Business plan

Having a great business idea and having the willingness and ability to jump into the entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial journey are the stepping stones to a successful journey. Next, you will develop expertise on how to write a business plan for a tech startup step by step.

You may like to start a business venture on your own or start a new business initiative within the firm that you work for. Whatever the case may be; you need to start your journey by writing a tech startup business plan proposal.

Like they say, a job well begun is half done. So, knowing how to write a well thought out business plan wins half the battle for you.

You also need to follow the “Keep it Simple, Silly” doctrine and come up with a simple business plan. Following a step-by-step business plan template, in this case, helps.

Sounds interesting? Let’s start the journey.

How do you begin a tech startup business plan?

To begin a tech startup business plan, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

“What to do?” “How to do it?” “When to do it?” and ” Who will do it?”

These questions will help in starting to plan how to take your business idea to executable action. Planning will help you bridge the gap between where you are right now and where you want to reach, concerning your business idea.

What is a startup business plan?

What are the 5 elements of a tech startup business plan?

There is no sacrosanct format of a good business plan or a business plan pdf, and also the ingredients of a business plan proposal would depend on your experience in business and knowledge in that particular field. 

However, a good startup business plan consists of the following:

1. Your background 

In case you have partners, their background too

2. Description of the business idea

It should consist of Utility of the Product / Service and the Unique Selling Proposition, i.e., USP 

3. Production plan 

In case of a product, how would you produce the product, in case of a service, how will you deliver the service

4. Operational plan

How would you smoothly coordinate the day to day work, how would you ensure the desired quality, where would you set up your factory/office, at what price will you sell

5. Organizational plan

This contains details of how many people you will employ to produce or deliver the service, what your marketing set up will be, who will manage your accounting and liaison with the various stakeholders and authorities

6. Financial plan

Now we come to an essential part of your business plan, where you need to spend considerable time and effort. It is the Financial Plan .

Your financial plan should spell out the investment required for the business. Where would the funds come from, and when are the funds needed? How much cash is needed to carry on day to day operations?

This section would also describe the economic feasibility of the business. This would include the revenue forecast for the next year, or three years or even further. 

How do you write a one-page business plan for a tech startup?

You need an elaborate plan to be successful in your business. However, at the same time, you also need to keep in mind that the business plan is needed for the potential investor to consider investing in your business. 

Given the lack of time the potential investor has, you need to make a one-page business plan which has a concise description of your plans but gives details on why she/he should invest in your business. It should motivate the potential investor to spend time and read a more elaborate business plan.

The one-page business plan is also your means of communication with the external stakeholders like the government, the public at large when you need to do any statutory filing of information of the company or present in various conferences. 

You may also like to term this one-page plan as a written “elevator pitch.”

  You may like to start a business venture on your own or start a new business initiative within the firm that you work for. Whatever the case may be; you need to start your journey by writing a tech startup business plan proposal.

  Like they say, a job well begun is half done. So, knowing how to write a well thought out business plan wins half the battle for you.

  You also need to follow the “Keep it Simple, Silly” doctrine and come up with a simple business plan. Following a step-by-step business plan template, in this case, helps.

What does a tech startup business plan consist of?

A startup business plan consists of an internal roadmap elaborating on the most important aspects of your business (i.e., the background, the production, operational, organizational, and financial aspects). 

At the same time, it consists of the purpose, and the financial returns your business will generate, which acts as a written marketing document for external stakeholders.  

However, given the uncertainties in modern times, business plans are increasingly focusing on the risks, and the fall back plans that would be in place if the original plan fails.  

A significant point that gives confidence to the investor about the long term viability of the business plan is the interest that the target market will show in the product or service. So, it is worthwhile to add as a Business plan annexure pdf, any primary research done by a reputed marketing agency of the market potential of the product or service.

When the business plan involves a new product or service, it is effortless to fall into the trap of looking at the product from your point of view and taking the market for granted. What is required at this stage is to focus exclusively on how you conceptualized the idea and how you are planning to bring the concept to execution.

Researchers from MIT suggested successful business plan examples where users were invited to pre-test the products or services. Their feedback is of interest to the investor and needs to be included in your startup business plan.

8 Steps to Create a Business Plan for Your Tech Startup

Step 1: executive summary.

The first step in writing a startup business plan for your new tech business is to create an executive summary.

The executive summary doesn’t need to be lengthy and tedious; around two to three pages should suffice.

Although a short document, the executive summary one of the most important elements of your business plan.

Your executive summary should be concise and clear as it should be successful in communicating everything about your business.

Some investors might  only  ask for your executive summary — so be sure to craft it well and pepper it with all the right bits of information. you’ll want to ensure it can stand on its own.

Stick to the following:

1. Mission Statement:  In one crisp paragraph, explain the mission of your business and what you want to accomplish.

2. General Company Information:  Next, include general information like when your business was formed, the name of the other founders, their roles, the number of employees, office locations, and so on.

3. Visual Highlights:  Include graphs and charts pertaining to any key milestones of the business or any growth you’ve seen since starting the business.

4. Products and Services:  Without getting overly passionate or verbose, briefly describe your product, the technology that powers it, and your target customer base.

5. Financial Information:  If you’re looking for  startup fundraising , include your funding goals. You can also include any information on previous loans or about banks or lenders you’ve worked with before.

6. Future plans:  Don’t forget to include where you plan on taking your business in the future.

Pro tip: Write your executive summary after you’ve completed creating your business plan.

This way you’ll have all your facts in place and all your information and details sorted so you will be better equipped to summarize them.

Step 2: Company Overview

Many entrepreneurs confuse the company overview with the executive summary. However, there is a stark difference between the two.

The company overview is a more detailed top-level view of the structure of your tech business and what you do.

Here’s how you can go about drafting your startup overview:

1. Begin your company overview section by describing what your business specializes in and the technology behind it. This part of the company overview is intended to give readers and investors a general idea of your business.

2. Next, proceed to explain the nature of the industry and marketplace.

3. Lay out the legal structure of your business and provide the ownership structure.

Step 3: Market Analysis

The next step along the process of creating your startup business plan is to perform in-depth research and analysis of your niche, target market, and primary competitors.

This is the first part of your startup business plan where you dive into the details.

Your market analysis will give readers and investors enough proof about the level of understanding you have about the dynamics of your industry.

Your market analysis should include the following sections:

1. Industry Description:  Start by including a detailed view of your industry. How big is it? How much has it grown in the past few years? What are its growth predictions from industry experts? Who are your competitors? How have they performed? And so on.

2. Target Market Details:  Dive into the details of your target market . And include your target market’s characteristics and target market size and growth.

3. Your Market Share Potential:  Chart out what your market share could look like along with how much market share you expect to gain.

4. Market Pricing:  Include an estimated cost of your products and how you will distribute them.

5. Challenges:  Don’t shy away from including any challenges that you may across. This could be legal issues to shifting technologies to capital issues to lack of talented or skilled human resources.

6. Competitor Research:  Study your competitors by analyzing their strengths, market share, weaknesses, challenges they pose to you, and so on.

Step 4: Business Organization

This next section of your startup business plan provides insights and information on your tech business’s management structure clearly defining and explaining what everyone does.

You will also have to go a step further to include everyone’s business background and past experiences.

Here’s what you need to break down:

1. Organizational Structure: Start this section by creating an organizational chart that depicts how your business is structured.

2. Ownership Structure:  Although you’ll repeat this information in your company overview, you have the liberty to go in-depth allowing you to talk about the ownership structure of your company, who owns how much, and so on.

3. Background of Owners:  Categorically explain the background of your team. This includes information on directors, senior management members, and managers.

4. Talent Requirement:  Clearly make a list of all hiring needs.

Step 5: Products and Services

This section of your startup business plan is all about laying out the details and plans for positioning your product, the utility it provides, the technology behind it, and so on.

For instance, if you are offering Internet of Things (IoT) based solutions or Artificial Intelligence-powered services, then give details about how these products work and how you wish to promote and sell it.

Here’s exactly what this section should include:

1. General Description:  Highlight the USP of your product or service and the value it provides to potential customers.

2. Status of products:  Paint an honest picture of the status of your product. Is your product in the idea stage? Is it already selling? Or is it ready to go to market?

3. Product goals:  If you are still in the ideation phase, map out a journey that talks about how you plan to launch the product and bring it to life. Include details on the research and development activities required. You can also include new versions or new products or any new features you wish to include in the future.

4. Intellectual property:  As a tech business, it is imperative to have proprietary intellectual property . Make mention of this and any other patent or trademark that you own or are in the process of owning.

5. Sourcing and fulfillment:  If you are dependent on third-party vendors to fulfill or your product or service creation, mention it here.

This section is crucial for your startup business plan as it defines everything about your products and services.

It will work as a bible for product managers and for you in the development stages and go to market phase.

Step 6: Marketing and Sales Plan

Once you’ve explained everything about your product, it’s time to delve into explaining how you are going to go about marketing and selling your product or service.

When it comes to marketing, this is what this section should look like:

1. Positioning:  This first part of your marketing plan should talk about how you’re positioning your business and products. What price bracket are you targeting? Are you offering any free service? What guarantees and warranties are you offering? Answering these questions and more will help you determine where you are positioning your products and services.

2. Promotion:  This part involves explaining marketing channels and plans you have for advertising your product, PR strategies, SEO plans, content marketing practices, social media marketing, etc.

Next, your sales plan:

1. Salesforce:  How do you plan to sell your product? Do you need a sales force? How big a team do you need? Who will train your sales team? These parameters need to be addressed in your sales plan.

2. Selling strategy:  Give an overview of how you will sell your product or service. Define the process you will follow as a technology business. Will you start with cold-calling potential customers? Or attending events? Or appointing channel partners? Clearly describe what your sales funnel should look like.

Step 7: Financial Plan and Projections

This is a supremely important section of your business plan.

Investors and VCs will want to look at your financial plans and projections before parting with their money.

Ideally, this section uses financial data from past performances or forecasts.

Include the following as part of your financial plan:

1. Income statements

2. Cash flow statements

3. Balance sheets

Additionally, if applicable, include the accounts of receivable statements, accounts of payable statements, and details or documents of debts.

Ideally, your financial projections should be supported either by past performances or future projections and estimations.

Include statements of projected income, cash flow forecasts, forecasted balance statements, capital expenditure budgets, and miscellaneous expenses.

Your startup business plan should include projections for the first year of business but should include a vision for the coming 3 to 5 years.

Step 8: Appendix

The appendix should be included towards the end of your business plan. This section includes all additional information that you didn’t include in the sections above of your business plan.

Any data, statistics, strategic points, charts, footnotes, or further explanations that you think are necessary to be included as part of your startup business plan but has been skipped should be included here.

As an entrepreneur or founder, you can also consider including your own resume and resumes of other founders or senior management team members.

Ideally, the appendix should begin with a table of contents that categorically breaks down your business plan into relevant, followed by the additional information that corresponds to each section.

199 Resources for Startup Business Plan Templates, Business Plan Examples, and Business Plan Samples

1 bussinessplanpro.com Business Plan Examples
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Final Thoughts

Although creating a startup business plan seems daunting and arduous, when you break it down into a step by step process, it gets easy to create one.

And with these 8 steps, you can create a killer tech business plan for your tech startup that will help you catapult to success and leave investors mesmerized.

Starting a tech business? Build it on a .tech domain! 

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Writing a Business Plan for a Technology Startup and the Benefits for Your Company

  • 13462 views
  • Jul 17, 2020

Kirill Z.

Business Analyst

Anastasiia S.

Anastasiia S.

  • Tech Navigator

building technology business plan

Have a business idea but don’t know where to start? Consider creating a business plan first! An extensive and informative business plan allows you to understand your goals, opportunities, and threats, assess the market situation, and get a lot of insights to successfully launch your startup. Moreover, it can help you interest your investors.

Read our article to find out what a business plan is, what its benefits are, and how to create one. Let’s start with a definition.

What’s a business plan?

A business plan presents a detailed vision of your business idea. This document usually consists of 30 to 35 pages and several sections that cover vital topics for your business development such as goals, management, marketing, and funding.

A business plan is usually created before setting up a new business. It projects up to five years into the future to ensure you know where you’re headed at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. It’s advisable to revise this plan every month or two to check whether you’re sticking to your goals.

Benefits of creating a business plan

Although creating a business plan requires a lot of time and research, it’s sensible to make one before launching your startup. A business plan helps you realistically assess your opportunities and provides more benefits that we’ll describe below.

Detect weaknesses in your startup idea

When preparing a business plan, you should carry out a SWOT analysis to understand your chances of success.

To perform a SWOT analysis, you need to determine your business’s s trengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threat s. Take into account that strengths and weaknesses are internal characteristics of your company that you can control, while opportunities and threats are external factors out of your control.

Once you’ve completed SWOT analysis, pay close attention to your weaknesses. By being aware of your soft spots, you can transform them into workable solutions to make your business successful.

  • Set goals and milestones

Setting goals is one of the core ideas behind creating a business plan, since by knowing your short- and long-term goals you can clearly understand where your business is heading.

Milestones allow you to track progress toward achieving your goals. Setting milestones is a strategic step that allows you to stick to your plan and not get distracted on your way.

