Is your business designed to sell? In this S.M.A.R.T Business Plan Template, I’m going to help you get your company growing the way you want it to right from the start.
I want you to ask yourself these questions, would you ever try to travel somewhere you’ve never been without a map or a GPS?
How successful would you be in getting there? Or would you try to bake a cake without a recipe if you’ve never baked a cake before? How successful would you be at making that cake? Now, would you try to start a business without a real business plan? Not just an idea for a business, but a real mapped out and written down plan. How successful do you think you would be?
Don’t Start a Business without an End Game
Countless business owners start a company with nothing more than one of these phrases. “I just want to share my gift with the world” or “I’m going to start an online drop shipping store” or perhaps worst of all, “Well, I’ve already got some people willing to pay me to do this. So, I may as well start a business.”
It can take less than one hour to create a very simple business plan. The act of doing it will help you secure partnerships, funding, and a clear path to sustainable business growth. There are two types of business plans you would want to create. The first is an internal business plan and the second is an external business plan.
Two Business Plans; One Business
An internal plan is the action steps you need to take to get the successful profitable business you want. An external plan is how you communicate your business idea with others in a way they’d want to be a part of, help it grow, give you a finance partner, or become a very good employee. You need both of these plans if you want the best chance of success.
The best part is they don’t cost anything to create, you just sit down and map them out. I’ve created a template and a blueprint for both of them. I’m going to walk you through the external business plan first because it’s the one that most people tend to start with. For the external business plan, you can fill in the blanks in a document I’ve created and reword it slightly for your business.
The External Business Plan
First, you start with an outline of the product and then the name of your company. As you fill in the blanks, you either create for, provide or sell to your avatar within industry location, a product that gives a result. And then if you see from the key, it breaks it down.
So, where it says “name of the company” in the blank, you’re just going to fill in the name of your company, where it says avatar, you’re going to write down the demographic that your product or service is targeted for. You want to make sure your avatar is as specific as possible. An example of that would be, a woman aged 25 to 45 living in major cities in America, working in tech, and earning $75,000 or more.
The full avatar is going to have an age range and you want to be within 20 years. It’s ideally going to have a sexual orientation or if you are aiming at people that are non-gender binary, that’s fine, but make sure you specify that living in major cities or rural areas, or even in a specific city. Then write what industry they work in and how much they earn.
Create Your Customer Avatar
In our company, our avatars go even deeper. We write down what they consume, absolutely everything. This lets people know from the beginning you know who your customer is. In the area that says “product”, you’re going to put a description of the product or service that you’re going to be providing. A short description of exactly what the product is, and we’ll go into depth a bit later on.
Then you need a result, which is similar to the kind of result that somebody can expect. For example, if I were to plug my own company in, it would be;
“The S.M.A.R.T Blueprint provides entrepreneurs who are starting their business for the first time, typically aged between 28 to 48, living in major cities in America a full solution of a step-by-step plan on how to start a business and make it profitable. Right from the very beginning, even if they already have a busy schedule or a job. It gives them a company that can grow year on year reliably that’ll be an asset for the future, or can even be sold as an investment opportunity.”
It’s very specific so from the very beginning. People know if I join the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, I’m going to have a business that’ll be able to run as a side hustle initially. It’s going to grow and scale reliably because I’m going to get all the tools I need. I can just copy and paste it, and long as I follow everything, I will have a successful business. It’s going to last and it’s going to be profitable right from the beginning.
Business Executive Summary
Then you go on to the next section, which is the executive summary. The executive summary is a deep dive into what you’re going to be doing. It could be, “we plan on capitalizing on the timely opportunity to provide a result summary to an avatar summary, that evidence of social demand. We believe that due to a financial opportunity and a development in a technical opportunity, there is a clear chance for us to rapidly become a leader in a niche.”
Now you’re going to notice there are some key components here. There’s a timely opportunity and there are several reasons why somebody wants to work with you. These reasons will either be based on why it’s a great opportunity right now. For instance, it’s a timing window.
Another reason to work with you will be because there’s a lot of social pressure or a financial opportunity or a technical opportunity. So, we want to make sure we cover all four, that way, if the person who’s going to support you has a very data-driven mindset about money, we can put down the financial opportunities so that it appeals to that nature.
On the other hand, we might be dealing with somebody who cares more about social media trends. So we want to make sure we talk about that. Essentially, in the Executive Summary, we want to make sure that no matter how somebody needs to be sold on your idea, they will get sold your idea. We also want to talk about why right now is the time for them to take action.
