Four Key Elements in an Abbreviated Business Plan

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Do you hear the phrase “business plan” and automatically groan? Me, too. There is so much pressure around business plans — whether you need one, what it needs to include, how it should be formatted, etc. Whether you’re starting a web design business or some other new venture, the term “business plan” can have a horrible connotation and instill fear and overwhelm into anyone. I’m not going to say that business plans don’t have value because they can be one of the most powerful tools to have when you’re starting a business or new venture. But if you’re not seeking financial support, planning to incorporate, working with multiple partners or pitching a joint venture, you don’t necessarily need a formal, structured business plan. In fact, you can get started with a business plan in the time it takes you to read this post. Grab a piece of paper and jot down some notes as you read and you’ll be on your way to creating a much less scary but possibly equally effective planning document. Here’s what your abbreviated business plan should include.

Mission Statement

A mission statement explains the purpose of your business. It should be short and to the point, and focus on the goals of your initiative. You know you have an effective mission statement if it answers the question: “Why are you starting this business or venture?” For example, the Coca Cola Company’s mission is: to refresh the world; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness; to create value and make a difference.

Goals

You probably have goals for your new venture, but until you have them in black and white and run them through the SMART test
by checking that they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound, it’s hard to figure out what you need to do to achieve your goals. It’s a good idea to set goals that span the short-term and the long-term (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, etc.). An example goal could be to have seven ongoing clients and make $XXXX/month by six months after the business launches.

Strategies

Strategies outline what needs to happen in order to make your goals a reality. How are you going to build your business over time so you can reach your short-term and long-term goals? Your strategies for gaining seven clients in six months could be to send letters to contacts, execute a social media marketing plan, ask for referrals, provide an exceptional experience for your clients through high quality work and great customer service.

Money, Money, Money

Money is a big part of your business planning, and without a business budget you will likely struggle to become and stay profitable. First, you’ll want to consider the startup expenses — what will it cost to start your new venture?  Then, outline the ongoing costs of running your business. Compare these numbers to your anticipate income as well as future income streams, and figure out what you need to do to make your business profitable.

What’s missing here?

There is one huge chunk missing from this abbreviated business plan — marketing. Marketing is such a significant part of your planning process that you can’t take the same shortcuts to fit it into your short business plan. But you can follow a similar process and focus on some key elements to create a non-overwhelming and very useful marketing plan. Stay tuned for my next post which will walk you thorough an abbreviated marketing plan
. Image credit: svilen001

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Abbreviated Business Plans

What is an Abbreviated Business Plan?

An abbreviated business plan is a condensed version of a full business plan. It typically includes the key elements of your business such as the business concept, financial features, financial requirements, current business position, and major achievements. This type of plan is often used for internal purposes or to provide a brief overview to potential investors or lenders.

How does an Abbreviated Business Plan differ from a Full Business Plan?

While a full business plan provides a detailed description of the business, including its structure, marketing strategy, competitive analysis, and financial projections, an abbreviated business plan focuses on the key elements. It’s a shorter, more concise document that provides a snapshot of the business, making it easier for readers to understand the business concept and its potential for success.

What are the key elements of an Abbreviated Business Plan?

The key elements of an abbreviated business plan typically include the business concept, financial features, financial requirements, current business position, and major achievements. These elements provide a clear and concise overview of the business and its potential for success.

Why is an Abbreviated Business Plan important?

An abbreviated business plan is important because it provides a quick and easy way for potential investors, lenders, or partners to understand your business. It can also be a useful tool for internal planning and decision-making.

How to write an effective Abbreviated Business Plan?

To write an effective abbreviated business plan, start by clearly defining your business concept. Then, outline the financial features and requirements of your business. Include information about your current business position and any major achievements. Keep the plan concise and focused, and make sure it provides a clear picture of your business and its potential for success.

Can an Abbreviated Business Plan be used for funding purposes?

Yes, an abbreviated business plan can be used for funding purposes. However, it’s important to note that some investors or lenders may require a full business plan for a more detailed understanding of your business.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing an Abbreviated Business Plan?

Some common mistakes to avoid when writing an abbreviated business plan include being too vague, not including enough detail, and not clearly defining the business concept. It’s also important to avoid making unrealistic financial projections or assumptions.

How long should an Abbreviated Business Plan be?

There’s no set length for an abbreviated business plan, but it should be concise and focused. Typically, it might range from 5 to 10 pages, depending on the complexity of the business.

What should be the focus of an Abbreviated Business Plan?

The focus of an abbreviated business plan should be on the key elements of your business. This includes the business concept, financial features, financial requirements, current business position, and major achievements.

How often should an Abbreviated Business Plan be updated?

An abbreviated business plan should be updated regularly to reflect changes in your business or market conditions. This could be annually, semi-annually, or even quarterly, depending on the nature of your business.

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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