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How you can make a pro business plan in less than 8 hours

In brief

Making a business plan can be lengthy, cumbersome and painful. It’s complex and it’s technically and emotionally challenging for any entrepreneur. This post shows you How you can make a pro business plan in less than 8 hours.

It even goes further by proposing two extra shortened yet highly efficient versions of a business plan that are: the business case and the 5 statements business plan. 


Making a business plan is often a stressful task for the majority of entrepreneurs and creators. This is due to two main reasons : First let’s admit it, writing a business plan an je very cumbersome. Second, most entrepreneurs fear to discover the real worth of their ideas once they put it in the scanner of reality. 

This post aims at resolving these two pain points. First by providing the blueprint of a highly efficient method to sketch, fill and design a professional business plan. Second, by showing how to unveil the real worth of your idea by using objective tools and data resources. Which is by the way the real goal of any professional and high quality business plan.

The 10 components of a pro business plan

Executive summary

This is also the elevator pitch. It should be straight to the point, highly focused on the delivered unique value, with some hints about the size and trend of the tackled market. Even if it’s the very first part of a business plan, the executive summary is very often done at last.

Proposed Product or service

This is the part of your business plan where you present your product or service. This part should be detailed enough for the reader to clearly visualize your idea. It often contains visualizations and mockups of the proposed product. It also aims at answering the typical expected objections regarding the proposed product or service.

User persona (targeted customers and market)

A user persona stands for a detailed description of the typical customer to the proposed business. This part goes as much as possible in the deep psychology of the potential user: Like his typical fears, expectations, frustrations etc.

A user persona description should be as accurate as possible. It should not be like “It’s a male between 25 and 35 years old, that has a high educational degree..”. 

It should be rather: “Mike is married, a parent of two children. He’s 32 years old. He likes golfing on Saturday morning and hates the winter because it prevents him from practicing his favorite passion which is golfing. Mike spent $3650 in the past 3 years in Golfing. He spent $865 in trying out 4 different indoor golfing solutions. He was always disappointed by the tried solutions.”.

Competition, positioning and differentiation

Having a healthy look at competition is the lifeline for any business. This section of the business shows the maturity of the conducted study from veracity and objectivity perspectives.

This part is also crucial because it will drastically influence the identity of the product or service to be crafted. 

Indeed, knowing the competition helps in defining their weaknesses, hence identifying the main differentiators in the product to be built.

Marketing and sales planning

Marketing and sales fields tend to be mixed very often. In reality they are certainly complementary but they are also very different, even exclusive when defined clearly.

In short, marketing is about how to build and communicate the brand image around the proposed business. It’s how to create awareness and interest by targeting the right audience with the right messaging.

On the other hand, sales planning is about crafting how to make the sales to the dedicated customers. 

Consequently, it’s obvious that when marketing is done well, the sales part should be straightforward. At the same time, the sales part can bring back valuable information to the marketing part like whether the pricing is high or low, or whether the messaging and differentiation is communicated clearly enough or not etc.

Go to Market (GtM)

GtM is like a concrete action plan for both marketing and sales. It comes often right after the marketing and sales section because it’s fed by it.

To make it more concrete, GtM stands for how to implement the marketing and sales plan. For example, which social media channels will be used for creating awareness and interest, which marketing contents should be written and by who. GtM also determines how the sales funnel should be implemented. How and when to create awareness, who takes the leads once generated, how and who creates the sales enablement contents for the sales etc.

GtM goes even beyond the sales stage by determining the customer service plan once the sale is done.

Human Resources (HR)

HR is about defining the needed human resources to make the plan happen. For example, for an online agency, this section determines the needed workforce like the marketer, the developer, the sales, the quality assurance agent, the customer support employees etc.

Financial plan

The financial plan is one of the most feared sections by most business plan writers. It’s the case because it may be very technical. At the same time, it’s one of the most awaited parts of a business plan.

Financial plan depicts the Return on Investment (ROI) of the proposed idea, the expected discounted cash flow and net present value (NPV) etc.

Risk management 

Doing plans is good, expecting the worst is wise and preparing mitigation plans is even better. The risk management section aims at showing that the current business plan is not selling dreams, and that its writer is realistic and aware of the different dangers that may threaten his business.

Preparing mitigation plans is often a sign of quality and maturity of the provided business plan especially for investors and executives.


In order to keep the business plan as light as possible, it’s important to add an appendix section where the reader can find more in depth and technical content if needed.

Typical content of this part can be the CVs of the founders, more financial information, more details about the conducted market research and especially primary data like survey results, interview transcriptions etc.

The blueprint to make a high quality business plan in less than 8 hours 

Write a first draft of the executive summary (30min)

This step aims at drafting the very big picture. It consists in providing a 100-150 words description of the raw idea as you have it at first.

The very first draft will be very different from the final version of the executive summary. Yet, it’s essential to have that initial big picture. This will be very helpful in orienting the next steps.

Answer to the main questions (90min)

What is meant here by the main questions is typically putting the business plan skeleton at first. The skeleton corresponds to the classic 10 components of a business plan. You can find in this post a detailed version of each section in the framework of questions to be answered.

You can answer as many questions as you can during a first screening of them. Even if you left some unanswered or partly answered, that’s fine, because you will be back and answer them in the following steps.

Collect data (150min)

Collecting data can take minutes to months. In the framework of the current proposed methodology, you want to be efficient, hence you obviously don’t have months to collect primary data.