An Example from My Business
For example, in an executive summary for the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, we plan on capitalizing on the fact that artificial intelligence is coming. So, the time and opportunity for us when we talk about artificial intelligence within the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, which is a key factor that can help people. It’s very timely because artificial intelligence is a new emerging technology. We don’t have to make this a big feature of the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, but by using artificial intelligence, you can be a lot more productive, providing a reliable business the opportunity to work less and still be profitable.
That’s the result summary would be, it’s less effort for more money.
The Avatar Summary
Now, to provide an Avatar summary, which in our case it would be to young entrepreneurs in major cities in America. We give a summary version of what we said before, and then provide the evidence of the social demand that appeals to a growing demand of entrepreneurs who want to work from home as a result of the pandemic of 2020.
There are a lot of people that don’t want to go back to their jobs and want to start their own business, but they don’t know how to do it. They don’t have a business degree, but the social demand is there are more people now than ever trying to start OnlyFans or trying to start Twitch live streams, etc. They’re all trying to make money but they don’t know how the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint fulfills that hole and teaches people a simple way to start a business.
Does Your Business have Financial Opportunity?
When we talk about financial opportunity, we believe that because people have a small amount of residual income left over from the businesses they’ve tried starting, they’ve got a little bit of extra capital.
The affordability of the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, which starts at $300 we developed our website templates that we give people. You could pay for Click Funnels which is $300 a month, but inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, we give people templates to use for free.
We believe that due to the financial opportunity and development in the technical opportunity that we created, the artificial intelligence, and the templates that we give people, there’s a clear chance for us to rapidly become a leader in the startup business space.
That’s a simple breakdown of how we would do angle our financial opportunity. What this does is it lets you and everybody else know that you’ve thought about the opportunity and you’re capitalizing on it which will help a bank, investor, or business partner get sold on the idea.
The Inglorious Part of Business
I know this is not the glorious part about business, but this is some of the most important stuff. If you take an hour to write this out, you’re going to have banks lend you money, business partners are going to want to work with you. Everything’s just better.
The Unique Selling Proposition
Now we move on to the unique selling proposition. The unique selling proposition is how you’re going to differentiate yourself from the competition. How do we differentiate ourselves from the competition? By focusing on area one and area two, to provide a benefit of the areas combined to customers looking for an alternative to anything currently out on the market.
If you’re looking in the key here, you’ll see that essentially there are only four different ways.
To differentiate yourself from the competitors, you can be cost-effective, which is basically cheaper than everyone else.
You can have a fast service, so we’re going to move faster than anyone else.
You can have a higher quality, which is a lot of attention to detail, but often becomes too expensive.
Or you can be cutting edge, which means we’re brand new.
These are the four different options and what you want to do is pick two of these and specialize in them and not worry about the others.
Pick Two – Not All Four: It’s Not Possible
It’s impossible to be cheap, fast, high quality, and brand new. You won’t be able to nail all four. In fact, nailing any three would be difficult, but two of them will really give you what’s called a unique selling proposition, why you are different from everybody else.
Take the time and think, what are we going to do to differentiate ourselves?
What’s cool is if you think of the two that nobody else is providing, there’s a real winner there. For us in our company, it’s cost-effective and it’s high quality. These are the two that we go for. We go for cheap and high quality. What we don’t do is fast service or cutting edge. What that means is, in our company we’ve made this affordable and we’ve made sure that we’ve got a lot of attention to detail, without being on the verge of all the most emerging technologies.
Unique Selling Proposition of The SMART Blueprint
For example, inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, we don’t have a strategy for using TikTok. We like things to be more formed first before we start teaching them. So, while there is somebody who’s going to jump on the bandwagon and say, “this is the latest thing that you can do with this new social media site.” That’s not us. We don’t want to be that cutting edge. We rather use tried and tested things.
Likewise, we don’t care about fast services. What that means is if you join the program and send an email about one of the topics, and you want some more clarification, in this program, you’re not going to get that kind of support.
We will help you, but you’re not going to get it straight away. We’re going to refer you to somebody who will help with that particular problem. However, in return, we’ve managed to make it affordable for $300 a month to get started. It’s very cheap but it does have a cap, it’s not $300 forever, it’s just 10 payments.
We’ve also gone for high quality. We’ve made sure that we brought in the best speakers, the best programs, and things we know work.