Once you’ve listed your goals, you need to choose the path to achieve them. There are several options to choose from. For instance, you can map a long but predictable path with minimum risks and a short path full of challenges.

Let’s consider different options for launching your MVP as an example. You can choose a soft launch: a careful step-by-step presentation of your product to your target audience. When you use a soft launch approach, you reveal your product to a limited number of users, gather feedback from them, and fix bugs quickly. Thus, we can define a soft launch as a long yet predictable way to reach your goals.

A hard launch, on the other hand, is a short and risky path, since it means presenting a new product to a large number of people at once. It can bring you immediate revenue, but at the same time it can cause a lot of problems if your product isn’t perfect.

Once you’ve distinguished two different paths to reach your goals, which one to choose is up to you.

how to write a tech startup business plan

  • Make data-driven decisions

Preparing a business plan entails carrying out a lot of research. To make a realistic business plan, you should dive deep into marketing, finance, and management. You should also perform a comprehensive analysis of your direct and indirect competitors to get a full picture of the market situation.

By gathering information about other market players, you can learn about their strengths and weaknesses along with your own. This gives you a chance to better determine your company’s unique value proposition (UVP) and stand out from the competition.

With this information, your business plan is not merely a suggestion but a realistic view of your startup, the challenges you might face, and the ways you can overcome them.

  • Obtain an effective management tool

With a business plan in hand, it’s easier to manage your progress. Since a business plan includes a map with milestones, you can use it to keep track of how well you stick to and achieve your goals.

A business plan also helps you check whether you’re keeping within your budget and how profitable your business is. Plus, it allows you to monitor other financial aspects such as your employees’ incomes, pay raises, and your bonus system.

  • Get more information than with a Lean Canvas

Creating a Lean Canvas is a fast way to assess business opportunities. A Lean Canvas is a one-page document with 10 to 12 fields that gives a general overview of the current state of your business, your opportunities, and your goals. Although it’s a nice option for a quick assessment, a Lean Canvas is not very informative.

Here’s an example of how a Lean Canvas looks and what information it can present:

RubyGarage Lean Canvas

A business plan, in turn, is an extensive document that covers a long period of time (usually up to five years). Consequently, it requires a more comprehensive approach to business analysis than a Lean Canvas does and includes more detailed information about your business idea.

Use your plan as a pitch deck

Once you create your business plan, you can use it as the basis for your pitch deck. Just select the most important information and you’ll have a ready presentation for your investors, business partners, or whoever you want to interest in your business idea.

An informative pitch deck based on your business plan can lead investors to consider your business worth supporting.

How to create a technology startup business plan

Once you understand the benefits a business plan can give you, it’s time to move to developing one. Here are the must-have sections for your business plan.

#1 Executive summary

An executive summary presents your overall business plan. Its aim is to capture your readers’ attention and make them interested in reading through all the details.

This summary should be written in clear language and be understandable even for people who don’t have specific knowledge of your business area.

Do your best to outline the maximum relevant information within a five- to ten-minute read.

executive summary questions for technology startup

To make your executive summary informative and captivating, it’s best to write this section after you’ve finished all the other sections. Also, you should answer all these questions briefly in the summary since you’ll cover them in detail in the following sections.

#2 Business idea

This section is a detailed presentation of your product or service. You should include the following information:

  • Product/service description. Cover all the characteristics of your product, its uniqueness in the market, patent issues and compliance requirements (e.g. PCI DSS for payment systems, HIPAA for healthcare, or GDPR compliance), and a description of the development process.
  • Benefits for customers. Explain why your product is outstanding, how it reflects the needs of your target audience, and how it will solve your customers’ problems.
  • Pricing. Calculate how much it will cost to create your product and decide what monetization approach to choose (for instance, a subscription-based model or one-time payments). Make sure your revenue will cover your expenses.

business idea questions for tech startup

#3 Business sector and market analyses

In this section, you’ll present the results of your research that show how successfully you can penetrate the desired market.

First of all, analyze your preferred business sector. Pay attention to the current situation in the sector, predicted trends, sources of profit, and entry barriers.

Then, carry out market analysis including geographical, socio-demographic, socio-economic, and behavior-oriented segmentation of your potential customers. These criteria will help you better understand your target audience and attract more customers in the short term.

Finally, perform competition and location analyses. Competition analysis will help you determine your and your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses while location analysis will help you decide on the location for your company.

sector and market questions for tech startup

#4 Marketing strategy

This section demonstrates how you will build your marketing campaign. You already know your target audience, your competitors’ weaknesses, and the strengths of your product, so it’s time to sell it. At this stage, it’s important to decide if your marketing campaign will be extensive or targeted, what steps it will include, how many customers you need to attract to make your campaign successful, etc.

marketing strategy questions for tech startup

#5 Management 

In this section, you should provide information about the key roles inside your company and your legal situation.

When introducing your team, it’s important to mention roles and responsibilities and the qualities that make each person a valuable team member.

By legal situation, we mean the legal structure of your company and the legal framework that determines how your startup operates. You should state whether your business is a one-person startup or a partnership, for instance.

management section questions for tech startup business plan

#6 Opportunities and threats

This section describes external opportunities and challenges you can face when starting and expanding your business. To present this information as accurately as possible, you should create both positive and negative forecasts based on detailed research concerning your business sector, the current market situation, upcoming trends, your competitors, etc. Use the results of your SWOT analysis to provide information in this section.

opportunities and threats questions for tech startup

#7 Financial plan

You should prepare a financial plan for the first five years of your business activity. It should include:

  • Staff costs. This is the money you’ll spend on human resources at the beginning of your business and as it grows.
  • Investment and depreciation information. In this section of the financial plan, you should enumerate any kinds of material investments you plan to make (vehicles, furniture, PCs, etc.) and their predicted service life.
  • A profitability plan that includes your revenue and expenses. Make sure that planned revenue exceeds your expenses. There’s no point in starting a business that isn’t profitable.

financial plan questions for tech startup

#8 Funding opportunities

This section should list sources of investment and include the amount of money you need to start your business. You should also list investment options that you’re going to use. You can choose among local banks, venture capitalists, public funding schemes, business angels, and other options.

Once you decide how you’ll fund your business ‒ take out a loan or find investors ‒ include a repayment plan or mention the conditions of cooperation with your financiers.

funding questions in tech startup business plan

#9 Map for the future with milestones

In this section, you should describe the step-by-step implementation of your plan. It’s important to set priorities, divide the whole plan into small scopes of tasks, and set realistic deadlines. By doing this, you’ll get milestones that lead to your business success.

It can be a sensible idea to present milestones graphically so it’s easier for your readers to perceive the information and track your progress. 

map for the future questions

Final thoughts

With an elaborate business plan, you’ll have a clear understanding of your business opportunities and a chance to get into the desired market. Once you’ve created a comprehensive business plan, it’s time to create an MVP to attract your first customers.

What benefits does a business plan provide?

Writing a business plan is an important step before launching a startup. With a detailed business plan, you can:

  • Detect weaknesses in your startup
  • Have a starting point for creating a pitch deck

What sections should I include in a business plan?

There are nine main sections you should include in a business plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Business idea
  • Business sector and market analyses
  • Marketing strategy
  • Opportunities and threats
  • Financial plan
  • Funding opportunities
  • Map for the future with milestones

Is it necessary to create a business plan for my technology startup?

Writing a business plan isn’t obligatory, but you might want to do it since having a plan gives a lot of benefits. A business plan can help you understand your opportunities and threats, analyze the current market situation, learn more about your competitors, attract investors, and more. 

If you already have a business plan and need help creating your MVP, contact us for professional assistance .

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7 steps to create a technology startup business plan.

  • Published on: April 26, 2022
  • Author: masschallenge

7-step-startup-business-plan

Many entrepreneurs still overlook the importance of a technology startup business plan. In a space as competitive as the tech industry, a lack of preparation will surely pave the way to disappointment.

Instead of diving in without any concrete strategy, a plan provides a foundation for sustainable business growth.

In this article, we’ll explore the essential elements of a tech startup business plan, and provide the insights you need to create a plan for success.

What Is A Business Plan?

A tech startup business plan is a document that details the premise of your technology business, summarizing vital financial objectives and operational goals, as well as details on how you will accomplish these goals.

Put simply:

It’s a road map that describes what you intend to do, and how you intend to do it.

A typical business plan will comprise the following seven elements:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description

Market Research

  • Description of Products and/or Services
  • Management & Operational Structure
  • Marketing Plan
  • Financial Plan

3 Reasons You Need a Business Plan

Before we dive into the individual aspects of a startup business plan, let’s first consider why you need one.

Just what are the benefits of a business plan?

1. It Offers Greater Clarity

Having a business plan will give you a much better understanding of your business and the objectives you are trying to achieve. Even the most basic technology startup business plan example will seek to define your goals in more objective terms.

For example, you can set specific targets for website traffic, sales volumes, or profit margins. This makes it easier to track and measure success and aligns your decision-making with sales and marketing initiatives.

2. It Increases the Chances of Success

A report from the Harvard Business Review found that companies with a business plan are 16% more likely to succeed.

Furthermore, companies that have a business plan also enjoy higher growth rates than companies without a plan.

3. You Are More Likely to Get Investment

Angel investors and venture capitalists aren’t in the habit of making bad bets. When they part with large sums of money, it’s a carefully considered decision they base on the likelihood of earning a positive return on investment (ROI). When you have a business plan, you give your startup strategic focus, which helps you create an identity that is built to succeed. This makes for a more attractive prospect in the eyes of investors, so it’s easier to raise capital for your startup when you have a plan.

How to Write a Business Plan for Your Tech Startup (7-Steps)

So, now that you understand the motivation behind creating a tech startup business plan, it’s time to see how it’s done. By including the seven elements below, you’ll have a plan that gives your company a much stronger footing.

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is, without a doubt, the most critical element of your tech startup business plan. Despite this, a lot of plans fail here because the summary doesn’t captivate readers. If you can’t hook prospective investors, partners, or employees with your executive summary, they may never read the rest of your business plan.

1-businessplan

Source: The Balance

This section should be compelling yet concise, giving people enough to understand what makes your startup unique, and how it will be able to offer solutions in an existing, competitive market.

While you want to keep it brief, there is a lot to pack into this opening section of your business plan. Here are the crucial components of an executive summary:

  • Business Model – What is your product or service? How will you make money?
  • Target Market – Who will benefit from this product or service?
  • Business Opportunity – Why do consumers need your product or service?
  • Marketing Strategy – How will these consumers learn more about your product or service?
  • Competition – What other companies are competing for market share?
  • Goals – How will your startup transform the marketplace with this product or service?

As the executive summary is such a vital aspect, it’s a smart move to write it last. By waiting until you have finished the rest of the business plan, you can draw from the other sections to craft an excellent executive summary.

2. Company Summary

The company summary essentially boils down to a single sentence, otherwise known as a headline statement.  When it’s done right, this summary can be the perfect elevator pitch to capture the imagination of would-be financial backers or partners, and it will serve as a natural lead-in to your more detailed business plan.

2-fill-blanks

Source: Gusto (credit: LivePlan)

The company summary or headline statement should do the following:

  • Give people a brief overview of what your company does.
  • Communicate the value you offer.
  • Highlight the opportunity in the market.

Here is a good template to create your company summary:

<Your company> is a <type of business> who sells <product or service> to <target customer> , who needs <solution> , but doesn’t get it from <competition> .

Don’t worry if you can’t create the perfect summary now. When you develop your business plan, you will get a better understanding of what this headline statement should be, and then you can refine it to reflect your vision and value proposition.

We’re sure you have a great idea, but that’s no guarantee that everyone is going to love it as much as you do. No matter how good you think your startup may be, you still need to conduct proper market research to learn more about your ideal customers and competitors.

Identify your Target Market

Without a viable market for your product or service, your business is doomed.

Many startups have failed quickly because the owners were so obsessed with their own product that they were effectively blind to the fact that nobody else cared about it.

3-top-reasons

Source: CB Insights Image: Cleveroad

Initially, you can adopt a broad scope to get a sense of your total addressable market (TAM), which is the potential revenue opportunity your new product or service could generate. Of course, with the competition, and changing consumer interests, it’s unlikely you will dominate the entire TAM.

Once you have this broad idea, you can hone your sights to go more niche. While this presents a smaller audience, it is more effective. By narrowing your targeting, you can market to a more engaged audience that will be more receptive and likely to purchase your product or service.

Consider the following factors when segmenting your audience:

  • Demographic – What age group? What gender?
  • Geographic – In what country or city do your prospects live?
  • Behavior – What websites/blogs/news sources do they use? What are their purchasing habits? What retail sites or brands do they buy from?

With in-depth data analysis and evaluation of your prospective customers, you can create detailed buyer personas that help you refine your marketing strategies.

Perform Competitor Analysis

During the market research stage of your tech startup business plan, you should also carry out a thorough competitor analysis.

This will help you determine the key differentiators between your company and the competition.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why should people choose my product or service?
  • How can I improve on the existing solutions in the market?
  • Why do people not already buy the products in the market?

By thinking about current trends or flaws in existing products, you can identify opportunities for innovation so that your business can connect with customers on a deeper level.

