New Jersey residents starting a new venture may find it valuable to write a solid business plan. The Small Business Administration explains that a good plan outlines how you will operate and grow your business.

According to the SBA, most business plans are in a traditional or lean startup format. Many entrepreneurs use a traditional format, incorporating a lot of detail across dozens of pages. In contrast, a lean startup plan may provide a high-level overview of key points in chart form.

What does a traditional plan typically cover?

Traditional plans usually include details that paint a comprehensive picture of the company:

  • The product or service you intend to sell and how it will solve problems that your ideal customers or clients may experience. You may include your intellectual property plans.
  • A market analysis to help evaluate your industry, competitors, and target market.
  • Your company’s legal structure, an organizational chart and your management team’s credentials.
  • Financial projections with forecasted financial statements and an estimate of your debt and equity funding needs.

What does a lean startup plan generally cover?

A lean startup plan may highlight only the key elements of the business:

  • Your primary activities, your target market and the unique value your business provides.
  • A focus on relationships with your proposed clientele, including customer communications and the overall customer experience.
  • How you expect to generate revenue and what costs you expect to incur.

A thoughtful plan gives you a business roadmap and may also help you secure funding. You may want to use a lean format if your business is straightforward or you want to launch operations quickly. Prospective investors and lenders may prefer the details of a traditional plan.