Developing a full business plan can be a daunting task, especially at this phase. Focus on the essentials and develop a lean business plan. The lean business plan gets you started and can serve as an outline for a business plan in the future.
This can be 1-2 pages, mostly bullets, and in whatever format serves you best. For your first draft, don't overthink it. Get information out of your head and onto the paper (or screen).
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The final segments of the business plan are the financial projections and cashflow. While these usually land at the end of the document, they are among the first pages to be reviewed by a potential lender. Just like you, banks and investors want to know your project can ultimately make money.
SBA Loan Products and How to Access Them: MN Resource Guide (pdf)
Financials: Cash Flow Spreadsheet (xls)
Financials: Income Statement (xls)
Financials: Balance Sheet (xls)
Business plans help you run your business
A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through the key elements of your business.
Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to feel confident they’ll see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.
Pick a business plan format that works for you
There’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What’s important is that your plan meets your needs.
Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.
Traditional business plans are more common, use a standard structure, and encourage you to go into detail in each section. They tend to require more work upfront and can be dozens of pages long.
Lean startup business plans are less common but still use a standard structure. They focus on summarizing only the most important points of the key elements of your plan. They can take as little as one hour to make and are typically only one page.
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