We’re giving you high quality and we’re giving you cost-effective. They’re the two things that we focus on and we know that nobody else is doing that. Other people are pumping out quickly, people that are using, “you can phone me anytime you need help.”
We do have programs like that, but it’s a different program, not this one. This program focuses on those areas and it lets us stand out from the ground and are a little bit different.
Now, in the benefit of the areas, you’re going to explain why these two areas are better. For example, if I wrote this down it would be, “we would differentiate ourselves from the competition by focusing on providing a cost-effective solution that is still high quality. To provide customers looking for an alternative to anything else that’s coming in the market a guaranteed result that our clients can afford.” So, a guaranteed result that’s affordable, which to me I think are the two most important things for this particular brand.
Principal Members of Your Business
Next, we’re going to talk about the principal members of the company. These are CEO, operations, marketing, sales, technology, and financials. They are the six core departments in any company. You have to have these covered to have a successful business.
If you are the person in charge of multiple departments when you launch a business, it might be you being all six. You might have to be the CEO, sales and marketing, and that’s okay. If some of the departments are run by outsourced agencies rather than your own company, for example, you probably won’t start with an internal financial person, unless that’s your expertise. You’re probably going to have a CPA for that, so you put that there so you know, this is who we’re going to use.
At a glance, you might say we’ve got all the bases covered. We know who’s the visionary, the CEO. We know who’s in charge of operations, making sure people do their job. We know who’s doing marketing, who’s doing sales, etc. You may want to show someone that you have all six bases covered right from the beginning and that this person knows what they’re doing.
The Legal Structure of a Business
Next, we have the legal structure which some people may choose to be sole proprietors. It does pay to put the time in to do it properly. So, it’s going to be – Legal structure, the name of the company is whatever the legal entity is incorporated in wherever the location is. A good example would be “The S.M.A.R.T Blueprint is an LLC incorporated in Texas.” This makes it very simple and the banks say you’ve actually taken the time to create this correctly.
Market Analysis of Your Business
This next one’s big, and it is the market analysis. This is a breakdown of your current three biggest competitors within the industry and how they differentiate themselves from one another. The first one’s “their unique selling proposition is “x”, the second one is “x”, and the third one is “x”.
With a total market size of, then you write down the maximum current market size. No one currently provides a service or product that fulfills both area one and area two that I listed above.
We have a unique opportunity to capitalize on our research which shows that the percentage of people out of the full market size, want your service and are looking for a service or product that matches our unique selling proposition. We have a current list of buyers and this percent of potential customers to sell our product to.”
Competitors to The SMART Blueprint
What’s interesting is when you look at who your three biggest competitors are, you’re going to write them down and you’re going to think about how they differentiate themselves. For example, I might put, our three biggest competitors within the industry are ClickFunnels whose unique selling proposition is that they have a piece of software that lets you design a funnel, but they have no actual business advice.
The next one might be Digital Marketer which has a lot of different solutions, but their primary solution, Digital Marketer Labs is a subscription service where you pay forever. Some people don’t want to have ongoing payments forever and information can be too much it’s overwhelming.
Then the third one could be, Grant Cardone which focuses on selling and gimmicks as opposed to properly structuring the business correctly.
What is the total market size available to your business?
So, we’ll write down what they are and then we’ll say “a total market size of, and I’ll list how many business owners there are. We did that earlier and it was 31.7 million business owners in America. Meaning we already know that there are 31.7 million people that might want to buy the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint.
No one currently provides a service or product that fulfills both an affordable rate that doesn’t charge you forever and a high-quality product focused on the things that people need to get their business to where they want it to go.
We have a unique opportunity to capitalize on our research. Our research shows what percentage will want our service. I think realistically, we can look at maybe 1% of the people who want our service, but what’s 1% of 31.7 million? That 317,000 potential buyers would want our business which is a great outlook.
Imagine if I sold 317,000 times for $2000? If we could sell to 1% of business owners in America, that would be $634 million. Do you think as business owners, people need this? Think about it, 1% is 317,000 business owners, and 500,000 business owners go bankrupt every year, so 1% of that would be 5,000 business owners a year who do need this.
Business Organization Management
Moving to the next section, organization management, here we’re focused on a little bit more of a biography of all the staff members and the people we’re working for. You’re going to say we carefully picked our team for their expertise and experience in this field, and then you write a bio for each employee or member or partner or agency you’ve bought to fulfill a role.