Knowing your audience is crucial, and therefore, your business plan must demonstrate a deep understanding of your target market, and your competitors.

3. Description of Products and/or Services

Here, you must highlight the link between what you are offering, and what people need, so you can prove that people are ready and willing to pay for your product or service.

Research Problems in Market

It helps to conduct some face-to-face research, asking potential customers about the problems they have. Don’t try to usher the conversation in any direction or shoehorn their answers to fit your product – instead, look to learn from their honest responses about the solutions they need.

You should do this research before creating the product. After all, it makes more sense to create a product for an existing problem, instead of trying to find a problem for your product.

4-market-research

Source: ProductTribe

Tailor Product to Problems

After doing your research on the existing problems in the market, trim your list to focus on a few of the most important issues. Describe how your product or service will be the ultimate solution to these problems.

For instance, if people believe the existing solutions are too expensive, you can offer a product with a more attractive price point.

By matching up consumer problems with specific solutions, you can develop a product or service that has a more significant value proposition.

4. Management & Operational Structure

The next stage of the traditional technology startup business plan template delves into the people that make up your company. You must highlight the strengths and experience of your existing team, as new partners effectively invest their money in the team as much as the business idea.

Ideally, your team will consist of several experts whose respective skill-sets complement one another. For example, your tech startup may have a coder, a graphic designer, an inbound marketing expert, and a sales professional. Discuss the merits of each team member to convey the value they add to the business.

You can also speculate about prospective new hires and the key attributes you will seek in future team members. If you haven’t already got a chief financial officer (CFO), it’s a smart move to mention adding one soon. This will add backbone to your business plan by reassuring people that you have good financial sense.

Organizational Chart

Here, your plan should clearly define the organizational structure of your startup. For now, it may just be you and a couple of business partners.

However, by including a graphic that visualizes the structure you intend to build, people will get a clear understanding of the distribution of power and chain of command.

For example, it may look something like this:

5-team-map

Having a hierarchy prepared before starting helps prevent any debates about who is in charge of each department, and makes it easier to understand who reports to who.

5. Marketing and Sales plan

No tech startup business plan would be complete without mentioning the marketing and sales strategies you intend to use.

Sales channels

To clarify the difference, marketing channels are used to promote your business, and its products or services, whereas sales channels are the mediums that enable people to purchase those products or services.

You may only have one direct sales channel to begin with, such as an online e-commerce store. Make sure you explain it in your business plan.

Marketing activities

In this section, you must detail how you will acquire leads and customers.

At the base level, you should do the following:

  • Launch a company website
  • Develop strategy to get organic traffic (i.e. visitors from search engines like Google)
  • Develop a PPC strategy to get immediate online exposure for your most important product/service keywords
  • Develop channel partnerships
  • Build an email subscriber list

6-market-activities

Over time, you can use marketing to nurture stronger customer relationships, which in turn, help you build an audience of loyal followers that will, hopefully, become customers.

The marketing section of your business plan will need to account for several factors, including your goals, risks in the market, and your budget. Which brings us to the final aspect of your tech startup business plan.

6. Financial Plan

Lastly, any good business plan must include pertinent details about your company budget and sales goals.

This can be daunting for many new entrepreneurs and is all the more challenging when you have no balance sheets, cash flow reports, or even any stable income on which to base your projections.

That being said, it’s still possible to make educated projections – so long as you have done solid market research.

When it comes to financial matters, your business plan should include details about:

  • Revenue streams – how will the company generate income?
  • Major expenses – What high costs do you anticipate in the year ahead?
  • Salary demands – Are you still bootstrapping or are you and the partners taking a salary? If so, how much?
  • Financial milestones – Detail your expansion strategy by considering future hires or store openings that will impact the books.

Many startups aren’t profitable in the first year. Your financial projections should maintain a long-term view for success, keeping ambitions realistic and honest. That way, you’ll be able to produce a more accurate break-even analysis .

7-break-even

With these long-term projections, you must consider the financial impact of expanding. You may be making more money in Year 3, but opening a new store will set you back.

Keep everything in perspective and make sure you don’t set yourself or your investors up for any nasty shocks down the road.

5 Tech Startup Business Plan Templates

When you have all the elements above in place, your business plan will be in good shape. However, presentation matters. If you want to make the best first impression, getting creative with your technology startup business plan template can make a big difference.

Not only will your research and expertise shine through, but you will have a visually stunning presentation that catches the eye of investors.

Here are five tech business plan examples to inspire you.

Business Plan Infographic PowerPoint

This plan allows you to present in-depth market analysis, statistics, and projections in a professional visual infographic. With several hundred editable slide options, it’s well worth the $16 fee for the license.

8-bp-infographic

Source: Medium

Emaze Business Planning With Analytics

This is more than the average technology startup business plan template. Emaze has a diverse array of creative collaboration tools, making it easy and enjoyable for teams to create unique plans together from any of the built-in templates. Furthermore, you can incorporate analytics, which is perfect for impressing investors. That said, $19 per month for the premium version may seem a little steep for some small businesses.

9-emaze-bp-crop

Source: Emaze

Lean Canvas 1-Page Business Plan

A tech startup business plan doesn’t need to take weeks to create. In fact, with this template, you can have a basic – yet brilliant – business plan all together on a single page in just 20 minutes.

10-lean-stack-crop

Source: Lean Stack

StartUp Pitch

For $15, you can access the full array of colorful slides in this presentation, which are all customizable to your needs. This template includes many ready-made aspects of the typical business plan, such as SWOT analysis, competitor analysis, and project timelines.

11-envato-crop

Source: Envato

This is another user-friendly tool for creating short business plans. You enter the information, and then LivePlan will generate a one-page plan in an infographic style.

12-liveplan-crop

Source: LivePlan

Make Your Tech Startup Business Plan a Priority

It’s not enough to have a great startup idea.

If you want to stand out from the pack, secure investment, and build a successful company that can earn real profits, growth, and customer loyalty, then you absolutely must have a solid tech startup business plan.

It’s time to create yours.

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7 Elements to Successfully Write a Tech Startup Business Plan

Vy Le

Vy Le | 18/05/2023

7 Elements to Successfully Write a Tech Startup Business Plan

When it comes to starting a tech business, having a well-crafted tech business plan is crucial to attract investors and succeed in the competitive market landscape. A business plan outlines your company’s vision, strategy, and financial plan over time, giving potential investors insight into your business model and growth potential.

However, writing a tech startup business plan can be a daunting task, especially for new entrepreneurs that lack experience in the tech industry. In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on writing a tech startup business plan that will impress investors and help you succeed in the fast-paced tech startup world.

What is a Tech Startup Business Plan?

What is a Tech Startup Business Plan?

A tech startup business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the goals, objectives, and strategies of a technology-based startup company. It is a crucial tool that helps entrepreneurs in the tech industry to define and organize their ideas, demonstrate the feasibility of their business concept, and present a clear plan for how they intend to build and grow their company.

Generally, most business plans typically include a summary of the company history, the problem it is solving, the target audience, competitive analysis, the marketing and sales strategy, the development strategy, and the financial plan. Also, such a document may include details about the management team, operations, and product development roadmap.

Particularly for the technology sector, the tech startup business plan also includes more specialized elements. Specifically, it is important to focus on the e-commerce technology trends being developed and how it addresses a gap or problem in the market while building such a document. This includes details such as the software or hardware being constructed, the technology stack being used, its technical architecture, and how it will improve or disrupt existing technology solutions.

Overall, a well-crafted business plan can help secure funding from potential investors or lenders, attract top talent, and ultimately guide the company toward success.

10 Core Questions to Answer When Conducting a Tech Startup Business Plan

For a tech startup business to build a good business plan, keep in your mind these questions and find the answers for yourself along the way. Answering these questions will help your startup team formulate a clear and compelling business plan/business idea, which can be used to guide the tech startup founder toward success.

1. Which product or service does your tech startup offer?

2. What is the team structure, and who are the key members?

3. Who is your target audience for the product or service?

4. Who are the competitors?

5. What are your competitive advantages?

6. What is your marketing strategy, and how do you leverage marketing channels?

7. What is your sales plan, and how do you leverage sales channels?

8. What is your financial plan, including projections for revenue, expenses, and funding needed?

9. What are the risks and challenges the business may face?

10. What is your timeline for product development, launch, and growth?

3 Reasons Why You Need a Technology Startup Business Plan

But why do businesses compose a tech startup business plan at the beginning of the software development process? There must be reasons. Check them out now!

3 Reasons Why You Need a Technology Startup Business Plan

Providing a Blueprint for Success

According to a Harvard Business Review study , startups that write a detailed business plan have a 16% chance to achieve viability than businesses that don’t. This metric proves the usefulness of this action.

By systematizing the business idea into a complete tech startup business plan, you give the business itself and each team member a clear picture of the company’s goals, vision, and strategies. While people are a prerequisite for an organization’s success, understanding the product’s direction will help each individual in the development team structure closely link together throughout the software development process and shorten product completion time.

Raising Capital from Investors

In the tech industry, startups often require significant amounts of capital to fund product development, hire staff, and invest in marketing and sales efforts. Raising such funds from investors is often necessary for startups’ future growth and success.

However, among the hundreds of thousands of startups out there, what sets your business apart from all of them? It is a specific technology startup business plan that is well-written to demonstrate.

Prospective investors and venture capitalists do not spend their money arbitrarily on poorly invested projects because, ultimately, they care about the return on investment (ROI). Investors are usually drawn to companies that understand their market and have a plan to tackle the market gap, and a well-curated business plan can make a tech startup stand out from the crowd.

Attract Top Talent

Suppose you don’t intend to use outsourced software development services to quickly build a development team of professionals and want to recruit developers for your startup yourself . A tech startup business plan can help in this situation.

A technology startup business plan can showcase the unique features of the business and its competitive advantage in a crowded market. Therefore, it can become a valuable tool for convincing top talent to join the team, especially if the company’s plans align with professionals’ aspirations and career goals.

7 Essential Elements to Write a Business Plan for Your Tech Startup

Your business idea can be good. But to easily realize it and stick to the outlined roadmap, you must present them in a systematic document. To do this, don’t skip the seven key elements to conduct a tech startup business plan below.

7 Essential Elements to Write a Business Plan for Your Tech Startup

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the most critical component of a tech startup business plan as it gives the reader a first-hand look at your product/service. An executive summary is a brief overview of your entire tech startup business plan, providing context for the reader and summarizing all the key points. It is usually the first section of the business plan and is customized to reflect the company’s goals, values, and unique selling points in a way that inspires the reader’s confidence in the startup.

An excellent executive summary in a software startup business plan typically includes the general situation of the target market or related industry based on conducted market research and an overview of the software solution you offer. Other information, such as unique value proposition (UVP), competitors in the same segment, and the company’s goal, can also be included in the executive summary as an optional option.

The advice is not to write the executive summary too long and vague, lacking focus on the main ideas. It is recommended to keep it within two pages to optimize visual efficiency and avoid boring the reader. Use the executive summary as an opportunity to showcase your tech startup’s strengths before diving into the details later on.

Company Description

If the executive summary is the section that presents all the overview data about your product or service, the company description in a technology startup business plan is the part that gives the reader a clearer view of your entire tech startup, or what we call a company overview.

This section should provide a clear understanding of the business to potential partners or customers and inspire confidence in the startup . There are many primary elements that make up a complete company description. So, it will be hard if tech startup founders don’t start small. Draft fundamental ideas and gradually develop them into complete content until they meet all the needs of a business plan.

Here are some main elements to consider when writing a company description: tech company’s name, company history, business model, vision, mission, legal structure (whether it is a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.), management team structure (each role and responsibilities) and competitive advantage.

Target Market Research

By doing target market research, a tech startup is able to figure out three key elements for a tech startup’s business plan. These are the total addressable market (TAM), technology market trends, target customer groups, and competitor analysis.

  • The total addressable market (TAM) is the target market’s total size that helps assess potential future revenue streams and justify the business case.
  • Market trends help tech startups stay up to date with market demand, ever-changing information technology, and changes in perspective customers’ behavior.
  • Target audience gives tech startups a better understanding of their potential customers by gathering demographic, geographic, and behavior factors.
  • The competitor analysis section of your business plan helps tech company in identifying their direct competitors and understand their own strengths and weaknesses to promote competitive advantage better.

Target market research not only benefits the startup company but also shows your investment and determination in the product or service.

Product/Service Line

It’s time to be more descriptive of the product or service your company offers rather than just general, like in the executive summary. Because the purpose of a startup business plan is generally still to introduce products to potential customers, this section should be written carefully and go into detail to demonstrate the product’s uniqueness and promising growth potentials.

Some elements to consider when writing a business plan include:

  • Product or service explanation: This includes key features and benefits, how it works, and how it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • Value proposition: Clearly stating how your product fulfills a customer need and backing it up with evidence.
  • Product development: Providing a product development roadmap by outlining your timeline and steps to achieve further development goals.

Team Structure

The team structure is an essential part of a tech startup business plan. It gives investors and stakeholders insight into the management team’s ability to execute the business plan and the team’s capacity to bring the idea to fruition.

