How to create a startup business plan
Launching a new business is an exciting time – so, it’s understandable if you feel tempted to skip all the planning stages and dive straight into running your startup. However tempting that might be, taking time to carefully consider the foundations of your business first is essential to ensuring it gives your venture the best start possible. With that in mind, the experts at Oxygen Graphics have put together this guide to help you put together a robust startup business plan.
What is a business plan?
In short, your startup business plan should be a document that provides the details about your business, including your objectives, missions and values, as well as long and short-term goals. It will shape a strategy that enables you to launch and manage your startup business.
You might also choose to present your business plan to potential investors to encourage them to invest or reassure them that you are taking your startup seriously – so it’s important to spend time working on it.
It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t create your business plan, file it and never open it again. Your business plan should be a regular point of reference, not only when you launch your startup but as your company continues to grow.
Business plan structure
Your business plan needs to be easy to read, organised and professional, so we advise breaking it down using sub-headings.
How to create a startup business plan
Start with the basics: your vision, mission, values and goals
Creating a business plan might seem overwhelming, so start with the basics. Consider the following questions:
- Who are you and what is your role?
- What do you want from your business?
- Why does your startup exist?
- Who will your business target?
- How will it make money?
By answering the above questions, you’ll be in a strong position to set the direction of your business.
Name your business
Your business name will be what you’re called. Here are a few things to consider when picking the name of your startup:
- Check that your name is available – you can do this by carrying out a simple search online yourself
- Make sure your business name is unique
- Explore your competition for inspiration
- Ensure your business name is memorable
- Refrain from using tricky spellings
- Ask your family and friends for their opinion on your name ideas
- Check that the domain name is available – this will be your website URL and should contain your name.
If you are working with a creative agency to launch your startup brand, then they will be able to assist and advise you with any of the above if you’re struggling.
Write a company description
Use this section to summarise:
- Your mission, vision and goals
- The culture you want your business to adopt
- Your business model, including what products you will sell or services offered.
Who will work in your business? Who will lead your startup and who will manage day-to-day operations? Here, you should also state what type of business you will be, for example:
- Limited company
- Sole trader
- Incorporated company
Analyse the market
Do your market research and analyse your findings. Look at your competition and the industry, as well as current trends – and highlight any gaps in the market and opportunities there are for your startup business.
Our advice would be to avoid using your family and friends when conducting market research. Although this might be an easy option, you want unbiased feedback.
Consider how your business will run. You’ve already planned your staff structure, it’s time to think about:
- Location – where will you be based? Will you have a business premises or will you and your staff work from home?
- IT – do you need any additional IT support and/or equipment?
- Legalities and/or safety requirements – are there any industry-specific requirements your business will need, for example, if you are in catering you will need a food hygiene certificate
- Insurance – what insurance does your business need?
Funding and finances
How will your business be funded? Do you need investors? What are the risks involved and how will you manage those risks? Do you have an exit strategy?
Try your best to be realistic about your finances. And if you can, try and forecast for the first year, outlining your anticipated profits and losses.
Branding and marketing
Now for the fun stuff! By the time you’ve got to this stage of your startup business plan, you should have a good idea of what direction you want your venture to take. So, now it’s time to get creative.
- Consider your key messaging
- What type of logo do you want?
- Think about using typography and images to reflect the identity of your startup
- What colour scheme do you want to use?
- What emotions do you want to evoke in your customers?
- How will you reach your target audience?
- What type of website will you have?
- What marketing platforms will you use (these will be shaped around your target audience)?
- What collateral will you need to launch your startup – print and/or digital – including the likes of business cards and leaflets.
- What marketing techniques will you prioritise? For example, search engine optimisation (SEO) or paid advertising.
When launching a startup business, we would always advise utilising industry experts wherever possible. Trying to take on every single task yourself is hugely time-consuming, especially when it comes to the branding and marketing of your business. Instead, reach out to Oxygen Graphics. Just like the need to develop a well-thought-out business plan, you might want to consider working with a creative agency to produce a marketing strategy.
As an experienced team of creatives, our team at Oxygen Graphics will be able to seamlessly guide you through the branding and marketing process, to ensure you’ve ticked all the boxes ahead of launching your startup.
Create the executive summary
The executive summary should appear at the top of your business plan but should be the last thing that you write. Think of the executive summary as an introduction that acts as an overview of your business plan. It should be no more than one-to-two sentences.
Are you launching a startup business?
By following this basic guide and considering the fundamentals ahead of launching, you’re sure to give your startup business the best possible chance for success.
But don’t go at it alone. Starting a business can seem overwhelming, especially if it’s a completely new experience. Instead, get in touch with the experts at Oxygen Graphics. Our friendly team have years of experience supporting startup businesses through every step of the launch process and beyond. Get in touch today to discuss your startup business.