How to create a simple business plan

Contributor - Alan Gleeson

Man in a brown hoodie showing his business plan to a potential investor

Business planning is an essential step for any budding entrepreneur. Creating a simple business plan helps you assess whether your business idea is viable and sets out how you are going to achieve your dream of starting a business

Writing a simple business plan allows you to detail what your business will do, how you will do it and address any possible hurdles you will need to cross. A failure to plan can lead to expensive mistakes - and could mean your business never successfully gets off the ground. Alan Gleeson answers our questions on creating a simple business plan below.

What is a simple business plan?

A simple business plan is a business plan typically produced by small, start up businesses. You write your business plan as normal but you reduce the breadth of content in certain sections of your business plan.

Why would I write a simple business plan?

Simple business plans are appropriate when there are a lot of unknowns or when you are still at the idea creation stage. At this point you might not want to invest significant time and resources in a full-blown business plan but are looking to produce a business plan that will enable you to forward it to interested parties for further consideration. Once you have received feedback you can then proceed with a full-blown business plan.

What sections does a simple business plan contain?

The simple business plan contains much of the same content of a standard business plan but certain sections can be put on hold. For example, the cash flow statement and balance sheet sections can be skipped and a greater emphasis can be placed on the idea, the market opportunity, the likely demand and the routes to market.

What is the point of a simple business plan?

One frequent problem entrepreneurs have is that they can keep ideas ‘in their head‘ rather than commit them to paper. However, ideas are practically worthless when they relate to a product or service in isolation (or without providing a market and commercial context). By producing a simple business plan, the entrepreneur is taking the next step towards their idea reaching fruition.  A simple business plan will ensure that there is a holistic view of the business opportunity and an assessment of whether it is commercially viable or not.

How do I create a simple business plan?

You can write a simple business plan from scratch paring back some of the content you might include in a full business plan. If you are unsure where to start, there are plenty of free and subscription business plan templates you can use.

Business Plan Pro has the option of a simple business plan built in. The benefit of this is the number of tasks you need to undertake is reduced from the number needed to produce a standard business plan.

Written with thanks to Alan Gleeson, SaaS marketing consultant

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Alan Gleeson

Alan has an MBA from Oxford University and an MSc from University College Cork, Ireland.

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