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Business Plan Assistance

A business plan is an important document for any organization - whether you are launching a start-up or growing an established brand you should have a plan in place. Business plans are useful blueprints demonstrating you have considered and assessed the decision points necessary to start and run a successful business venture.  The resulting plan provides a road map of relevant information for both you as the business owner, and possible investors to assess the viability of the venture. In addition, business plans are a useful tool when seeking partners, employees, and affiliations with other organizations.

 

As you might have guessed, business plans are individual and unique to each business. There is no “copy & paste” solution. As a result, most new and experienced Minneapolis business owners could use help in writing their business plans - and that’s where Minneapolis Business Mentors (MBMentors) can provide you the business plan help you need. 

What type of business plan do you need?

The “barrier” to writing a business plan is usually the time, expertise and detail required. Depending on the purpose of your plan there are alternative formats you could use. 

 

Shown below are five (5) business plan alternatives. Each one will help you understand your business better and to varying degrees, provide objective evidence to potential investors your business is worth investing in. 

 

Which plan is right for you?  The best alternative for you will depend on your type of business, your industry, the intended audience and the level of detail required. In general, if you are seeking investors the more detail you’ll need.

 

  1. Feasibility Business Plan - A good place to start when you have an idea and need to think through whether it can be a viable business.

  2. Lean Canvas Business Plan - a one-page document focusing on the problem, solution and the unique value proposition your product/service provides customers.

  3. Mini Business Plan - a short, summarized version of a full-fledged comprehensive business plan. 

  4. Comprehensive Business Plan - a fully detailed document (typically 20 pages+) of information about the business enterprise. 

  5. Pitch Deck - a visual representation of your business plan. Usually a slide-based presentation shown to potential investors.

A more detailed discussion of each plan follows. If you need templates for any of these plans - we have them available for free. Contact us

FEASIBILTY 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).    

1.   Business Description

2.   Product or Service Description

3.   Market Analysis Overview

4.   Marketing and Sales Strategy Overview

5.   Management Team

6.   Financials

7.   Risks to Consider

8.   Conclusion

LEAN CANVAS 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.

 

Be aware, if you are looking for financing, banks and investors will probably ask for more detailed information with this type of plan.

There are nine blocks or steps associated with a 1-page plan:

  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. A typical Mini Business Plan contains the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary

  2. Business Description

  3. Product or Service

  4. Marketing Strategy

  5. Competitors Analysis

  6. Operations Overview

  7. Management and Organization

  8. Startup Expenses and Capitalization

  9. 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 - 40 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 combinations of the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary

  2. Company Description

  3. Products or Services

  4. Marketing Plan

  5. Operational Plan

  6. Management and Organization

  7. Startup Expenses and Capitalization

  8. 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

Need Help? Contact us!

MBMentors can provide you with business plan help, advising you as to which business plan is right for your needs, and subsequently providing expert guidance in helping you complete the plan.  

 

Contact us today at info@mbmentors.org