In this part of the business plan, it is vital to highlight the leadership team and their roles. Start by introducing your founders and executive team and describe their previous experience and expertise with a proven track record that makes them qualified to lead the company. For investors to easily visualize the development team of your startup business, using a graphic, such as an organizational chart, can help.

Next, outline the roles and responsibilities of each member of your team , including any advisors or board members. Remember to describe carefully how each team member will contribute and cooperate to the successful company and how their respective skill sets complement, and experience are relevant to the tech industry.

Goals and plans for the future of the leadership team and development team members can also be written in the business plan as a supplement. For example, you expect to expand your team within one year by hiring additional staff or bringing on new partners or investors. All must be written in a clear, concise, and focused manner.

Marketing and Sales Plan

A product or service with good quality is only part of it when marketing and sales plans are exactly the activities that bring users and profits to the company. The marketing and sales plan section of a tech startup business plan will serve as a critical component that outlines how your company plans to acquire and retain customers, generate revenue, and achieve sustainable growth.

Regarding the marketing strategy, since you have already defined the target audience in the target market research section of the business plan, you only need to briefly repeat this section to once again help investors develop a comprehensive understanding of your ideal customer and their buying behavior. Next, don’t forget to differentiate your product or service from competitors and effectively manage your marketing plan by describing your unique value proposition. Consider using social media advertising, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and public relations as tactics to reach your audience and successfully execute a marketing plan.

After your marketing efforts, it’s time to build your business plan and a suitable sales strategy. The basic elements of sales strategies adopted by many startups include sales approach, pricing strategy, sales channels, and sales team structure, which provides a clear path for converting leads into paying customers.

To measure the success of your marketing and sales efforts, track progress, and make data-driven decisions, you should identify key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, conversion rates, customer acquisition cost, and revenue generated.

Financial Projections

Running out of cash is one of the primary reasons why many businesses fail. Building a financial plan right from the start will make it easier to manage expenses and manage risks for your software solution. There is no fixed financial plan of the business plan as each startup has different business orientations and goals.

However, one of the most vital aspects of this section is the sales forecast, which details how your company plans to generate revenue, including the sales channels you will use, your pricing strategy, and your projected customer acquisition rate.

The cash flow statement and the balance sheet are also important elements in a basic financial plan. The balance sheet provides a snapshot of the company’s financial health and helps you make informed decisions about your operations and growth strategies. The cash flow statement identifies how much money you expect to have on hand each month, taking into account both revenue and expense forecasts.

Final Thought

Tech Startup Business Plan

As for business plans, there is no single startup business plan template that is a perfect fit for your project since there is no startup like any other in the technology market. Each startup has different characteristics and different product businesses. Some companies set up a business plan to raise capital for a banking product . Meanwhile, there are companies that are working on human resources software.

So, start a business plan from small things. Take note of all your ideas on paper and discuss them in turn with the development team is Orient Software ’s advice.

With years of experience in the field of information technology, Orient is confident of having the ability to advise you on all problematic aspects of the industry. Contact us for more details !

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IT Services Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

information technology business plan

IT Services Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their IT companies.

If you’re unfamiliar with creating an IT business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For most entrepreneurs it is, but for you, it won’t be since we’re here to help. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.

In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write an IT business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What is an IT Services Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your IT business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan for IT Company

If you’re looking to start an IT business or grow your existing IT company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your IT business to improve your chances of success. Your IT business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for IT Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for an IT business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for IT companies.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for an it services business.

If you want to start an IT business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The guide below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your IT business plan.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of IT business you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have an IT business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of IT businesses?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.

  • Give a brief overview of the IT industry.
  • Discuss the type of IT business you are operating.
  • Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers.
  • Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team.
  • Offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Overview

In your company overview, you will detail the type of IT business you are operating.

For example, you might specialize in one of the following types of IT businesses:

  • Computer repair: This type of IT business provides computer maintenance and repair services.
  • Computer training: This type of IT professional specializes in teaching others how to use computers as well as various software and computer programs.
  • IT support: This type of IT professional provides services for businesses such as setting up a network, backing up data, and systems management.
  • Cloud computing: This type of IT specialist helps individuals and businesses establish cloud platforms and tools, or may help to migrate their information to the cloud.

In addition to explaining the type of IT business you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of new clients served, the number of repeat clients, reaching $X amount in revenue, etc.
  • Your legal business Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the IT industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the IT industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.

The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your IT business plan:

  • How big is the IT industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential target market for your IT business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your IT business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: individuals, schools, families, and corporations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of IT business you operate. Clearly, individuals would respond to different marketing promotions than corporations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other IT businesses.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. This includes other types of IT consultants, in-house IT support, or do-it-yourself IT tutorials. You need to mention such competition as well.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What type of IT business are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you make it easier for clients to acquire your product or service?
  • Will you offer products or services that your competition doesn’t?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For an IT business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of IT company that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide cloud computing, data center management, or network setup services?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your plan, you are presenting the products and/or services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the site of your IT company. Document where your company is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your IT business located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone office, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your IT marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertise in local papers, radio stations and/or magazines
  • Reach out to websites
  • Distribute flyers
  • Engage in email marketing
  • Advertise on social media platforms
  • Improve the SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for targeted keywords

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your IT business, including answering calls, meeting with new clients, billing and collecting payments from clients, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to acquire your Xth client, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your IT business to a new city.

Management Team

To demonstrate your IT business’ potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing IT businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing an IT business or successfully running a small IT consulting service.

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you charge your clients an hourly rate of $250 per hour, and will you work 5 hours per day? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your IT business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing an IT business:

  • Cost of equipment and office supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Other start-up expenses (if you’re a new business) like legal expenses, permits, computer software, and equipment

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or a list of your IT credentials.

Writing a business plan for your IT business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert on IT business planning. You will understand the IT industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful IT business.

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your IT business plan?

OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.   Click here to see how Growthink’s business plan services can give you a winning business plan.  

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Technology Business Plans

Written by Dave Lavinsky

technology industry

Position your technology venture at the forefront of innovation with our comprehensive selection of technology industry business plan examples. This invaluable resource is engineered for entrepreneurs, startup founders, and IT leaders seeking to navigate business planning in the fast-paced tech landscape. The plans presented provide a professional framework for addressing key components such as product development, market penetration, intellectual property strategy, funding mechanisms, and scaling operations. 

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Technology Business Plan Templates

Technology Business Plan Templates

But to achieve success in the technology industry, you need a business plan.

Each technology business plan template below is crafted to guide you through every essential section of your business plan: the Executive Summary, Company Overview, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, and Financial Plan. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities in the technology industry, and our templates are tailored to help you navigate these with ease, ensuring a comprehensive and professional approach to launching and growing your business in this exciting sector.  

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BusinessPlanTemplate.com - The World's Leading Business Plan Template Directory

Technology Business Plan Template [Updated 2024]

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Technology Business Plan Template

If you want to start a technology business or expand your current technology business, you need a business plan.

The following Technology business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Technology business plan.

You can download our Business Plan Template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

Technology Business Plan Sample

I. executive summary, business overview.

[Company Name], located in [Location] is a new technology company that focuses on developing and commercializing new artificial intelligence (AI) technology applications designed for small-to-medium sized businesses. The company has created proprietary technology that helps businesses improve their profitability by using AI to increase customer engagement. [Company Name] aims to be the next big technology company in the AI space.

Products Served

[Company Name] will showcase a variety of different applications for its AI technology that companies can start using to see an increase in customer engagement from day one. Businesses will be able to choose the platform package that works for them, based on a freemium subscription pricing structure.

Customer Focus

[Company Name] will initially serve businesses within a 30-mile radius of [Location]. The demographics of these customers are as follows:

  • 1,500 businesses
  • Under 100 employees (average is 42)
  • Privately held companies
  • Top represented sector: retail stores
  • Average annual payroll for firms with 20-99 employees of $1.3M

Of the above mentioned businesses, many are startups or looking to expand their reach, thus would benefit from technology that can increase their customer base. [Founder Name] has a bachelor’s degree in technology. She is certified in artificial intelligence and machine learning. [Founder] has over [x] years of experience working as a senior software engineer prior to starting [Company Name].

[Company Name] will also employ an experienced assistant to work as a business analyst and help with various administrative duties around the office.

Management Team

[Founder Name] has a bachelor’s degree in technology. She is certified in artificial intelligence and machine learning. [Founder] has over [x] years of experience working as a senior software engineer prior to starting [Company Name].

Success Factors

[Company Name] is uniquely qualified to succeed due to the following reasons:

  • The company will be providing a valuable solution to businesses seeking a way to increase their customer engagement through innovative AI technology.
  • [Company Name] will fill a specific market niche in the growing community of [Location]. In addition, [Founder] has surveyed local businesses and received extremely positive feedback saying that they explicitly want to make use of [Company Name]’s AI solution when launched.
  • The location is in an economically vibrant area where new businesses are starting at a fast rate.
  • The local area is currently underserved and has few technology companies offering specific solutions to increase customer engagement.

Financial Highlights

[Company Name] is seeking a total funding of $200,000 of debt capital to open its office. Specifically, these funds will be used as follows:

  • Office design/build: $40,000
  • Software development: $90,000
  • Working capital: $70,000 to pay for marketing, salaries, equipment and lease costs until [Company Name] reaches break-even

Top line projections over the next five years are as follows:

Financial SummaryFY 1FY 2FY 3FY 4FY 5
Revenue$560,401 $782,152 $1,069,331 $1,379,434 $1,699,644
Total Expenses$328,233 $391,429 $552,149 $696,577 $776,687
EBITDA$232,168 $390,722 $517,182 $682,858 $922,956
Depreciation$7,000 $7,000 $7,000 $7,000 $7,000
EBIT$225,168 $383,722 $510,182 $675,858 $915,956
Interest$6,016 $5,264 $4,512 $3,760 $3,008
Pre Tax Income$219,152 $378,458 $505,670 $672,098 $912,948
Income Tax Expense$76,703 $132,460 $176,985 $235,234 $319,532
Net Income$142,449 $245,998 $328,686 $436,864 $593,416
Net Profit Margin25%31%31%32%35%

II. Company Overview

Who is [company name].

[Company Name], located in [Location], is a newly established technology company that focuses on developing and commercializing new artificial intelligence (AI) technology applications designed for small-to-medium sized businesses. The company has created proprietary technology that helps businesses improve their profitability by using AI to increase customer engagement. [Company Name] aims to be the next big technology company in the AI space for business use.

[Company Name] was founded by [Founder’s Name], a seasoned software engineer with a bachelor’s degree in technology. She is certified in artificial intelligence and machine learning. [Founder] has over [x] years of experience working as a senior software engineer prior to starting [Company Name].

[Founder] began researching what it would take to create her own technology company and did a thorough analysis on the costs, market, demographics, and competition. [Founder] has compiled enough information to develop her business plan in order to approach investors.

[Company Name]’s History

Once her market analysis was complete, [Founder’s Name] began surveying the local vacant office space and located an ideal location to house the technology company. [Founder’s Name] incorporated [Company Name] as a Limited Liability Corporation on [date of incorporation].

Since incorporation, the company has achieved the following milestones:

  • Located available office space for rent that is in a busy commercial district
  • Developed the company’s name, logo, and website located at [website]
  • Determined equipment and necessary supplies
  • Began recruiting key employees

[Company Name]’s Products/Services

The following are the services that [Company Name] will provide:

  • AI Hardware
  • Marketing AI Software
  • Customer Relationship Management AI Software
  • Customer Support AI Software
  • Technology Training: Training sessions on how to use the AI solutions and integrate them into their businesses

III. Industry Analysis

The global technology industry is valued at approximately $5.2T. Of all countries worldwide, the United States currently has the largest technology market, with 32% of the market share at $1.7T. The technology industry in the U.S. accounts for a large part of the nation’s economy. The Information Technology market can be segmented by categories such as software, devices and infrastructure IT and business services, emerging technology, and telecom services. In the United States, IT and business services hold the greatest market share (30%), followed by software (20%) and telecom services (20%).

Market drivers include the economy, employment rates, and the digital transformation of daily life for a growing number of people and businesses worldwide. Corporations and organizations are seeking IT service providers that can help improve their software, cybersecurity, data, and infrastructure. Technology companies that can provide products and services that cater to these issues can be competitive in the constantly evolving market.

IV. Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

[Company Name] will serve the small and medium sized businesses of [Location] and surrounding areas.

Many small businesses in the community are startups or established enterprises looking to expand their reach, thus would benefit from technology that can increase their customer engagement.

Customer Segmentation

The Company will primarily target the following three customer segments:

  • Startups: Businesses who have been in operation for two years or less often need help acquiring new customers and thus make an excellent target market for [Company Name]’s AI solution.
  • Small businesses: The area has a lot of small businesses with less than 100 employees. Many of these businesses are looking for ways to increase their customer engagement through new technology applications.
  • Medium sized businesses: The Company will also target medium-sized businesses (up to 500 employees) looking to improve their customer acquisition and retention through technology.

