What you need for a startup business plan

Monday we talked about how you don’t need what some might think of as a standard startup business plan when sharing your idea with investors. 
 
So, if you aren’t going to waste their time on a 50-page startup business plan, what are investors really looking for in terms of written documentation?

What you need for a startup business plan

When I work with a startup I have them prepare three different documents as part of their startup business plan.

Investor pitch deck 

This is a 10-15 slide presentation where you will be summarizing the key information an investor needs to understand your startup. It often includes things like the pain point you are trying to solve in the marketplace, the size of the market, how your solution works, the team behind your idea and more.
 
Each slide is largely made up of graphics with very little text. This format really forces you to be able to communicate your idea in a compact, concise way.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is similar to a pitch deck in the information it provides. However, it is usually in the format of a one-page text-heavy document. 
 
Like a pitch deck, an executive summary forces you to be concise in your explanation of the opportunity.

Projections

Both the investor pitch deck and executive summary should have some level of financial projections included on them.
 
Projections are typically forecasting your opportunity for revenue, and expenses, over the upcoming 12 months and then further broken down by yearly estimates. The allow the investor to gauge what the growth potential of your idea is and also estimate how quickly the investor might recoup or earn a gain on their investment.
 
One thing to keep in mind with projections is that they are an estimate of potential revenue. However, with some research, you should be able to look at companies similar to yours and see what kind of growth rates they were able to achieve. Of course, remember that their circumstances could have been different.

Your turn

As a startup founder, or investor, is there one of these pieces of a startup business plan that you put more focus on?
 
Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below so we can all learn.

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