Business Model

In general, a business model describes the rationale of how a company creates and delivers value to its customers. Get started with your next business model by using this sample template.

Value Proposition

What is your company’s value proposition? More importantly, how will you deliver that value to your customer base? Focus on strategies that distinguish your product offeringin your market. What do your customers want most and how best can your business deliver that to them?

Customer Segments

Segmenting your customer base is an essential part of identifying your venture’s critical sales channels. Focus on key demographics, age groups, ethnicities and genders in order to segregate your customer base. From this exercise you should be able to distinguish between those customers that your enterprise deems to be the most important and essential to growing your market.

Channels

Once you’ve segmented your customer base, you’ll now have to decide upon those aforementioned channels to market. This may ultimately force you to use multiple channels. For instance, you may opt to sell direct to end-users for some product lines, while using sales agents and distributors for others.

Customer Partnerships

What do your customers expect from you in terms of servicing and maintaining their business? Can your enterprise bundle special services with your product offering that might help to set it apart from its competition? Move away from seeing sales as a series of singular transactions where you try and maximize gross profit on each additional sale. Instead, see your customers as potential partners and define what it takes to retain their business for the long-term.

Revenue Streams

Define your company’s revenue streams. Will you only derive revenue on sales of a given product line, or will you charge for essential services such as delivery and special packaging? Approach this step with the mindset of your customer segments. What are your customers willing to spend in order to benefit from your enterprise’s value proposition?

Key Resources

What resources must your company acquire or secure in order to attain its value proposition? Your venture’s resources can be its business knowledge, its core competencies, its management, its employees, or even its physical assets, such as equipment and machinery. What resources does your venture require in order to achieve your value proposition?

Key Activities

What activities or operations are essential to growing your business? Think of those business activities that your enterprise must excel at in order to meet its value proposition. Think of the importance of a well-defined supply chain, one where vendors are properly aligned and can immediately turn around raw materials and parts. Think of the importance of having solid partnerships with creditors and investors.

Key Partnerships

Who are the venture’s main stakeholders, and of those stakeholders, who are the most valued partners? When looking to define your venture’s stakeholders, look to isolate those strategic partnerships so vital to your venture’s success and ones that are essential in mitigating risk. Focus on key investors, suppliers and creditors. Next, define their relationship to your enterprise and their appropriate roles and responsibilities.

Cost Structure

In this step you’ll define your company’s cost structure relative to your value proposition. What costs are essential to manage in order to deliver your value proposition? How best can you manage these costs in order to derive the greatest return? Focus on segregating those resources and activities where you’ll need to have strong cost controls. Lower costs means these activities will bear fruit earlier in the process.

Financials

The Lean Startup Business Plan

The offer to target customers

What does your product and/or service do? What benefits make your offer unique, or just different? What will motivate customers to switch to your product and/or service? How would you describe a typical customer for your product and/or service? How would you describe a group(s) of target customers?

The market potential

What is the market potential for your product and/or service? Is the market growing, staying the same, or declining? How many competitors are there? How will you compete (e.g. faster service, more convenient etc.)? What sales can you realistically achieve in the first 6 months? First year?

Reaching target customers

Which route(s) to access your target customers will you use e.g. website, shop etc. What promotional methods will you use (e.g. email, social media, advertising etc.)?

Provision of product and/or service

What resources do you need to get started – premises, equipment, machinery etc.? What is the key function in your business (e.g. scheduling drivers to collect and deliver parcels)? How much could you provide in total (hours available and/or maximum production)? Who will be your suppliers and/or subcontractors?

The team

What relevant skills and experience do you have? Who will be responsible for what in your business? What skills and experience do other team members bring? Who will act as your Mentor/Adviser?

Simple financials

Will it break-even? What is your own financial contribution to the business? Is there any additional funding needed? Where will this come from (e.g. owners, friends, family, bank, business angels, venture capital) What will these funds be used for?

Business Marketing Plan

By definition, a marketing plan is a written document that details the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives. Here’s a sample template to get started with your next marketing plan.

Target Market

Identify your target market. Take time to research the demographics (age, gender, geographic location and household income) as well as the psychographics (buying habits, beliefs, and culture characteristics) of your customer base. Establish numbers of potential customers in your service area based on those criteria.

Objectives

Establish objectives. What do you hope to accomplish through your marketing? Be specific. “Increase sales” is too general to be helpful, but “Increase sales by 10% by the end of Q2” is both specific and measurable.

Strategies

Define strategies. These are the methods that you will use to accomplish your objectives. A strategy can be a broad overview, such as “Utilize social media” or “Implement e-mail campaign.” There are dozens of different strategies that can be employed for any given goal, so it may take some time and research to determine those that will help you accomplish your objectives.

Tactics

List your tactics. Tactics will be the specific methods within your strategy that will help you accomplish your goals. Working from the social media strategy already mentioned, you might list, say, “Offer exclusive coupons via Facebook and Twitter”


Metrics

Establish metrics. In order to determine if your objective has been met, you will need to establish a benchmark for tracking your success. This can be the number of new Facebook friends, the response rate of your direct mail campaign, or the number or dollar amount of sales from new customers.


Return on Investment

Before you implement any strategy or tactic, it is important to calculate the cost of a campaign and the income that is required to break even. When possible, you will want to use figures that relate to the metrics you established above.