Lightweight business plans are not just for startups. These tools can be just as valuable for product managers at big companies with established products. Because even if you are not capturing plans to develop and build your company’s first offering, you still need to make a business case for the opportunity you are pursuing.
Rather than build out a business plan from scratch — start with a template that will help you quickly communicate what is most important.
A business plan can serve many purposes depending on your goals. You can use it to define the key elements of a new product you are developing. Or if you are at a mature company, it can be used to summarize your strategy for a new market opportunity.
Our team at Aha! knows how important it is to choose the right plan that serves your goals. That is why we include so many different types of business planning tools in our product roadmapping software — including a comprehensive business model builder based on our 20+ years of experience building breakthrough products and software companies.
But what if your company is not yet ready to sign up for Aha! or does not have access to these kinds of tools? You still need to organize your thinking, define your assumptions, and share your plans. So we created six business plan templates for you to download at no cost.
Along with SWOT templates and roadmap templates, these latest templates are designed to be quick and easy to use to help you with your strategic planning. The templates are fully customizable so you can adapt them to your unique situation and download in both spreadsheet and presentation file format.
Think about your most pressing need and who you will be sharing this information with. Because whether you are using a purpose-built tool or a static template for your planning, you want to choose the view that will work best for your audience.
Here are six scenarios where a business plan template can help:
Lay the foundation
Often the most useful thing for a broad audience is to represent the foundational elements of your plan in a simple layout. In those cases, you want to present the fundamentals like key messaging, customer pain points, and future opportunities in a single view. This makes it easy for stakeholders from all across the company to understand the business model and provide their input.
Define the problem
Sometimes you want that single view, but you also want to center the conversation around the main problems the customer is trying to solve. The ideal template will direct your audience’s attention to the top customer challenges and succinctly capture how your product addresses each one.
Understand the customer
Generally, you will not target your product at a single customer segment but several. Building a profile and business plan for each one is a lot easier when you start with a good template — one that lets you define both the set of customers and your approach to serving them. You can then compare and contrast the plans for each segment and decide which customers you are best positioned to deliver a superior product experience to.
Survey the market
You want to make strategic decisions. For that, you need to see the competitive landscape. You do not want to react to every competitor move, but you do need to know what alternatives customers have to your product. Start with a template that summarizes the market and outside threats — both existing and potential.
Analyze the product
Just as you need to understand the market, you also have to be realistic about your product’s place in it. A business plan that conducts a strategic analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can illuminate what your product is doing well and where it can do better.
Plan your marketing
In order to successfully market a product, many teams focus on the 10Ps: product, price, people, process, promotion, programs, place, physical environment, partners, and positioning. The right template allows you to answer the key questions about each of these elements. Then, together, the team can develop and execute a winning go-to-market strategy.
The right template can help you make your product plans easily understandable for your key stakeholders.
It helps you zero in on what is most relevant and present it in a visually accessible and logical layout. When others can grasp the information and provide their insights, it makes your plan that much stronger.
How will you use your business plan to achieve your goals?
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