V. Competitive Analysis

You can download our Business Plan Template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here. The following businesses are located within a 30-mile radius of [Company Name], thus providing either direct or indirect competition for customers:

Direct & Indirect Competitors

Tekuserv Tekuserv has been a reliable technology company in [Location] for more than fifteen years. The company is known for its wide range of technology solutions that serves many small-to-medium sized businesses. With its large number of experts focused on delivering customer satisfaction, the organization maintains its high standard of developing quality products and providing exceptional customer service. Tekuserv provides business software on a freemium subscription basis. It develops enterprise technology solutions with a focus on customer relationship management.

Prime IA Business Solutions Prime AI Business Solutions is a technology development company in [Location]. In business for several years, the company has developed highly rated AI solutions used by many well-known businesses in a variety of industries. Prime AI Business Solutions now offers a range of AI hardware and software products geared towards helping businesses of all sizes increase their customer base. The company has also introduced a “pay-as-you-grow” pricing model that scales to provide users with more support as they scale up.

AICE Developments AICE stands for Artificial Intelligence for Customer Engagement. AICE Developments is also a local technology company that manufactures and distributes a variety of technology products. AICE Developments was established in 2009 at [Location], providing integrated AI applications and platform services. Its products include applications and infrastructure offerings delivered through various IT deployment models, including on-premise deployments, cloud-based deployments, and hybrid deployments. The company serves automotive, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, retail, utilities, construction, etc. It provides AI solutions for enterprise marketing and customer engagement.

Competitive Advantage

[Company Name] enjoys several advantages over its competitors. Those advantages include:

  • Management: [Founder’s Name] has been extremely successful working in the technology industry and will be able to use her previous experience to provide the best service experience. Her unique qualifications will serve customers in a much more sophisticated manner than [Company Name]’s competitors.
  • Relationships : [Founder’s Name] knows many of the local leaders, business managers, and other influencers within [Location]. With her [x] years of experience and good relationships with business leaders in the area, she will be able to develop an initial client base.
  • Proprietary technology : The company has developed proprietary AI technology that will be used to add new data sources, expand on valuable insights, launch advanced features like benchmarking, provide predictive and prescriptive analytics, and ensure self-guided data discovery.
  • Client-oriented service : [Company Name] will have full-time customer service and sales managers to keep in contact with clients and answer their everyday questions.

VI. Marketing Plan

[Company Name] seeks to position itself as a high-quality source of AI solutions for practical business applications. Clients can expect to receive the best technology on the market from skilled developers in [Location] and customized customer support, training, and troubleshooting services.

The [Company Name] Brand

The [Company Name] brand will focus on the company’s unique value proposition:

  • Service built on long-term relationships
  • Big-firm expertise in a small-firm environment
  • Thorough knowledge of the clients and their varying needs
  • Proprietary technology developed by skilled software engineers

Promotions Strategy

[Company Name] expects its initial target market to be businesses within a 30-mile radius of its location. [The Company]’s promotion strategy to reach these individuals includes:

Targeted Cold Calls [Company name] will initially invest significant time and energy into contacting potential clients via telephone. In order to improve the effectiveness of this phase of the marketing strategy, a highly-focused call list will be used, targeting startups and small businesses. As this is a very time-consuming process, it will primarily be used during the startup phase to build an initial client base.

Referrals [Company name] understands that the best promotion comes from satisfied customers. The company will encourage its clients to refer other businesses by providing economic or financial incentives for every new client produced. This strategy will increase in effectiveness after the business has already been established. Additionally, [Company Name] will aggressively network with business incubators, small business development centers, small business accountants, and others in a position to work with small businesses and startups. This network will generate referral leads.

Social Media [Company Name] will invest heavily in a social media advertising campaign. The brand manager will create the company’s social media accounts and invest in ads on all social media platforms. It will use targeted marketing to appeal to the target demographics.

Publications The company will place print advertisements in key local publications, including newspapers, area magazines, and business newsletters. Additionally, [Company Name] will print brochures and place them in specific locations frequented by target individuals, such as small business development centers.

Website/SEO [Company Name] will invest heavily in developing a professional website that displays all of the features and benefits of the technology company. It will also invest heavily in SEO so that the brand’s website will appear at the top of search engine results.

Direct Mail [Company Name] will blanket businesses with direct mail pieces. These pieces will provide general information on [Company Name], offer discounts, and/or provide other incentives for companies to use the AI platform.

Pricing Strategy

[Company Name]’s pricing will be on par with competitors so clients feel they receive great value when purchasing the technology.

VII. Operations Plan

Functional roles.

[Company Name] will carry out its day-to-day operations primarily on an appointment basis. Clients will make appointments for product demonstrations, interview sessions to gather information for proposals, and further meetings throughout client engagements. These will often occur at the company office location to remove clients from the distractions of their business. In-process meetings may occur on-site at the client’s business in order to increase the strength of the client relationship. If necessary, appointments can be conducted over the telephone.

[Founder’s Name] will work on an as-needed basis, but can be expected to be present in the office during normal business hours. The company will also employ an assistant/analyst who will staff the office during normal business hours and support marketing and client relationship development efforts.

Administrative and Service Functions

  • General and administrative functions including marketing, bookkeeping, etc.

The following are a series of steps that lead to the company’s vision of long-term success. [Company Name] expects to achieve the following milestones in the following [xyz] months:

DateMilestone
[Date 1]Finalize lease agreement
[Date 2]Design and build out [Company Name]
[Date 3]Hire and train initial staff
[Date 4]Kickoff of promotional campaign
[Date 5]Launch [Company Name]
[Date 6]Reach break-even

VIII. Management Team

Management Team Members

Hiring Plan

[Founder] will serve as the Owner and Manager of [Company Name]. In order to launch, she needs to hire the following personnel:

  • Software engineer: 1 full-time employee to manage the software development process operations and assist [Founder] with managerial duties.
  • Brand manager: 1 full-time employee who will be responsible for managing all marketing and advertising initiatives, maintaining the company website, and updating social media accounts regularly.
  • Office staff: 3-4 employees who will manage the phone calls, scheduling, accounting, marketing, clerical, bookkeeping, billing, and any administrative task required.

IX. Financial Plan

Revenue and cost drivers.

[Company Name]’s revenues will come primarily from its technology solution subscription sales. The company will use a freemium subscription model, in which basic functions can be used by any company for free. Additional solutions and support will be available in a tiered package model based on the enterprises’ size and number of users.

The office lease, equipment, supplies, and labor expenses will be the key cost drivers of [Company Name]. The major cost drivers for the company’s operation will consist of:

  • Technology development supplies and equipment
  • Business Insurance
  • Lease on business location and utilities

Ongoing marketing expenditures are also notable cost drivers for [Company Name].

Capital Requirements and Use of Funds

[Company Name] is seeking a total funding of $200,000 of debt capital to open its office.

Specifically, these funds will be used as follows:

Key Assumptions

Number of clients
Year 142
Year 263
Year 396
Year 4162
Year 5243
Annual rent$36,000

5 Year Annual Income Statement

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5
Revenues
Product/Service A$151,200 $333,396 $367,569 $405,245 $446,783
Product/Service B$100,800 $222,264 $245,046 $270,163 $297,855
Total Revenues$252,000 $555,660 $612,615 $675,408 $744,638
Expenses & Costs
Cost of goods sold$57,960 $122,245 $122,523 $128,328 $134,035
Lease$60,000 $61,500 $63,038 $64,613 $66,229
Marketing$20,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000
Salaries$133,890 $204,030 $224,943 $236,190 $248,000
Other Expenses$3,500 $4,000 $4,500 $5,000 $5,500
Total Expenses & Costs$271,850 $412,775 $435,504 $454,131 $473,263
EBITDA($19,850)$142,885 $177,112 $221,277 $271,374
Depreciation$36,960 $36,960 $36,960 $36,960 $36,960
EBIT($56,810)$105,925 $140,152 $184,317 $234,414
Interest$23,621 $20,668 $17,716 $14,763 $11,810
PRETAX INCOME($80,431)$85,257 $122,436 $169,554 $222,604
Net Operating Loss($80,431)($80,431)$0$0$0
Income Tax Expense$0$1,689 $42,853 $59,344 $77,911
NET INCOME($80,431)$83,568 $79,583 $110,210 $144,693
Net Profit Margin (%)-15.00%13.00%16.30%19.40%

5 Year Annual Balance Sheet

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5
ASSETS
Cash$16,710 $90,188 $158,957 $258,570 $392,389
Accounts receivable$0$0$0$0$0
Inventory$21,000 $23,153 $25,526 $28,142 $31,027
Total Current Assets$37,710 $113,340 $184,482 $286,712 $423,416
Fixed assets$246,450 $246,450 $246,450 $246,450 $246,450
Depreciation$36,960 $73,920 $110,880 $147,840 $184,800
Net fixed assets$209,490 $172,530 $135,570 $98,610 $61,650
TOTAL ASSETS$247,200 $285,870 $320,052 $385,322 $485,066
LIABILITIES & EQUITY
Debt$317,971 $272,546 $227,122 $181,698 $136,273
Accounts payable$9,660 $10,187 $10,210 $10,694 $11,170
Total Liabilities$327,631 $282,733 $237,332 $192,391 $147,443
Share Capital$0$0$0$0$0
Retained earnings($80,431)$3,137 $82,720 $192,930 $337,623
Total Equity($80,431)$3,137 $82,720 $192,930 $337,623
TOTAL LIABILITIES & EQUITY$247,200 $285,870 $320,052 $385,322 $485,066

5 Year Annual Cash Flow Statement

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5
CASH FLOW FROM OPERATIONS
Net Income (Loss)($80,431)$83,568 $79,583 $110,210 $144,693
Change in working capital($11,340)($1,625)($2,350)($2,133)($2,409)
Depreciation$36,960 $36,960 $36,960 $36,960 $36,960
Net Cash Flow from Operations($54,811)$118,902 $114,193 $145,037 $179,244
CASH FLOW FROM INVESTMENTS
Investment($246,450)$0$0$0$0
Net Cash Flow from Investments($246,450)$0$0$0$0
CASH FLOW FROM FINANCING
Cash from equity$0$0$0$0$0
Cash from debt$317,971 ($45,424)($45,424)($45,424)($45,424)
Net Cash Flow from Financing$317,971 ($45,424)($45,424)($45,424)($45,424)
SUMMARY
Net Cash Flow$16,710 $73,478 $68,769 $99,613 $133,819
Cash at Beginning of Period$0$16,710 $90,188 $158,957 $258,570
Cash at End of Period$16,710 $90,188 $158,957 $258,570 $392,389

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Blog Feature Updates Startup Business Plans 101: Your Path to Success

Startup Business Plans 101: Your Path to Success

Written by: Jay Nair Jul 24, 2023

building technology business plan

It’s time — you’ve got a promising idea and you’re now prepared to invest the necessary effort to turn it into reality. Startup business plans are vital hack tools that will guide you through your entrepreneurial journey and a business venture with clarity and purpose.

Though vital, business planning doesn’t have to be a chore. Business plans for lean startups and solopreneurs can simply outline the business concept, sales proposition, target customers and sketch out a plan of action to bring the product or service to market. These plans will serve as strategic documents outlining your company’s vision, mission statements, business objectives, target market, financial forecasts and growth strategies.

To simplify the creation of a robust business plan as an entrepreneur, you can harness the power of a business plan maker . This invaluable tool streamlines the process and ensures a polished and well-organized presentation.  Startup business plan templates provide pre-designed frameworks that can be customized to suit your specific industry needs, saving valuable time and effort while preserving the essential structure of a comprehensive business plan.

Ready to begin? Let’s go!

building technology business plan

Just so you know, some of our business plan templates are free to use and some require a small monthly fee. Sign-up is always free, as is access to Venngage’s online drag-and-drop editor.

Click to jump ahead:

  • Laying the foundation of your startup business plan
  • Business plan executive summary
  • Writing your business description
  • Marketing & sales strategies
  • Startup operational plans
  • Financial plans – forecasting and projections
  • Team and management
  • Appendix and supporting documents

FAQs on startup business plans

  • Use Venngage to create your startup business plan

Preparation and research: 6 steps to laying the foundation of your startup business plan

  • What problem does your product or service solve? 
  • Who are your target customers? 
  • What differentiates your offering from existing solutions in the market? 

This self-reflection will help you establish a clear direction for your startup.

  • Next, conduct market research to gather valuable insights about your target market , including demographics, preferences, and purchasing behavior . This data will enable you to tailor your product or service to meet the specific needs of your customers. Identify trends, industry growth projections, and any potential barriers or challenges you may encounter.
  • Competitive analysis is another critical aspect of preparation and research. Study your competitors to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. Analyze their pricing, marketing tactics, customer experience, and product/service features. This analysis will allow you to identify gaps in the market and position your startup to offer a unique value proposition .
  • Financial research is equally important during this phase. Calculate the costs associated with starting and operating your business , including overhead expenses, production costs, marketing expenses, and employee salaries. Assess potential revenue streams and estimate your expected sales. This financial analysis will help you determine the feasibility of your business idea and outline a realistic financial plan.
  • Additionally, gather information about legal and regulatory requirements that apply to your industry and location . Understand the necessary permits, licenses, and certifications you need to operate legally. Complying with these regulations from the outset will prevent potential setbacks or legal issues in the future.
  • Finally, organize your findings and insights into a coherent business plan. Create your business plan outline , list your business plan goals, strategies, target market, competitive analysis, marketing plan, financial projections and any other relevant information. This compilation will serve as a roadmap for your startup, guiding your decisions and actions moving forward.

