Business plans have been used for decades. They are tools for thinking through and analyzing your business (startup or when growing) prior to completing or updating a business plan.
Thinking and analyzing is the key rather than the format (until you sit in front of a banker with a business plan).
Effective formats include: Business Model Canvas; One Page Business Pitch; SWOT Analysis; and Business Feasibility Analysis.
Template and Information for the Business Model Canvas can be found at strategyzer.com, enter your email address, download template.
Template and information for the One Page Business Pitch can be found at BPlans.com, Download link, enter your email address, One Page Business Pitch link.
SWOT Analysis detailed in SCORE Brief 4.59.
Business Feasibility Analysis detailed in SCORE Brief 4.15.
Business Model Canvas and One Page Pitch are similar, with the latter being a simpler, acceptable approach for many startups. Both emphasize understanding your customers’ needs and satisfying these needs while still potentially making a profit.
SWOT Analysis compares your business' strengths and weaknesses to what the market provides as opportunities and threats.
Business Feasibility Analysis is a detailed financial approach to determine whether you may be profitable (or need to change things to be profitable). For a startup you will need to make conservative ballpark assumptions for the input information.
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