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Importance of Having a Business Plan

When starting a business, seeking funding, or adding a new partner, business owners are frequently told it is a best practice to write a business plan. The purpose of a plan is to demonstrate how your venture will be structured and operate.  It also provides confidence to lenders and investors that you have thought your venture through, and have a plan in place to be successful.


The “barrier” to writing a business plan is usually the time and detail required.  In addition, most business owners simply don’t feel qualified to write a comprehensive plan. Fortunately, depending on the purpose of your plan and its audience there are alternative formats that may be considered as discussed below.


Business Plan Overview

MINNEAPOLIS BUSINESS MENTORS can assist you in developing a business plan that meets your needs.  Shown below are the five (5) business plan alternatives we offer assistance on. Each of these plans will help you understand your business better and to varying degrees, provide objective evidence to investors that your business is worth investing in.


Which plan is right for you?  The best plan alternative for you will depend on the purpose of your plan, the intended audience, and the level of detail required. You should be prepared to use a combination of these plans as required. 



Feasibility Example

Feasibility Template


Lean Canvas Plan



Comprehensive Plan


Feasibility Business Plan

A feasibility plan looks at the viability of a business idea. It helps identify potential business risks and provides a rough idea of the potential for success.  The goal of this plan is to answer the question: will this business idea work and should you proceed with it? 


A feasibility plan is generally for an internal audience. The feasibility business plan is an early stage assessment of a business idea. It contains only limited (preliminary) assumptions concerning business structure, products and services, resources, and other information concerning your business idea.  This plan will help you to identify key drivers of your business.  


The basic elements considered in the feasibility business plan are shown below. This list covers many of the 

important questions associated with starting a business. The depth of the information provided is lean (it presents only highlights instead of a detailed discussion).    

  • Business Description

  • Product or Service Description

  • Market Analysis Overview

  • Marketing and Sales Strategy Overview

  • Management Team

  • Financials

  • Risks to Consider

  • Conclusion

Lean Canvas Business Plan

A lean canvas business plan is a 1-page plan. This plan provides a quick overview of your company and prospects. The layout of the lean canvas plan is easy to understand, the information provided is very focused, it shows connections between the elements and it is easy to communicate. It normally takes less than 45-minutes to fill in the lean canvas.


Banks and investors may ask for additional information with this type of plan.


There are nine blocks or steps associated with a 1-page plan. The depth of the information provided is lean.

  1. Customer Segments

  2. Problem Identification

  3. Unique Value Proposition

  4. Solution

  5. Channels

  6. Revenue Streams

  7. Cost Structure

  8. Key Metrics

  9. Unfair Advantage

Mini Business Plan

A mini plan is a summarized version of a comprehensive business plan.  A mini plan is generally for an external audience.  This plan presents/highlights only the most important points of your plan. It provides summarized information to either build a business or secure funding. The mini plan is typically 10-15 pages in length.

The basic elements considered in the mini business plan are shown below.  This list covers many of the important questions associated with starting a business. The depth of the information provided is summary level.

  • Executive Summary

  • Business Description

  • Product or Service

  • Marketing Strategy

  • Competitors Analysis

  • Operations Overview

  • Management and Organization

  • Startup Expenses and Capitalization

  • Financial Plan


Comprehensive Business Plan

A comprehensive plan may be for either an internal or external audience and its primary purpose is to provide detailed information to a requesting bank or other equity institution from which you may be requesting financing. This plan provides detailed information about your business (sales, marketing, operations, management, and finance). The comprehensive business plan can vary anywhere from 20 - 50 pages in length.


When you write your business plan, not all of these sections will necessarily apply to your business; however, they may suggest other areas that would be useful in planning for your business.


You don’t have to stick to the exact business plan outline. Instead, use the sections that make the most sense for your business and your needs. The depth of the information provided is detailed. Comprehensive business plans use applicable combinations of the following sections.

  • Executive Summary

  • Company Description

  • Products or Services

  • Marketing Plan

  • Operational Plan

  • Management and Organization

  • Startup Expenses and Capitalization

  • Financial Plan


Pitch Deck

A pitch deck is a presentation to potential investors to help them learn more about your business.  The goal of a pitch deck is to interest your investors and get another meeting.


A pitch deck is a visual representation of your business plan. It is typically a slide presentation that gives a short summary of your company, your business plan and your Startup vision.  If you are looking for investors it includes how they will make money.


A well-designed pitch deck clearly conveys what your business does (value proposition), why and how you will be successful and how investors will benefit.  This is done in an engaging and compelling way that excites your audience and spurs them to want to invest in you and your business.

An example of the components of a pitch deck include the following:

  • Cover/Introduction

  • Opportunity

  • Problem

  • Solution/Value Proposition

  • Traction

  • Customer/Market

  • Competition

  • Business Model

  • Team

  • Financials

If you would like more information on preparing a business plan for your business, please CONTACT Minneapolis Business Mentors.