Having consulted many startups and businesses on pitch design, I've been asked this question countless times: "Do I need a business plan?", this might seem like self sabotage (considering I work on presentation design) but the truth is, you really don't need one and more often than not, it's a waste of time.
Before jumping down my throat, hear me out. There are exceptions to this where a business plan is absolutely necessary and that only applies to ongoing businesses that require external funding or reporting. Other than that, you're better off spending your time concentrating on your MVP. "But the biggest names in tech had amazing business plans and pitches. Should I follow in their footsteps?", you don't have to and here's why.
Business plans come with goals that you put in place based on the current marketplace. Being in a fast paced online market, things change in a blink of an eye. Whatever is trending today might easily be replaced by something more innovative in a couple of months. Look at the consumer electronics industry and you'll know how quickly evolution begins. Your first goal here is to create your MVP and have it go to market as soon as possible. Sitting on it and coming up with the perfect pitch will only slow you down.
While competitive analysis can be done to form an educated estimate or forecast of how things will be, that data is not formalized in trial and error. If your offering is supposed to give a better solution to a problem that isn't properly answered right now, the data you collect might be skewed. There'll also be a lot of blank spaces that can only be hypothetical assumptions. Your time is better spent working on your MVP and to test it out in the market as soon as possible.
Ouch! This is a huge bummer but it's true. If you're not seeking investors or funding, who would want to read your business plan? Would you want to have your team read it out loud each morning like a mantra for success? Do you want your family and friends to pat you on the back for designing a well crafted presentation? If neither of these scenarios are appealing or what you have in mind, skip the business plan.
You should already know what needs to be done and have your roadmap in place. Plan your MVP, figure out how you want to position yourself in the market and start putting your product in front of your target audience. That's how you'll get the results and data you need to understand what needs to be done to take you to the next level in 1 or even 5 years.
Now that we have this figured out, let's get to it and start working on your dreams today. If you're actually planning to look for investors and need a business plan, there are many great examples to choose from. Experts will give you all kinds of advice on what needs to be included. We've compiled a quick guide ourselves at Mad Creative Beanstalk. If a stock template isn't enough and you want to take it to the next level, let us know.