You’ve just encountered a wealth of information and are well on your way to becoming a seasoned business owner! This can sometimes feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, take a moment to breathe deeply and remember how far you’ve come. You’ve got this!

To help you condense and organize your essential points, I have brilliant one-page samples of business plan layouts and templates that will capture everything in a concise format.

building technology business plan

Knowing when to use a one-page business plan versus a more comprehensive plan depends on various factors. A one-page business plan is ideal for providing a quick overview, saving time, and internal planning. However, it may not suffice for detailed information, complex business models, or meeting external stakeholders’ expectations.

Ultimately, consider the purpose, audience, and complexity of your business when deciding whether to utilize a one-page business plan or opt for a more detailed approach.

Executive Summary: Your Startup’s Elevator Pitch

First impressions are crucial, and a concise yet comprehensive executive summary is your chance to grab potential investors’ attention.

To create a compelling elevator pitch, consider the following key elements:

Problem Statement : Clearly articulate the problem or pain point that your startup addresses. Emphasize the significance of the problem and the potential market size

Solution : Concisely describe your innovative solution or product that solves the identified problem. Highlight its unique features or benefits that differentiate it from existing alternatives.

Target Market : Define your ideal customer segment and outline the market potential. Demonstrate a deep understanding of your target audience’s needs, preferences, and behavior.

Competitive Advantage : Showcase the competitive edge that sets your startup apart from competitors. This could include intellectual property, strategic partnerships, cost advantages, or disruptive technology.

Business Model : Briefly explain how your startup generates revenue and sustains profitability. Outline your monetization strategy, pricing model, and any recurring revenue streams .

Traction and Milestones : Highlight any significant achievements or milestones reached by your startup. This could include customer acquisitions, partnerships, product development progress, or market validation.

Team : Showcase the expertise and qualifications of your founding team or business partners. Highlight key members and their relevant experiences demonstrating their ability to execute the business plan.

I can sense your eagerness to dive right in! To expedite your progress, I’m excited to present you with a collection of meticulously crafted executive summary templates. These templates have been thoughtfully designed and structured by Venngage designers, ensuring seamless integration into your thorough business plan. All you need to do is infuse them with your brilliant startup ideas, and you’ll be well on your way to success!

building technology business plan

Now, remember that there’s still a ton of work to be done. Let’s take a moment to regroup and ensure we’re on the right track. Before diving into the process of writing your business plan , it’s imperative to gather a wealth of essential information. Conducting comprehensive research is key, and it should encompass the following aspects:

How to assess your target audience

To gain comprehensive insights into your potential user base, creating a user persona report is invaluable. This persona guide report will help you develop a detailed understanding of various user profiles, enabling you to tailor your products or services to meet their specific needs and preferences.

building technology business plan

Understanding Your Market and Competition

Analyze your market and any trends relevant to your startup. Research your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and identify what differentiates your offering from the competition.

building technology business plan

Developing a Unique Value Proposition

A business Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is a concise statement that communicates the unique advantage a product or service offers over competitors, addressing a specific problem or need. It highlights the distinctive value and benefits customers can expect, helping businesses attract and retain customers by differentiating themselves in the market.

Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the cornerstone of your startup, defining what sets you apart from your competitors. A strong UVP focuses on the specific benefits and solutions your startup offers to customers.

building technology business plan

Company Description: Painting the Picture

Your company description allows you to showcase your startup’s unique features and provide more in-depth details about your business. This section should include:

The Purpose of the Company Description

Clarify the purpose of your business, your goals and how your startup is uniquely positioned to achieve them.

Essential Information to Include

Include details such as your company’s legal structure, location and a brief history of any founders or key personnel.

Showcase Your Company’s Unique Features

Emphasize the unique aspects of your startup, explaining how these features translate into a competitive advantage.

Allow me to provide you with a dash of inspiration to ignite the momentum for your startup business plan:

building technology business plan

When it comes to showcasing your company’s unique features, keep in mind that it is essential to emphasize and highlight the distinctive aspects of your startup . Clearly articulate how these features set your company apart from competitors and translate into a tangible competitive advantage . 

Whether it’s through cutting-edge technology, innovative business models, exceptional customer service, or a combination of factors, conveying the value and impact of these unique features is crucial. By effectively communicating the benefits they bring to customers, investors, and partners, you can demonstrate the significance of your offerings and differentiate yourself in the market.

Product/Service Line: What You’re Bringing to the Table

This section highlights the finer details of your product or service offerings:

Detailing Your Product/Service Offerings

Provide a thorough description of your products/services, highlighting key features and their intended use.

building technology business plan

Highlighting Features, Benefits, and Solutions

Demonstrate how your startup’s offerings solve specific problems or address customer needs through an analysis of product features and associated benefits.

building technology business plan

Defining Your Pricing and Revenue Model

Outline your startup’s pricing strategy and how it aligns with the overall business model. Detail any plans for scaling or expanding your revenue sources in the future.

building technology business plan

Presenting Your Market Research Findings

Share insights from your market research, including target customer demographics, market size, and growth potential.

building technology business plan

Identifying Market Trends and Opportunities

Discuss current trends, emerging opportunities, and how your startup will capitalize on these developments.

building technology business plan

Marketing and Sales Strategies: Spreading the Word

Developing a robust marketing and sales strategy plan aligns with your overall business strategy and ensures steady growth. Marketing planning will be an essential part of your journey once you’ve got your business plan tight-knit! Also, creating a marketing strategy can be the most fun part of your business plan!

Developing a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy & Plan

  • Outline Specific Marketing Goals : Clearly define your marketing objectives, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, generating leads, or boosting sales . Set measurable targets to track progress.
  • Identify Target Audience : Conduct thorough market research to identify your ideal customer profiles. Understand their demographics, behaviors, preferences, and pain points. Tailor your marketing messages to resonate with their needs.
  • Select Effective Marketing Channels : Consider both digital and traditional channels that align with your target audience and marketing goals. This may include online advertising, social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email campaigns, print media, events, or partnerships.
  • Craft Compelling Messages : Develop persuasive and consistent messaging that highlights the unique value proposition of your products or services. Clearly communicate how your offerings solve customer problems or improve their lives.

building technology business plan

5 Tips for Effective Sales Techniques and Growth Strategies + free templates

  • Define Your Sales Strategy : Outline the approach and tactics your sales team will use to reach and convert customers. This may involve direct sales, channel partnerships, online sales, or a combination of strategies. Specify your sales process, including lead generation, qualification, nurturing, and closing.
  • Expand Your Customer Base : Identify opportunities to expand your customer reach. Consider targeting new customer segments, entering new geographic markets, or exploring untapped market niches. Develop strategies to attract and engage these potential customers.
  • Penetrate New Markets : Assess the feasibility of expanding into new markets or verticals. Market research will help you understand the dynamics, competition, and customer needs in these markets. Adapt your marketing and sales strategies accordingly to effectively penetrate and capture market share.
  • Innovate Products/Services : Continuously evaluate and enhance your product or service offerings to meet evolving customer demands. Identify areas for innovation or improvement and develop a roadmap for launching new features, versions, or complementary offerings.
  • Perform a SWOT analysis : By conducting a sales SWOT analysis , you will gather valuable insights to enhance your department’s performance. This analysis involves evaluating your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, enabling you to identify areas for improvement and capitalize on advantageous factors in the market.

Here’s a hack to get you organized – Get right into it with the help of these growth strategy templates and strategic planning templates :

building technology business plan

Operational Plan: How Your Startup Will Run

Define an efficient and scalable operational plan, keeping in mind the following points:

Defining an Efficient and Scalable Plan

Outline the day-to-day operations, including processes, timelines, and necessary resources.

Legal Considerations for Your Startup Business

Identify any legal requirements or considerations, such as licenses, permits, or regulations that may apply to your startup.

Key Elements of Supply Chain Management and Logistics

Discuss supply chain and logistical aspects relevant to your business. Include details on how you plan to manage and scale these processes.

Here’s a kickstart on how you can structure your operating plans:

building technology business plan

Financial Projections: Crunching the Numbers

A startup’s financial projections are vital in securing investor buy-in. This section should address:

The Importance of Financial Forecasting and Budgeting

Explain the significance of accurate financial forecasting, budgeting, and the assumptions made in your projections.

Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Highlight the KPIs used to gauge your business’s financial health and growth trajectory.

Outlining Funding Requirements

Detail the amount and type of funding your startup requires , including how the funds will be allocated and how this investment positions the company for growth.

building technology business plan

Team and Management Structure: Building Your Dream Team

Your startup’s success depends on the people behind it. This section should cover:

Tips for Building the Right Team

Share your strategy for assembling a skilled team that supports your startup’s vision and growth trajectory.

Founders’ Background and Roles

Provide an overview of the founders’ backgrounds, their roles within the company, and how their skills contribute to the startup’s success.

Organizational Structure and Key Management Personnel

Outline your startup’s organizational structure, including any key management personnel who play a pivotal role in day-to-day operations.

Appendices and Supporting Documents: Backing Up Your Plan

Include any other relevant supporting documents, such as:

  • Research data, market analysis, or competitor analyses.
  • Financial statements, budgeting or forecasting data, and other financial documentation.
  • Legal documents, agreements or contracts, and any patent or trademark information.

Finally, remember to review and update your business plan regularly as the industry, market, and competitive landscape evolve!

1. Why is a business plan essential for a startup?

A startup business plan is crucial for a startup because it provides a framework for strategic decision-making, facilitates financial planning, helps assess risks, aligns teams, communicates your vision, and ensures effective resource allocation. 

2. What should a startup business plan include?

A startup business plan should include:

  • Vision and Direction : Set clear goals and objectives, and outline strategies to achieve them. With a well-defined plan, you will stay focused, make informed decisions, and ensure alignment with your vision.
  • Market Analysis : A business plan necessitates thorough market research to understand your target market, identify competition, and assess product/service demand. These insights enable you to tailor offerings, meet customer needs, and gain a competitive edge.
  • Financial Planning : By constructing a financial roadmap through projected statements such as income, cash flow, and balance sheets, a business plan unveils the expected revenues, expenses, and profitability. This comprehensive planning not only anticipates challenges and sets realistic goals but also serves as a magnet for attracting investors and securing funding.
  • Risk Assessment : Devise strategies for risk mitigation and contingency planning. By proactively doing this, you can significantly enhance the likelihood of success by anticipating and effectively addressing potential obstacles.
  • Communication and Team Alignment : From fostering effective communication with both internal and external stakeholders to aligning team members and showcasing your startup’s unique value proposition, a business plan plays a crucial role. It enables you to articulate target market insights, competitive advantages, and growth strategies to potential investors, partners, and employees.
  • Resource Allocation : A business plan helps you identify the resources required to launch and operate your startup successfully. It includes an assessment of your human resources, technology needs, infrastructure requirements, and other key resources. By understanding your resource needs, you can allocate them effectively, ensuring that you have the necessary assets to execute your business strategy.
  • Adaptability and Flexibility : Your business plan should be flexible enough to accommodate changes and adapt to new circumstances. Startups operate in dynamic environments, and a well-designed plan allows you to monitor progress, evaluate outcomes, and make adjustments as needed. This agility enables you to seize new opportunities and navigate challenges effectively.

3. What is the ideal length for a startup business plan?

The optimal length for a startup business plan typically depends on the specific requirements and intended audience, but a concise and focused plan of around 20 to 30 pages is often recommended.

4. How to write a good startup business plan?

To write a good and effective startup plan, include an executive summary, company description, market analysis, detailed products/services description and a clear marketing and sales strategy. Also incorporate a comprehensive financial plan, outline your organizational structure, and demonstrates your team’s expertise and capabilities. Your plan should be well-researched, concise, and compelling, with a focus on your company’s unique value proposition and market opportunity, making it attractive to investors and stakeholders.

Utilizing Venngage templates & other tools for success

A visually appealing and professional business plan needn’t be a daunting task. Leverage tools like Venngage Business Plan Maker for effective templates that cater to various industries and streamline the process. 

  • Leveraging Venngage for Visually Appealing and Professional Business Plans

Venngage offers a range of templates designed specifically for business plans, allowing you to craft a polished and visually engaging plan without any design experience. Simply choose a template, customize it to suit your startup’s branding, and populate it with your content.

  • Exploring Additional Resources and Tools for Entrepreneurs. In addition to Venngage, several other resources and tools can assist entrepreneurs in crafting the perfect business plan. Examples include:
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) – Offers guidance on writing business plans and provides templates and resources for each section.
  • SCORE – A nonprofit organization providing mentorship, workshops, and other resources for entrepreneurs.
  • Industry-specific resources – Research relevant professional organizations, industry publications, and blogs to stay up to date on industry trends and insights.

Embarking on the entrepreneurial path may present formidable challenges, yet it offers abundant rewards in various aspects. Embrace the art of continuous learning, delving not only into the essence of your business idea but also immersing yourself in the vast world that surrounds it. Cultivate a genuine passion for understanding every facet of your enterprise, for it is through this journey of exploration that you will uncover invaluable insights and experience the true fulfillment of entrepreneurship.

