If written effectively, a business plan can serve as the blueprint for a startup’s success. It’s a roadmap that guides founders from A to B, a tool for wooing investors, and a way to keep fast-growing teams focused. Forget the debate about whether you need one or not. (You do.) The more relevant question is what to include and what to leave on the proverbial cutting room floor.
While there’s no magic formula, there are certain elements that all great business plans should have—and those that should be avoided at all costs. In recent years, those on the receiving end of these documents have seen what you might call buzzword creep, empty rhetoric that serves as a distraction from otherwise good ideas.