Lean market research tools are very valuable in this framework. The goal is to collect high quality, straight to the point data, that adds credibility and value to your final deliverable.

Structure the report (30min)

Structuring the report consists in copy pasting the answers to the main questions of the business plan, into the corresponding sections of the report. This task is very straightforward especially if you already have an adequate template for that. 

Please find an example of such a template.

Enhance the report quality (60min)

Enhancing the report quality targets mainly the external look and feel of the business plan. This is crucial since the outside feeling of the report is as much as important as its content.

Report quality encompasses the quality of the graphics, the choice of the colors and the typography, in addition to the writing level and the tone.

Enhancing the report quality can be completely outsourced, which makes the time shrink but increases the needed budget if you request the help of a professional. Which enhances very often the final quality of the report if you can afford it by the way.

Proofread and collect feedback (20min)

It’s advised to make the proofread and gather as much feedback as possible at this stage. This is true for both the external and internal aspects of the business plan. This step can only improve further the quality of your deliverable.

Since this step is done by external resources, the requested actual time cost for you is very limited.

Correct and fine tune (60min)

Upon receiving the feedback and analyzing it, it’s time to enter the needed edits to make your business plan even more appealing. At this stage, most business plans go from average to professional. Indeed, thanks to the previous steps, when executed well, any business plan will gain substantial credibility and maturity at this stage.

Deliver (30min)

At this stage, you should be proud of what you did. You should be more importantly more savvy about your business, about its strengths, but more importantly about the typical objections that may come when you present your idea to someone.

You can then deliver it on whatever channel you choose: By email to your potential investors, to your managers or upload your business plan video on a crowdsourcing platform.

BONUS! : 63 powerful resources to fill efficiently the different pieces of a business plan

Generic resources

  • Google search: Which is the most popular search engine of the world
  • Google news: That is The news part of google
  • Google maps: Which is an invaluable and powerful tool especially for physical or non digital businesses
  • That is an open market intelligence resource provided by one of the top strategy consultant agencies of the world that is McKinsey.
  • That is an online platform simplifying the research of information among the most popular social media platforms grouped in one place.

Markets for mobile apps

  • Apple app store
  • Android store
  • Windows store
  • Amazon appstore

Open data

  • World bank open data
  • Euromonitor database
  • Trading economics
  • Google public data

Paid data

  • Statista
  • Quandl

Trends & volumes

  • Google keyword planner: A free tool by google assessing the popularity of keywords used online
  • Ubersuggest: A similar tool to Google keyword planner but goes more into the details, it’s a freemium tool mainly dedicated for SEO or Search Engine Optimization
  • Keywords everywhere: A user friendly plugin and tool for assessing online keywords popularity.
  • Google trends: A free tool by google assessing the evolution through time of keywords popularity
  • A free online platform ranking social media profiles based on their quality and popularity
  • Which is An online paid platform for SEO agencies and digital marketing professionals. It can be a highly powerful market intelligence tool when used properly.
  • SimilarWeb: which is one of the main competitors of semrush

Company & Competition Data

  • Crunchbase: That is A leading online platform providing qualitative and quantitative data mainly focussing on tech and digital startups and businesses
  • This one is Very similar to Crunchbase with a particular focus on the modernity and user friendliness of the platform
  • Owler: Which is A disruptive business database providing metadata about companies worldwide
  • That is An extensive paid database about companies, founders and investors
  • Which is a reference website providing extensive data about companies of all sizes and types
  • TechCrunch: WHich is an exhaustive blog about tech and startups news
  • That provides qualitative and quantitative data and facts about businesses worldwide
  • Which is the financial news part of yahoo

Customer Reviews Resources

  • An online platform gathering feedback of mobile app users regarding mobile apps of different sorts
  • A world leading platform for gathering feedback and information about mobile apps
  • A market intelligence provider focusing on the mobile apps market and providing an extensive portfolio of solutions for tech companies for making insightful  strategic choices during the development and deployment of their tech products
  • Which is the world leading e-commerce platform. It’s huge success and usage worldwide make it a natural hub containing billions of reviews regarding almost any type of physical products
  • Which is the first physical retailer in the US and that has a successful online version as well that contains numerous feedbacks and reviews regarding all types and sorts of products
  • A disruptive tech solution that collect and provides feedback about physical and digital products and services of almost all types worldwide
  • That is a customer review platform gathering and publishing customer reviews for different sorts of products and services

Talking to Experts

  • Dialectica
  • LinkedIn
  • GLG – Gerson Lehrman Group
  • Third Bridge/Cognolink
  • Guidepoint
  • Athenerm Partners
  • Pochmak
  • Alphasights
  • Innoscape
  • Coleman Research

Online survey panels & polls

  • An online platform that recruits respondents of different profiles beforehand and makes the link between the adequate profiles among these respondents and the survey seeker. It’s a paid solution but the user experience and the ratio between quality and cos is largely worth it.
  • A world leading company for conducting online surveys. It provides a complete suite of solutions ranging from preparing the surveys to collecting the results and analyzing them.
  • A complete solution for performing surveys that is focusing mainly on customers and employees
  • A market intelligence agency that can perform surveys for you
  • Tha is a provider of complete solutions regarding market intelligence
  • Typeform

Miscellaneous Resources

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Blog articles
  • Books
  • Encyclopedia
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