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How to build a Technology Plan? A practical guide for leaders and practitioners

How to build a technology plan?

The energy industry has truly pushed the boundaries over time, whereby technology has been a true enabler. Yet, despite the undeniable role that technology has played, it is also clear that there is significant room to further accelerate the speed of technology deployment. Including the deployment of technologies to cut emissions.

As a result, many people have been tasked with building a Technology Plan for their organisation; we notice that from the requests we have received since starting TechnologyCatalogue.com in 2018.

For those that have never built such a plan, it can be difficult to determine where to start.

In this blog we give you some practical guidance.  

Understanding the business needs

As a starting point, it is a good practice to collect the business needs. This can be done in different ways, e.g. by interviewing people across the organisation, or e.g. by simply asking people to respond to an e-mail with the question what the 3-5 main challenges are that the person faces in his or her job.  

The starting point can also be existing information, such as a risk register, the scope & schedule for an upcoming turnaround, or for example a list of closed-in wells, and the reasons for being closed in.

Replicating what has worked for others

Another starting point for building a Technology Plan can be to create an overview of what has worked for others; particularly technologies that worked for companies that operate in the same geographical area and/or have similar type of assets and projects. If something has made money for other companies, it can also be a quick win for your company!  

When it comes to selecting technologies that can be relevant to your business, it’s good to keep in mind that very few assets and projects are truly unique. The typical challenges that one UK Oil & Gas Operator faces are often not  that different from what other Operators in the UK face; and also not that different from what Operators in the Norwegian or Dutch part of the North Sea face.  

TechnologyCatalogue.com can support you with finding solutions that have worked for others. The platform was developed based on first-hand experience that it is often difficult for decision makers to stay up to date on available technology-driven improvement opportunities for their business. Similar to how we use platforms such as TripAdvisor and Booking.com in our daily life to find out about hotels, TechnologyCatalogue.com helps users to see the wood for the trees when it comes to available technologies. Since the launch in 2018, >180,000 unique users have accessed the platform. The platform helps suppliers to create more visibility for their technologies, this way increasing the chances that the technologies get used. It offers additional channels to reach end-users.

Creating a list of technologies

Whenever we support a company with building a Technology Plan, we typically start with a list of ~30-50 technologies per asset or project. This includes digital as well as non-digital technologies. The technologies are selected taking into account the business need, and also taking into account what has worked for others, in line with the paragraphs above.

To aid the selection process, we then provide the following information for each technology, to the extent that the information is available.

  • Names of the supplier(s) that can deliver the technology, either directly or through another party
  • Brief description of the technology
  • Business impact indication
  • Summary of technical specifications
  • Technology Readiness Level
  • Deployment references - overview of companies that have used the technology, including companies in the same geographical area; or companies with assets or projects similar to assets and projects of your company. 
  • Reviews from independent experts

With the information available, conscious decisions can be taken.

Technology Workshop

The list of technologies forms the input for a workshop. We recommend to reserve 4-8 hours for such a workshop, depending on the breadth of the challenges that need to be discussed.

Depending on the size of your company, it can be one single workshop in which a technology screening is done for the entire company. It can also be done through a series of workshops.

The workshop can be held face-to-face, but it’s also perfectly fine to do through a series of video calls.

The people to be invited for the workshop need to be directly involved with the challenges, and be in a role where they can take the follow-up action leading to getting the technology used.

The following can serve as agenda for such workshop:

  • Safety & Introductions.
  • Assessing the Impact versus Do-Ability of technology  
  • Go through the list of identified opportunities. Rank the technologies based on impact and do-ability.
  • Select key opportunities, and estimate the business impact

Identify a Technology Deployment Lead and Decision Maker for each technology

  • Next steps & closure

  Let’s go through the agenda items in a bit more detail.   Safety & Introductions It is recommended that each workshop is kicked-off by a senior leader, to clearly give the message that it is an activity that senior management considers important.   Assessing the Impact versus Do-Ability of technology A key element of the workshop is to rank the identified technologies in terms of Impact versus Do-Ability. When we support our customers with assessing the Impact versus Do-Ability, we make use of our Tech Assessment Tool. With the Tech Assessment Tool, a technology is assessed against criteria grouped under 7 themes, through a structured dialogue with key stakeholders. The Tech Assessment Tool provides key insights into the reasons why a technology is difficult or relatively easy to deploy. Also, based on the outcome of the Tech Assessment Tool, specific actions can be defined to increase the chances of success. The outcome of the Tech Assessment Tool is visualised with a spider diagram and an Impact versus Do-ability matrix. The matrix is particularly useful when showing the position of multiple technologies in one graph.

Outcome of the Tech Positioning Programme using an Impact versus Do-ability Matrix.

Outcome of the Tech Assessment Tool using an Impact versus Do-ability Matrix

  It is important that all workshop attendees reflect beforehand what the key aspects are that determine the Impact and Do-ability of a technology, and to have an open dialogue during the workshop.   Go through the list of identified opportunities The next agenda item of the workshop is to go through the list of technologies, and assess the position on the Impact versus Do-ability matrix for each technology. The outcome can be summarised using the Impact versus Do-Ability Matrix.   It is key that the workshop facilitator gently challenges the workshop participants where needed, and also holds up the mirror! It is not uncommon that comments such as “this won’t work for us” come up, and these need to be addressed, e.g. by pointing out facts that a technology has already been used X times by other companies operating under similar conditions.

Do-Ability matrix

Using the Impact versus Do-Ability matrix to show the position of multiple technologies.

Select key opportunities

Based on the analysis done, a selection can be made of the top opportunities to pursue.

It is important though that your portfolio contains the right type of technologies; not only technologies that can make an impact in the medium- to longer-term, but also technologies that can make an impact right away. 

Selecting key opportunities

Selecting key opportunities.

The quick wins not only deliver short-term impact; they can also help to pave the path for the next wave of high impact technologies. 

As part of the workshop, it is important to make a rough business impact estimate for the selected technologies, in terms of OPEX, CAPEX, Production, CO2 emission reduction, safety improvement, and potentially other measures.

It is important that a Lead is identified for every technology that has been selected. This person is responsible for working out a detailed plan, and for getting the technology deployed. For each technology, it also needs to be defined who the decision maker is. 

Next steps & closure 

The outcome of the workshop should be presented to the same senior leader that kicked-off the workshop. This way immediately highlighting the potential size of the prize to the company! The support from the senior leader will help to build momentum.

Follow-up working sessions & dialogues

Following the workshop, it is important to further determine the specific business impact of the technology. Also, a detailed action plan needs to be created for each technology. The insights as a result of using the Tech Assessment Tool will help. This programme is based on >600 deployments that we have been involved in over the years, and will help to define specific technical and non-technical actions to be taken to position the technology for success.

Compiling the Technology Plan

Working the steps as described in this blog forms the basis for a Technology Plan for an asset, project, or the entire company.

It requires significant effort to compile such a plan when you do it for the first time. Once it is in place, there are many opportunities to streamline the process.

For example, the moment you keep an evergreen overview of business challenges, and an evergreen overview of technologies that can be relevant to your business, the selection of technologies goes quickly.

Just having a Technology Plan is not sufficient though. It is important to keep in mind all critical success factors for technology deployment, such that you generate the most value for your business through technology deployment! Please see our recent blog,  How effective is your company in getting technology deployed? .

There are many opportunities to make a difference with technology. A fit-for-purpose Technology Plan is thereby key. Through this blog, we hope you gained some insights on which steps to take!

We can support you with building a Technology Plan, and also support you with setting yourself up for success such that you can do it yourself in the future with a minimum of external support.

Curious how we can help you? Please contact us at  [email protected] ! 

The founders of TechnologyCatalogue.com led technology deployment activities in support of assets and projects across Shell. Over 600 deployments were successfully delivered, resulting in a very significant impact on safety, production and cost. We understand what it takes to get technology deployed, including all change management aspects related to it. Since starting TechnologyCatalogue.com in March 2018, we have supported tens of companies with technology deployment.

Our platform TechnologyCatalogue.com was developed based on first-hand experience that it is often difficult for decision-makers to stay up to date on available technology-driven improvement opportunities for their business. It was launched in Q3 2018 and is steadily growing in terms of content & functionality. Since the launch, >180,000 unique users have accessed the platform. We’re also developing customised versions of the platform. For example, jointly with National Energy Resources Australia, we have delivered a customised version of the platform for Australia ( Nera.TechnologyCatalogue.com )

In addition to TechnologyCatalogue.com ,  we also support suppliers and end-users with getting technology deployment done, through consultancy & workshops.

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How to Build a Technology Roadmap

What is a technology roadmap.

A technology roadmap is a high-level visual summary that maps out the vision and plans for a complex technology undertaking. Businesses use technology roadmaps to plan and manage internal IT projects.

When and Why Would You Need a Technology Roadmap?

Making any change to a business’s technology environment can be a complicated task. It can also create a ripple effect across the organization.

If the company implements a change without thinking through the implications, it could create problems for the business’s operations. It could also introduce security and regulatory weaknesses. And even if the company addresses these risks, the change itself could be disruptive.

For these reasons, a business should use a technology roadmap to strategically plan any complex adjustment to its IT environment, including addressing technical debt . Using a technology roadmap can help a company plan out the best way to introduce a technological change in the business. This plan would include rolling out new software for employees, upgrading the organization’s digital network, or migrating to a new email program.

Here are a few other benefits of technology roadmaps.

What are the Benefits of a Technology Roadmap?

1. it helps you see and understand the implications of your plan..

Before introducing any IT changes to your organization, you need to think through how the change will affect the business.

For instance, are you thinking about upgrading to new servers? You’ll need to know how moving your data will affect your employees’ work. You’ll also need to figure out how to make the switch without leaving any holes in your cybersecurity process.

A technology roadmap helps you and your team think through how your plans will impact other areas of the business.

2. It helps you communicate your plan’s big-picture goals and benefits.

When you decide to change corporate email systems or some other aspect of your IT environment, you will need to earn the support of affected stakeholders across the company.

A technology roadmap can help you do this by allowing you to clearly and persuasively summarize your strategic thinking behind your plan, and the benefits you anticipate the change will deliver to the company.

3. It helps keep your team on track during the process.

All complex projects face obstacles. Your executive staff might freeze budgets across the company while your technology implementation is only halfway complete. Or an IT emergency in the company might force your team to pause on this project while you address that urgent problem.

Download the Guide to Roadmap Software ➜

How to Create a Technology Roadmap

Here’s a five-step plan for building a technology roadmap.

Technology Roadmap How To

Step 1: Identify your strategic objectives.

Before you can plan the specific tactics of your technology project, you need to figure out why you’ve decided this initiative is essential. That means your first step is to identify and clearly articulate the “why” behind your proposed change.

Ask yourself, “How will this IT change benefit our business?” — and place your brief response at the top of your technology roadmap.

Step 2: Determine the roadmap’s audience(s).

You might be planning highly technical changes for your company. But if you’re going to present this roadmap to your executive staff, you don’t want it to read like a technical manual. Those executives might not understand any of the terms you use in conversation to discuss this project with your IT coworkers.

Figure out which audiences will be viewing your technology roadmap, so you can build the roadmap using language those people will understand. If you plan to share the roadmap with more than one audience, you will want to use web-based roadmap software . It allows you to quickly and easily build several versions of the same roadmap and switch effortlessly among the different views during your presentations.

Step 3: Establish your roadmap’s major themes.

Now that you’ve decided on your primary strategic goals, it’s time to turn those goals into a plan. You’ll want to start with the highest-level actions. You can then drill down into each to figure out the details.

Note: The high-level strategic elements on a roadmap are called themes , followed by epics . (Several related epics can fall under one high-level theme.)

Step 4: Share your roadmap with relevant stakeholders

When your technology roadmap is ready to share with key stakeholders, you should call a meeting with them. At this stage, you should have a compelling message about why this technology change will help the business and a clear vision of how you plan to execute it.

Expect your stakeholders — particularly your executive team — to ask you to explain both points.

Step 5: Meet with your team to assign responsibilities — and start making progress.

Once you have your themes and epics in place, you will need to translate those high-level plans into actionable tasks.

Bring your team together to review your technology roadmap. In this meeting, you will want to determine which projects to work on in which order, estimate how long each project will take, and decide which team members will be responsible for each action item.

One final suggestion: Review and reassess your roadmap often.

The projects covered in a technology roadmap typically take months to complete. And because your team’s priorities can change many times during that period, you’ll want to review your technology roadmap regularly throughout the process. That way, your team is continuing to make progress according to your original plan and goals.

Build your own technology roadmap with our free template ➜

Tips for Sharing Your Technology Roadmap

In Step 4 of our process above, we suggested you present your roadmap to relevant stakeholders, so they can understand — and, with any luck, support — your proposed technology implementation. How can you improve your chances of making that meeting a success? Here are a few tips for sharing your technology roadmap:

1. Talk benefits, not tactics.

Until they know how your technology plan will benefit the business, your coworkers and executives won’t care how you plan to accomplish it.

