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The most effective and simple business plan template for start-ups [or any business]

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Are you looking to start your own online business but don’t know where to start? We will review the basics of creating your very own business plan in 4 simple steps to get you going on your journey to becoming an entrepreneur.


A lean business plan is a 1 page document that is simple and helps with your on-going planning process. It is designed to be adjustable as you learn which strategies work best, more about your customers and their needs, and to keep track of your sales and marketing performance.


Why a lean plan and not a regular business plan? A regular business plan can be tedious and is usually prepared with the access to funding in mind. Therefore, a lot of the details are unnecessary if it is just for internal use. A lean plan is faster, it stays up to date and is concise. It is easily adaptable and can be easily implemented by your team members.


Regardless of the format you choose, every business plan should cover your strategy, tactics, schedule and business model.




Step 1: Planning your strategy

You should have clearly in your mind the following key components while planning your strategy: your business identity, your customers’ problem(s), your solution to their problem(s), the state of the market, and your competition.


Your business idea is who you are and what you do, as well as your unique selling proposition, or USP. This should be aligned to your mission and vision statements.


You should have a clear idea of your customers’ pain points. What are the problems that they have that you are trying to solve?


Then have a clear view of your solution to their problem(s) or pain point(s).


Next, you should do some market research. Then decide on a target customer, market segment and opportunities for growth.


Then finally, check out the competition. Know who they are, the customers they are targeting, what they are doing, their USP and how this differs from yours.


Step 2: Choose your tactics

Decide how you’re going to implement your strategies. Choose your sales channels. How will you deliver your product or services to your customers? Will it be online, in-store, or by home delivery?


Decide on your marketing activities. What are the best ways to reach your customers so they know about you and can find you?


Think about and decide on whether you need partners or external resources. These may include things such as trademarks and intellectual property, patents or licenses you must have, or associations you must join. Think of companies or individuals that you can partner with that can assist you in establishing your business.


Then choose your team strategically. It is not necessary to make everyone into a chief officer of something. Instead choose a team whose skills and talents are essential for growing your business.


Step 3: Schedule your deadlines - begin with the end in mind

Create your plan and schedule tasks that must be completed to reach your goals. Ensure that your goals are measurable, attainable and challenging. Also, think about the daily tasks that must be done to reach your goals. The best way to do this is to forget the goal and focus on the habits that must be done each day. For example, if your goal is a 30% increase in sales revenue in 6 months. Your daily habits for the next 6 months will focus on making 20 cold calls per day and making a list of potential clients to follow up with at the end of each week.


Set quarterly goals, as well as goals for one year, 3 years, 5 years or even 10 years. Have a vision of where you want your business to go from the start.


Step 4: Flesh out your business model

This involves your SWOT analysis and budget plans. In the SWOT outline your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. For your strengths consider your USP, what makes you different from the competition? What gives you an edge? Consider your weaknesses. This could be about your resources, experience, personal shortcomings or the size of your company.


Your strengths and weaknesses are within your control so you should spend more time fleshing these out than the opportunities and threats which are external to you and where you have limited control. When analysing opportunities think about current trends that are popular, and brainstorm possible solutions to the pain points people are facing. Then study the competition, and make contingency plans or concessions for other factors, such as the economic and social climate. The PESTLE Analysis is a useful tool for this process.


Your budget plan should be monthly, at least for the first year. You should analyse your budget on a quarterly and an annual basis to see if you’re hitting your targets or falling short, and make the necessary adjustments. Your budget should include salaries for employees, rent, marketing, utilities, insurance, licenses or training, and any other resources you use for your business. And it should include not just monthly expenses but one-time purchases as well.


And that’s it! Now you can get started on your very own lean business plan. If you need more help with creating your lean business plan, click this link to watch a lean business plan tutorial. Feel free to comment and let us know how this has helped you.


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About the Author

Taneallea Feddis,

Founder/Managing Director, BlackWall Consultants

She is an educator, website designer and content marketer.​ She helps entrepreneurs develop their business through coaching and developing their digital strategy. She is passionate about teaching new skills to others, and her goal is to encourage and assist Caribbean businesses with their digital transformation and sharing in their success stories. Click here to learn more about Taneallea Feddis.

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