For example, if you use the CPA for the financials, you’d write out a little bio of the CPA’s firm and possibly add some of the companies they’ve worked with. This is going to show a bank that you have a really powerful team behind you or a business partner or an investor or even employees. They’re going to think these guys are great, they know exactly what they’re doing because you showed it off from the very beginning.
What are your products and services?
The next section is where you break down the product or services that you’re going to have. You’ll want to have the list of products or services available at launch. You’re not going to list every individual product, just their ranges.
For example, I own a game store. My game store is a Dungeons and Dragons shop but I’m not going to list every single item in the store. What I might say is, “we sell Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and Pokémon.” I would list those core things and maybe pick out the main product that’ll be focused on.
Likewise, if I had a fitness and health company, I might want to break down the different pricing tiers, but you’re only going to pick out the major ones that you think are important.
Then what you’re going to do is put the price that you’re going to sell them for. Then afterward, you’re going to go through them again and put how much they cost to produce, including relevant staff hours. I won’t add in the rent of the building I’m operating from or my taxes or anything like that. But I am going to put down if it’s being fulfilled by a staff member, how much it costs for that staff member to fulfill it, plus any relevant costs.
What is your lead time to deliver?
Next is a really important factor, which is the lead time to launch our products and services. When will they be ready or are they ready now? And how long will it take to launch? That’s important because it lets someone know if we can start selling today or if it’s going to take a year. People are going to want to know when you are ready to start taking orders? How soon can we go?
Do you have your intellectual property in order?
And then lastly, we’re going to add intellectual property. You’d put the name of the company as a trademark name in the location where you got the trademark. I have had trademark infringements in the last year and it’s frustrating when somebody does it. We have filed for protection of our proprietary processes and other intellectual properties such as our logo.
We’ve also registered our domain name and parked relevant social media accounts for future use to prevent the likelihood of someone impersonating us. That’s something you should do as standard because it doesn’t cost anything to do. Our domain names can be pretty cheap and are a great way of starting. Again, it shows you’re doing your due diligence. It shows that you’re taking this business seriously.
Marketing and Sales
Next, we move on to marketing and sales. When we get into marketing sales, we’re now going to list the different lead acquisition strategies. There are lots of different lead acquisition strategies so you’re going to want to put down all the ones you’re going to do. Not the ones that you’re thinking you might do.
Don’t just list every social media site and every potential lead acquisition strategy. Actually take time and break down the ones you’re going to be using. For example, you could say, “we’re using the following lead acquisition strategy to grow our potential customer strategy, A strategy B, and strategy C”. After you’re going to list what they are, and the cost of acquisition it’s estimated to be.
Next, you’re going to write down how much it’s going to cost to acquire a lead. In some industries it can cost $27 for a lead or more, in some industries it can cost 10 cents. It’s just about calculating it.
For example, if you’re using Instagram and you’re doing page shoutouts and you spend $5,000 a month on leads and you received 10,000 new followers and out of the 10,000 new followers, you gained a thousand new leads. We’ve now paid $5,000 to achieve a thousand leads, so you’d write down it’s $5 a lead for Instagram. You may want to write down the cost of acquisition per reach out in case it’s different or per strategy.
Then you’re going to say, “our research shows that we can estimate A, and you’re going to put the percentage of sales close, which would lead to a profit of, whatever the profit is per how many leads on the initial sale. Then you’re going to have, with up sales and follow up sales we anticipate the following lifetime values.”
Let me break this down a little bit. Once we know the cost of acquiring a lead, if we use the Instagram example and we say, we know it costs $5 to acquire a lead. We then think, how many leads do we have to speak to before we make a sale?
If we say, we know it takes five leads before we make a sale, then it’s $25 to make a single sale. Our cost to acquire a lead is $5, it takes five leads to make a single sale, and if we know how much the product is, let’s say $50, we know that the profit will be $25.
We spend $25 in lead acquisition to give us five leads, which turns to one sale of $50, which is a profit of $25.
A little bit of basic math, but you do need to put it down because it lets you calculate and see the profit of one sale, times the lead cost is how you work out the cost to make a customer.
That’s how you piece that together, and then you’ll know, if it costs us $25 to be able to get a single sale, I can calculate the lifetime value of 30 days, the lifetime value of 60 days, the lifetime value of 90 days and the lifetime value of a customer forever.
What is the profit over time for a sale?
Let’s just say after somebody buys the $50 product, and they pay $50 every month for three months. We know they’re going to pay $50 initially, but 30 days later, they’re going to pay another $50. So the lifetime value of a customer within 30 days is a hundred dollars.