Start with your big-picture thinking. Tell your audience why you’re proposing this change. Then explain what you expect it to do for the company, and why you’re sure it’s a smart move.

Note: Even if you are not presenting the roadmap to an audience but simply sharing it digitally with coworkers, you still want to follow this approach of explaining the big “why” behind your plan. So, make sure you include a short description of the strategic benefits right at the top of your technology roadmap.

2. Leave the technical details out.

Your roadmap should be visually compelling, and it should tell a story your audience can digest within a few seconds after you’ve put the roadmap up on the conference room’s screen.

Be concise. For each epic or theme on the roadmap, explain in just a few words what you plan to do, what you anticipate it will achieve for the company, and why that’s a good thing.

3. Have evidence to support your claims.

There is one caveat to our suggestion — that you keep the details out of your roadmap. You should have some data supporting your plans and goals somewhere in the roadmap.

With the right roadmap app, of course, you can add relevant stats, charts, or links to data beneath each item; keeping that information hidden from view until you’re ready to present it. You’ll keep your roadmap presentation clean and free of clutter, but still be able to pull up evidence immediately if someone challenges you or asks for supporting data.

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How to Write a Business Plan: Your Step-by-Step Guide

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So, you’ve got an idea and you want to start a business —great! Before you do anything else, like seek funding or build out a team, you'll need to know how to write a business plan. This plan will serve as the foundation of your company while also giving investors and future employees a clear idea of your purpose.

Below, Lauren Cobello, Founder and CEO of Leverage with Media PR , gives her best advice on how to make a business plan for your company.

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What is a business plan, and when do you need one?

According to Cobello, a business plan is a document that contains the mission of the business and a brief overview of it, as well as the objectives, strategies, and financial plans of the founder. A business plan comes into play very early on in the process of starting a company—more or less before you do anything else.

“You should start a company with a business plan in mind—especially if you plan to get funding for the company,” Cobello says. “You’re going to need it.”

Whether that funding comes from a loan, an investor, or crowdsourcing, a business plan is imperative to secure the capital, says the U.S. Small Business Administration . Anyone who’s considering giving you money is going to want to review your business plan before doing so. That means before you head into any meeting, make sure you have physical copies of your business plan to share.

Different types of business plans

The four main types of business plans are:

Startup Business Plans

Internal business plans, strategic business plans, one-page business plans.

Let's break down each one:

If you're wondering how to write a business plan for a startup, Cobello has advice for you. Startup business plans are the most common type, she says, and they are a critical tool for new business ventures that want funding. A startup is defined as a company that’s in its first stages of operations, founded by an entrepreneur who has a product or service idea.

Most startups begin with very little money, so they need a strong business plan to convince family, friends, banks, and/or venture capitalists to invest in the new company.

Internal business plans “are for internal use only,” says Cobello. This kind of document is not public-facing, only company-facing, and it contains an outline of the company’s business strategy, financial goals and budgets, and performance data.

Internal business plans aren’t used to secure funding, but rather to set goals and get everyone working there tracking towards them.

As the name implies, strategic business plans are geared more towards strategy and they include an assessment of the current business landscape, notes Jérôme Côté, a Business Advisor at BDC Advisory Services .

Unlike a traditional business plan, Cobello adds, strategic plans include a SWOT analysis (which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and an in-depth action plan for the next six to 12 months. Strategic plans are action-based and take into account the state of the company and the industry in which it exists.

Although a typical business plan falls between 15 to 30 pages, some companies opt for the much shorter One-Page Business Plan. A one-page business plan is a simplified version of the larger business plan, and it focuses on the problem your product or service is solving, the solution (your product), and your business model (how you’ll make money).

A one-page plan is hyper-direct and easy to read, making it an effective tool for businesses of all sizes, at any stage.

How to create a business plan in 7 steps

Every business plan is different, and the steps you take to complete yours will depend on what type and format you choose. That said, if you need a place to start and appreciate a roadmap, here’s what Cobello recommends:

1. Conduct your research

Before writing your business plan, you’ll want to do a thorough investigation of what’s out there. Who will be the competitors for your product or service? Who is included in the target market? What industry trends are you capitalizing on, or rebuking? You want to figure out where you sit in the market and what your company’s value propositions are. What makes you different—and better?

2. Define your purpose for the business plan

The purpose of your business plan will determine which kind of plan you choose to create. Are you trying to drum up funding, or get the company employees focused on specific goals? (For the former, you’d want a startup business plan, while an internal plan would satisfy the latter.) Also, consider your audience. An investment firm that sees hundreds of potential business plans a day may prefer to see a one-pager upfront and, if they’re interested, a longer plan later.

3. Write your company description

Every business plan needs a company description—aka a summary of the company’s purpose, what they do/offer, and what makes it unique. Company descriptions should be clear and concise, avoiding the use of jargon, Cobello says. Ideally, descriptions should be a few paragraphs at most.

4. Explain and show how the company will make money

A business plan should be centered around the company’s goals, and it should clearly explain how the company will generate revenue. To do this, Cobello recommends using actual numbers and details, as opposed to just projections.

For instance, if the company is already making money, show how much and at what cost (e.g. what was the net profit). If it hasn’t generated revenue yet, outline the plan for how it will—including what the product/service will cost to produce and how much it will cost the consumer.

5. Outline your marketing strategy

How will you promote the business? Through what channels will you be promoting it? How are you going to reach and appeal to your target market? The more specific and thorough you can be with your plans here, the better, Cobello says.

6. Explain how you’ll spend your funding

What will you do with the money you raise? What are the first steps you plan to take? As a founder, you want to instill confidence in your investors and show them that the instant you receive their money, you’ll be taking smart actions that grow the company.

7. Include supporting documents

Creating a business plan is in some ways akin to building a legal case, but for your business. “You want to tell a story, and to be as thorough as possible, while keeping your plan succinct, clear, interesting, and visually appealing,” Cobello says. “Supporting documents could include financial projects, a competitive analysis of the market you’re entering into, and even any licenses, patents, or permits you’ve secured.”

A business plan is an individualized document—it’s ultimately up to you what information to include and what story you tell. But above all, Cobello says, your business plan should have a clear focus and goal in mind, because everything else will build off this cornerstone.

“Many people don’t realize how important business plans are for the health of their company,” she says. “Set aside time to make this a priority for your business, and make sure to keep it updated as you grow.”

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Tax preparation company Intuit to lay off 1,800 as part of an AI-focused reorganization plan

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Tax preparation and financial software company Intuit announced an AI-focused reorganization plan Wednesday that includes laying off about 10% of its workforce.

The company behind QuickBooks and TurboTax said it was laying off 1,800 employees, but that it expects to hire at least that many in fiscal 2025 as it accelerates its focus on incorporating artificial intelligence into its products and services.

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In an email to employees, CEO Sasan Goodarzi said more than 1,000 of the layoffs were employees that were not meeting the company's elevated expectations.

Another 300 positions are being eliminated "to streamline work and reallocate resources toward key growth areas," the email said.

Mountain View, California-based Intuit will also close offices in Boise, Idaho and Edmonton in Alberta, Canada where more than 250 employees work. Some of those workers will transfer to new locations, the company said.

“The era of AI is one of the most significant technology shifts of our lifetime,” Goodarzi said in the opening of his email to staff. ”Companies that aren’t prepared to take advantage of this AI revolution will fall behind and, over time, will no longer exist.”

As for severance, Intuit said that all its laid off U.S. employees will get a minimum of 16 weeks of pay, plus two additional weeks for every year of service and “at least” six months of health insurance coverage. U.S. employees received 60 days notice of their termination, with a last day of Sept. 9.

In a regulatory filing, Intuit estimated the reorganization plan will incur between $250 million and $260 million in charges, mostly coming in its fiscal fourth quarter ending July 31.

Intuit shares fell 3.6% in morning trading to $626.29 per share.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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More From Forbes

Righting the path: increasing sustainability in building and construction to benefit businesses.

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Melissa Russell is the executive director of the IEEE Computer Society, a co-sponsor of the SustainTech Leadership Forum .

According to a March 2024 report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from building operations and construction soared to their highest points ever in 2022, making up 37% of total global CO2 emissions . In addition, the sector amassed 34% of global energy consumption for operational needs like heating and cooling, as well as energy for producing construction materials.

When one industry contributes so significantly to a global issue, it should become a priority for business leaders to address it. Yet, by the nature of the work, building and construction are consumers versus generators of natural resources. From the materials necessary to support the built environment to the energy expended in the development and maintenance of its infrastructure, these industries have historically had few ways to address sustainability.

Engineering For Change

But engineering ingenuity is evolving. Cities around the globe are finding creative ways to make sustainable buildings and construction more of a standard for their geographies. For instance, Tampere, Finland, has publicly shared plans to be carbon neutral in six years, with a detailed road map that outlines the path to success. And San Diego, CA, has a Climate Action Plan in place that includes a goal of phasing out 45% of natural gas usage in existing buildings.

However, it sometimes takes private-public partnerships to make an impact, and the companies who design solutions for the built environment have just as important a role to play. For instance, some governments focused on greener technology are seeking alternative means for heating and cooling, such as variable-capacity heat pumps (VCHPs) . Local officials may focus on encouraging businesses to ramp up their use of solar technologies and rainwater collection within buildings. Governments may even seek to provide guidance to building owners to better address energy waste. But I believe none of that can be accomplished without the support of efficient, cost-effective supplies from leading equipment manufacturers.

Best High-Yield Savings Accounts Of 2024

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I also believe that to fuel lasting change in the global built environment, the engineering community should convene to scope out what is technologically possible in the short term and what can be done on a longer horizon. Sustainability forums and events can be effective for this by acting as places where industry, academia and government representatives can have global discussions of how new research and technology advances can be applied to positively impact building and construction sustainability. (Full Disclosure: My organization runs such a sustainability forum, as do others.)

Whether seeking to decrease costs around sustainable products, create alternative supplies, increase energy efficiency of current systems or reimagine the future of buildings and construction, bringing this community together could result in breakthroughs for solutions that provide better environmental options, support social responsibility and mean good business at the same time.

Business Impacts

While investing in sustainability is just that—an investment—I have witnessed great examples of businesses seeing positive gains after embracing more sustainable practices. Here are a few efforts to consider adopting for your business to achieve the benefits of taking a more environmentally friendly stance.

• Plan for sustainability to cut costs.

According to an analysis from Deloitte , “Sustainable construction doesn’t necessarily have to be more expensive, especially when pricing strategies, program management, and environmental plans are incorporated from the beginning into the development process.” As you move into a more conscious approach to sustainability, you don’t need to retrofit existing elements; consider instead embracing solar panels, energy-efficient heating and cooling, rainwater collection for toilets and so on to better address the future state of "normal" in built environments. These elements can make for future spaces that incorporate more energy-efficient solutions.

• Make the sustainable choice, one element at a time.

It may sound counterintuitive, but shifting to a more environmentally friendly office space can also contribute to the bottom line. Even if your business needs to implement a phased approach to replacing existing systems with more sustainable solutions over time, studies show that investment can pay off: According to a survey from Dodge Data and Analytics , green building owners and investors see, on average, 10% lower operating costs in the first year and over 16% within five years.

But you don't have to swallow the ocean; start with a simple first step, perhaps using more energy-efficient light sources or reconfiguring heating and cooling to align with more energy-efficient practices. And as you need to replace existing infrastructure, make the investment in the most efficient solution available.

• Prioritize sustainability among corporate goals, and respond to customer demands.

A Q4 2023 survey from Honeywell found that sustainability leads all other corporate initiatives, with 75% of executives ranking it as a top priority. What’s more, 92% of organizations report having formal plans in place to track and report on their progress toward goals.

With such a structured emphasis on sustainability, businesses are demanding sustainable solutions. Why? Not only is it the socially responsible approach to take, but customers are insisting on it: Globally, 44% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a brand with a clear commitment to sustainability. In addition, a Harvard Business Review (subscription required) study found that "when Gen Z and Millennial customers believe a brand cares about its impact on people and the planet, they are 27% more likely to purchase it than older generations are—a clear measure of sustainability’s power to drive buying decisions in this group." Your future customers will likely expect your business to be environmentally focused, so making the change now can support your future growth.

Change On The Horizon

Of course, this sort of evolution occurs not instantaneously, but rather over time. With careful planning and development, businesses can chip away at environmental challenges. Factor in that "about 60% of the buildings that will exist by 2050 have not been built yet and 20% of existing building stock needs to be renovated to zero-carbon-ready by 2030," and global sustainability in the built environment seems much more attainable. Yet those time horizons signal one critical action for businesses: We should be evaluating today where we plan to be tomorrow, making progress toward carbon neutrality one sustainable effort at a time.

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How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Determined female African-American entrepreneur scaling a mountain while wearing a large backpack. Represents the journey to starting and growing a business and needi

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated May 7, 2024

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

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  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: 10 AI prompts you need to write a business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information to include in a business plan is sometimes not quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

There are plenty of great options available (we’ve rounded up our 8 favorites to streamline your search).

But, if you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template , you can get one right now; download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

Free business plan templates and examples

Kickstart your business plan writing with one of our free business plan templates or recommended tools.

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How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

Business model canvas: The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Check out LivePlan

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

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