How To Write a Startup Business Plan Step by Step

By Kyle Milligan / November 20, 2016

I recently picked up one of my favorite entrepreneurship books, Never Get A Real Job by Scott Gerber, and accidentally reread the entire thing. I kept reading because I kept finding useful information that I overlooked the first time I read it. One of the things Gerber explained, which I implemented THAT VERY MINUTE, was his One-paragraph start-up plan. Gerber breaks down how to write a startup business plan step by step and his process is super helpful for bringing focus and clarity to your startup. It also made me money quickly.

In Chapter 5 of Never Get A Real Job, Gerber explains why most business plans suck, and why most programs and classes are just fluff and hype, designed to sell you a product.

How To Write a Startup Business Plan Step by Step Never Get A Real Job Scott Gerber One paragraph start up plan all99life.com

Gerber doesn’t say “throw out all business plans,” but instead asserts traditional business plans encourage you to guess too much about things you don’t know for people who don’t care. i.e. investors. You can’t really know how your market will react to your plan until you put it into action. You don’t know what your revenues will be until you start trying to sell. Most of the information in traditional business plans are educated guesses. Gerber asserts you should “do” first, and not get caught up in sophisticated business planning. He shares a story of his own 94-page business plan for a business that ultimately failed anyway.

The One-Paragraph Start-Up Plan

Keep in mind that Gerber thinks your business should be able to generate revenue without spending a ton of money up front. That’s what Never Get A Real Job preaches: how to start a startup quickly and without going broke. Therefore, Gerber suggests your business plan initially is just for your use, and encourages you to simplify your business down to one paragraph.

How To Write a Startup Business Plan Step by Step

Gerber’s business plan template is just 8 questions you answer in one or two sentences and that’s it–how to write a business plan step by step. He demonstrates an example of a business plan for his own business, SizzleIt! and the one paragraph business plan template was crazy useful for my own website, all99life.com.

8 questions for what to include in a startup business plan

The first 7 questions summed up are:

  1. what do you do today?
  2. how do you do it today?
  3. how will people use it today?
  4. how will that make money today?
  5. who are your customers today?
  6. how will you market today?
  7. how are you different from your competitors today?

The first 7 questions focus on creating a functioning business that works now. Not one that plans to work some day. Adding “today” to the end of all the questions totally changed my view of how I write articles for all99life.com. I actually was embarrassed because, frankly, my answers sucked.

Question 8 is the one forward-looking question and asks: “What are secondary and tertiary customers you will target after you become successful with your primary base?”

This mindset shift moving to making money now not some day, is so important and useful for your business.

See what others are saying

all99life.com startup paragraph after answering the 8 questions:

“All99life.com provides information and resources for individuals looking to improve the core areas of their life–Career and Health. The website performs this service by writing original content based on my unique life experiences and by recommending resources I have found especially helpful in improving my own health and career. Readers can come to all99life.com and sort through the different categories, currently labeled Entrepreneurship and Fitness, to find relevant content for their needs. All99life.com earns revenue through referral programs by recommending useful products and guides to readers, thereby converting readers into customers. All99life.com will target all readers who are interested in improving their career and health using social networks, primarily, as well as search engine optimization. All99life.com differentiates itself from similar blogs by utilizing my unique voice, name, and life experiences to back the content published as authentic and trustworthy. As all99life.com expands, it can target the other core area of life, relationships, and also micro-niches within entrepreneurship such as self-publishing or sales, fields in which I have considerable experience.”

Gerber doesn’t leave you hanging with just the one paragraph. He teaches you how to break your plan into a checklist of actionable steps that will get your business up and running immediately.

How to execute a startup business plan

Using the example of a business plan, Gerber then teaches you to find holes in your thinking and capitalize on them by drilling down into testable actionable steps.

Never Get A Real Job One paragraph start up plan all99life.com

“Begin by breaking down each sentence in your plan into five steps you can execute immediately–actionable statements you can convert into reality.”

Never Get A Real Job of course has its own example listed, but I’ll share mine here.

“All99life.com earns revenue through referral programs by recommending useful products and guides to readers, thereby converting readers into customers.”

  1. Select a product
  2. Relate to personal experience and happiness from product
  3. Include SEO tactics
  4. Feature pictures with alt tags
  5. Create clear and compelling calls to action

Getting your ideas down to actionable statements and then executing is one of the most fundamental keys to success. Gerber does an amazing job of bringing your focus to the present. One of my favorite books of all time that has a FANTASTIC strategy for long-term goal planning is The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. I wrote about my long-term goal planning strategy here: How To Achieve Your Goals Using The ONE Thing by Gary Keller.

Continually update your startup business plan

With this format, I can test to see if this is actually how all99life.com will generate revenue or not, then update my steps or my business plan accordingly. Since I wrote this business plan down a couple days ago, I have already thought of a way to update it.

I recently wrote an article titled How to Get Abs in 30 Days with Bigger Leaner Stronger, which follows my business plan formula and action steps. However, there was a ton of highly-detailed information that I simply didn’t have space for in a blog post. That blog post is already over 3,100 words long. I also have a related diet article that is 1,600 words to go with the workout plan. (See: My Progress 11 Days into a Michael Matthews Bigger Leaner Stronger Cutting Cycle)

I can’t reasonably expect a reader to finish a 10,000+ word blog post. Therefore, I have decided to package that extra information in a complete guide for how to get abs in 30 days or less. The guide will include the diet stuff, the workout stuff, and more, all expanded with additional details, pictures, and examples. I can sell that related guide to generate revenue. That actually improves my business because I can sell my own product for $1-2 and still generate more money than I’d get selling someone else’s off of amazon.

Final Thoughts for How To Write a Startup Business Plan Step by Step

I have already made more money by using the one paragraph start-up strategy outlined in Never Get A Real Job. By narrowing my focus to generating revenue now, I changed the scope and approach of my writing and I think both my readers and I will benefit.

how to write a business plan template sample example for dummiees all99life.comBuy On Amazon

This how to write a business plan article wouldn’t even exist if I weren’t implementing Gerber’s steps this very second. There is a lot of value and wisdom shoved into these couple pages (and the rest of the book is just as good). This should suffice to get you going but if you want more details on the one-paragraph start-up plan and the action steps Gerber teaches, just pick up Never Get A Real Job by Scott Gerber.

P.S. See my FULL REVIEW of Never Get A Real Job by Scott Gerber here

About the author

Kyle Milligan

I'm Kyle Milligan. I really enjoy writing. I wrote a couple novels (The Hang-Ups and Hangovers series) and now I blog frequently on a bunch of different websites. I also enjoy lifting heavy things and and writing about it.

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