The first steps in writing a business plan

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Writing a business plan is an art form. However, unlike the process of some artists, writing a business plan in a freeform kind of format is never a good idea. It is better to have a process that you follow. That is why I have personally developed my own process over the years. This process is the same one I use whether I am writing a business plan for a pre-revenue startup, designing a startup pitch deck, or writing a feasibility study for a multi-billion dollar publicly-traded company. There are a lot of steps in writing a business plan. The first one in my process is….

Determine the audience for the business plan.

My next step in writing a business plan is…

Come up with a list of key questions that your business plan should address.

That is why, as part of my own process development, I established a list of the common questions that need to be addressed in most business plans. The same is true for designing a pitch deck. There are common things that a pitch deck should address as well. Although due to the shortened length of a pitch deck addressing them all is difficult.

For each business plan I am going to write I list the questions out in a document and then I…

Make a bulleted list of the key findings and statements I need to include in the business plan.

  • Company
  • Where is the company headquartered? Dallas, Texas because the founder is from there and wants to stay in Dallas to give back to his company. Plus there are plenty of people with the necessary experience in and around Dallas
  • Is the company officially incorporated? Yes, the founder(s) determined, along with guidance from their attorney and accountant, that a limited liability company (L.L.C.) was the best structure for their purposes
  • Who owns shares in the business? The founder retains 80% of outstanding shares; 15% is held by the first investor in the business; the remaining outstanding shares are being held for key employees

As you can see, once I have answered all of the questions I had come up with there will be a lot of information already covered that you can then expand upon.

Those are the first steps to writing a business plan that I take.

If you’d like a copy of my business plan question template you can download that swipe file here.

I’m a former C-level banking exec. and 3x startup founder leading a corporate innovation/product team and have helped companies raise over $500M in funding.

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