Then 60 days later, the lifetime value is $150. And then within 90 days, it’s $200. We know that, although it costs us $25 to acquire that $50 sale within 90 days, that $25 spend is actually $200, which is a lot more.
Then for lifetime value, we know that the average customer, let’s say, stays for 180 days and then they leave, so they stay six months, and then they’re gone. We can calculate that we’re going to make $350, the initial $50, and then $300 more, and then they’re going to leave.
So, my values would be $50 initially, the $25 cost of the $50, and then it’d be $100, and then it’d be $150, $200, and then $300 for a lifetime. I know that every time I spend $25, I’m going to make $350, so I’m going to make $325 in profit. This is really important. It shows somebody you fully understand your numbers. You understand how much it costs to get this done.
Now, you can move on to financial projections. The financial projections are the thing most people don’t want to see. Here you’re going to add your fixed costs beyond product development. These are things like your salaries, your rent, your software systems, and your own salary. Whatever you’re paying yourself has to be in there. You can’t say I’ll just live off what’s left. What’s left is profit and it’s needed to grow the company.
In fact, most banks are going to judge how successful your business is based on how much profit. So you can’t do that, you actually have to write down what the fixed costs are, and one of those costs has to be your own salary. You want to treat yourself as an employee in the company, and that will help a lot.
Then you put, we anticipate receiving X monthly leads per month, by the end of the first quarter. This is how many leads we’re going to get based on the strategies we’re doing based on our projected conversions. We’re looking at getting this much profit within the first 90 days because you know, it’s five leads to a sale and you know how many leads you’re getting because you know how much it’s costing you to get those leads and how much money you need to get them.
You can calculate where it is and say if you give me $5,000 a month, I’m going to be able to get a thousand leads. Out of a thousand leads, I’m going to be able to convert 200 of them. And I know that within a quarter, within 90 days, I generate $200 or $175 per person, so we’re going to get $55,000 within the first quarter.
When I look at that and the profit is $55,000 in the first quarter. I then have to take off the fixed costs. That would be $55,000 in the first quarter, minus the cost of rent, the cost of salaries, and everything.
If this is what it’s going to cost, am I going to be able to afford it? You want to be able to show that this is how it’s going to work. Then you can say, we anticipate a growth of this percentage of leads in every quarter.
Every 90 days we’re going to have this many more leads, then when we take into consideration the lifetime values, the 30, 60, 90, and lifetime value. Then we anticipate that the profit within the first year will be, and you can calculate one full year of profit.
Pay Yourself as an Employee
If you’ve paid yourself as an employee, which you should, you’ll be able to show a profit for year one. This would be key if you want someone to give you money because no one wants to give you money if you don’t show a profit.
You have to show a profit because you can’t just pay yourself the extra, that’s not how it works. When you show the profit, that is what makes somebody want to invest in you. If you do this, you will have an incredible business plan.
Appendix or Calculation
There’s one extra section to add and the last section is the appendix or the calculation. You’ve done all the math, all the resources. If you’ve said it costs this much to get a lead, you need to put that down in the appendix. This shows everybody the evidence, and if you can link to an article with an expert you’re planning on hiring or an agency that said, this is how much it costs, put that in there. The bank can go and do the research.
The first of two Blueprints
Now, this is just the first of the two blueprints I said you’re going to need to succeed with your business. This is the external one. This is the one you show other people, like banks, investors, business partners, and to impress potential high-level employees. The internal blueprint is the action steps you need to make to make your business a success. That is what we call the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint.
The S.M.A.R.T Blueprint is our business program. With it, you’re going to have a business that truly gives you freedom because you’re going to learn how to hire and outsource staff without breaking the bank and even learn how to run your business as a side hustle.
To listen to more from Adam listen to Smart Businesses do this… and you can listen to full episodes of the most comprehensive podcast about strategically building and growing your business, the S.M.A.R.T way, click on any one of these platforms and subscribe!
- S.M.A.R.T Blueprint
- Travis Sago
- Phoneless Cash Machine
- Josue Pena
- Rachel Miller
- Rudy Mawer
- Tai Lopez
- Digital Marketer
- Internal blueprint
- External blueprint
- Lead acquisition strategies
- Intellectual property
- Grant Cardone
- Digital Marketer Labs
- Unique Selling Proposition
- Principal members of a company
- Artificial Intelligence
- Executive Summary