide

Slide 3: Solution Slide

You want to include:

  • a description of the solution to the problem you set up in slide 2
  • you need to be very concise

Aim to be able to explain your business solution in less then two minutes

Slide 3 of 13 Solution Slide of your Business Plan. What is your solution to the problem you are solving?
Slide 3 – Your solution to the problem you set up in slide 2

GET A FREE PDF VERSION OF THIS HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN ARTICLE BELOW๐Ÿ‘‡

How to write a business plan 40+page guide PDF free download

Want to save yourself some time so you don’t have to print this article out? ๐Ÿ’ฅ
Download my FREE 40+ page guide Your Guide To Building the Perfect Business Plan.
It has all the slide templates in this article, some more information to help you and it’s already formatted in an easy to print format for you.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Your Guide To Building the Perfect Business Plan Download, It’s FREE
(note: the link will open a new window & take you to my Build a Business site because I host it there for fast downloading)

Slide 4: Product Slide

You want to include:

  • picture(s) or video of your product
  • a very short description of your product
  • one or two testimonials from current or prospective customers

Aim to be able to explain your product in less then two minutes

Slide 4 of 13 Product Slide of your business plan
Slide 4 – Your product that is the solution to the problem you set up

Slide 5: Market

You want to include:

  • your total market, total addressable market, serviceable available market, your market share. Make sure you understand and present these correctly Entrepreneurs lose a lot of money and waste a lot of time by not getting this slide right.
  • a plan to attack the market.
  • if the market is growing and at what rate

Above all, be able to give this slide, if you have to present it, in less than two minutes. It’ll force you to truly know your market.

Slide 5 of 13 Market Size of your Business
Slide 5 – Your business market size

Slide 6: Business Model

You want to include:

  • your business model
  • what competitive advantage you have using your business model
  • the financials of your business model along each step

Aim to be able to give this slide in less than two minutes.

Slide 6 of 13 Your Business Model slide of your business plan
Slide 6 – Your company’s business model

Slide 7: Traction

You want to include:

  • accomplishments to date, including but not limited to your sales
  • if you are a pre-sales company, put your pre-sales traction highlights

Aim to be able to give this slide in less than two minutes.

Slide 7 of 13 Your Business Traction for your business plan
Slide 7 – Your company’s traction

Slide 8: Competition

You want to include:

  • who is your competition
  • how is the competition positioned in the market
  • where your company fits into the competitive landscape

Again, you want to give this slide in less than two minutes.

Slide 8 of 13 your company's competition for your business plan
Slide 8 – your company’s competition

Slide 9: Barriers to Entry

You want to include:

  • a summary of your company’s moat you are creating or have created
  • what barriers have you created that will keep the competition away or at a disadvantage

I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but you want give this slide in less than two minutes because your about twenty minutes into your presentation already.

Slide 9 of 13 Barriers to Entry into your position in the market that your company has created or is creating
Slide 9 – barriers to entry into your market share

Slide 10: Financials

You want to include:

  • a summary of your financials. This includes your sales, gross margin, SG&A, EBITDA, and net profit
  • a graphic to make your numbers easy to consume
  • have your full financials (in excel) as a back up and separate document that you can send to a potential investor and which you use on a regular basis to monitor and scale your company.

    HPT 1: your full financials should include your Profit and Loss (P&L), Cash Flow, Balance Sheet, a sales and marketing tab, KPI tab that is driven from your sales and marketing tab, HR tab that shows team members salaries, taxes, benefits etc… And your HR tab should feed your other tabs.

HPT 2: This is one of the most often asked questions when figuring out how to write a business plan and ironically one of things entrepreneurs fail to get right that leads many to fail. Don’t make that mistake with your business. Get this right!

You’ve got to be able to give this slide in less two minutes because it will show you really know your financials!

Slide 10 of 13 Your company financials slide. Make sure to have a separate excel document with your full financials, sales and marketing tab, hr tab, cash flow, p&L and balance sheet
Slide 10 – your company’s financials

Slide 11: Team

You want to include:

  • who is on your management team
  • your board of directors
  • any other team members that someone should know is part of your company

And you want to give this slide in less than two minutes.

Slide 11 of 13 Your company's team. Management team, board of directors, board of advisors
Slide 11 – you company’s team

Slide 12: Business Funding

You want to include:

  • how much money you need to start, scale, grow your company
  • how you are going to use the money
  • where you are going to get the money
  • your cash flow statement to back up your financial projection

Moreover, this is a two minute slide. I’m sure you’ve got the hang of this by now, right!? ๐Ÿ™‚

Slide 12 of 13  how much money you need to start, scale and grow your business
Slide 12 – how much money you need to fund your company

Slide 13: Summary

You want to include:

  • a easy to consume summary of your business
    HPT: this page can serve as your executive summary

Importantly, give slide in less than one minute. You can use a version of your elevator pitch.

Slide 13 of 13 your business summary that can act as your company executive summary
Slide 13 – Summary of your company

How to write a business plan FAQs

How long will it take me to write my business plan using this format?

If you are starting from scratch and dedicate full days, it’s possible that you can complete it in a week using this outline to jump start you.
This estimate assumes you are good using power point or google slides, excel or google sheets, understand some finance and have some thought already done about the elements of your business.
If you have to learn the programs themselves and elements of business such as market sizing, what is a cash flow statement etc… it will take you longer.
This business plan template will get you jump started.

Is a business plan really scientifically proven to increase a company’s chance of success.

Yes. An article in Harvard Business Review July 2017 edition explained that researchers found that Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical non-planning entrepreneurs.

Also, they found that “business plans remain vital for external fundraising because it builds legitimacy and confidence among investors that the entrepreneur is serious. Further, it reassures staff, suppliers, customers, and other key stakeholders”

The 13 slide business plan pitch deck outlined here is what has lead me to my success of starting, scaling and selling two companies (so far). If it can work for me there is no good reason it can’t work for you as well.

Do I really need financials for my business plan?

Yes. Successful entrepreneurs suggest that if you are starting a company with out having built your financials you’re on a path that could lead to losing a lot of money.

What is the purpose of a business plan?

The purposes of a business plan is to
1. Map out where you are taking your business. It’s your roadmap, just like using Google Maps
2. Set goals for your business
3. Determine if your ideal is a viable business
4. Determine how much money you can make if you hit your goals
5. Understand how you are going to sell your product
6. Attract talent you need on your team
7. Attract funding for your business

What are the top 3 reasons to learn how to write a business plan?

1. Map out where you are leading your business. It’s your roadmap, just like using Google Maps.
2. Attract talent you need on your company’s team
3. Attract funding for your company

If I don’t know how to write a business plan can I hire someone?

Yes. And to get the best business plan for your company plan to spend time sitting down with the person you hire.

Do I need to go to business school to learn how to write a business plan?

No. The 13 slide business plan template outlined here will get you jumpstarted.

What does “HPT” stand for?

HPT is a “high percentage tip”. They are tips to help your business be successful.

Where did HPT’s come from?

HTP comes from the sport fishing world where anglers call fishing spots that you can goto and almost always catch fish, a, “high percentage spot”.
Brandon adapted HPS’s to HPT’s to teach how to build a business

How to write a business plan 40+page guide PDF free download

Download my FREE 40+ Page Guide to get your business plan going ๐Ÿš€

Your Guide To Building the Perfect Business Plan
It has all the slide templates in this article, some more information to help you and it’s already formatted in an easy to print format for you.

Your Guide To Building the Perfect Business Plan
๐Ÿ‘‰ Download now, It’s FREE

(note: the link will open a new window & take you to my Build a Business site because I host it there for fast downloading)

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