The Modern Business Plan

It’s not clear to me why business plans are the way they are, but they’re often misused to confuse, bore and show an ability to comply with expectations.
If I want the real truth about a business and where it’s going, I’d rather see something else.
I’d divide the modern business plan into five sections:

1) The Truth

The truth section describes the world as it is.
Tell me about the market you are entering, the needs that already exist, the competitors in your space, technology standards, the way others have succeeded and failed in the past.

Tell me specific details, ground knowledge, stories which will help me get a clear idea about the competitive landscape.
The point of this section is to be sure that you’re clear about the way you see the world, and that you and I agree on your assumptions.

This section takes no positions, it just states how things are. You can use detailed competitive analysis or spreadsheets.
But I want to know the truth.

2) How you want to change the world

This is where you describe how you are going to change the world or what specific problem you intend to solve. How much money you will need and how your customers are going to respond.

This is the heart of the modern business plan. The only reason to launch a project is to change something, and I want to know what you’re going to do and what impact it’s going to have.

3) Your Plan B

You also know that above plan may not work out. You will miss the deadlines and sales targets. Your budgets will fly out of window.

This section tells me what you’ll do if that happens.
What is your plan B ? How much flexibility does your product or team have? If your original plan does not work, is it all over ?

4) Who is in your team ?

I want to know who is going to join your team. ‘Who’ doesn’t mean their resume, who means their attitudes and abilities and track record in sales, marketing and finance.

5) How much money you will need ?

And the last section is all about money. How much do you need, how will you spend it, what does cash flow look like, P&Ls, balance sheets, margins and exit strategies.

There is only one problem.
Your local VC might not like this format and funds may not come your way soon.
A small price to pay.

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Hemant Mishrra

About the author: Hemant is the Founder & CEO of branding and marketing firm “Neeti Brand Accelerator” in Mumbai. He is a brand strategist and has worked with more than 150 brands during last two decades. He is also mentor and coach to SMEs and startups. You can visit the website You can contact him at

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