In the world of entrepreneurship, a business plan is a crucial document that outlines the goals and strategies of a business. However, the traditional business plan format — a long-form document filled with text and numbers — can be intimidating and time-consuming to create. As a result, many entrepreneurs seek alternative methods for planning and growing their businesses.
This article will explore ten innovative alternatives to the traditional business plan. These alternatives include using business plan templates, pivoting to a new business model, creating a visual business plan, and even learning to combine PDF templates to plan your business. No matter your business’s stage, these alternatives can help you streamline your planning process and set your company up for success.
10 Alternatives To The Traditional Business Plan
1. Use a business plan template
Using a business plan template is one of the simplest and quickest alternatives to creating a traditional business plan from scratch. These templates are pre-formatted documents containing all the necessary sections and information for a business plan. All you have to do is fill in the blanks with your company’s details.
Many business plan templates are available online, ranging from simple one-page plans to more detailed multi-page documents. Some templates are free, while others may require a small fee. Either way, using a template can save you significant time and effort in creating a business plan.
2. Use a blank PDF template
Another option for streamlining the business planning process is to use a blank PDF template by LuminPDF. These templates are similar to business plan templates but are in a PDF format and do not have any pre-formatted text or headings. Their format allows you to customize the layout and design of your business plan altogether.
A business plan created with Lumin looks unique and visually appealing while reflecting your brand and style. To use a blank PDF template, simply download it and open it in a PDF editor. Then, add your text, images, and other content as needed.
3. Create a visual business plan
Consider creating a visual business plan if you want to make your business plan more engaging. This requires using graphics, charts, and other visual elements to communicate your business ideas and goals.
Several tools are available for creating visual business plans, including LuminPDF, Pinterest, and Canva. If visual representation is the most crucial element, a business plan created with Pinterest will contain design elements like professional-looking infographics, charts, and other visual content. They will make your business plan look simple yet robust enough for any investor to feel confident about.
4. Pivot to a new business model
Sometimes, the traditional business plan format may not best fit your company’s needs. In these cases, pivoting to a new business model may be helpful. This redirection could involve changing how you sell your products or services, altering your target market, or implementing a new pricing strategy.
While a pivot can be risky, it can bring new opportunities and growth to your business. When considering a pivot, carefully research and analyze the potential benefits and drawbacks before deciding.
5. Use template ideas from business influencers
Influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk and Tony Robbins recommend business template guides and growth strategies you can use. Different business templates they recommend include how-tos for writing business plans, marketing plans, financial projections, and SWOT analyses.
Using their template ideas can save you time and ensure you remember all important details when planning your business. They can also help you stay organized. The advantage of this approach is that you’d follow the advice of proven businesspeople, giving you a more precise direction.
6. Develop a pitch deck
A pitch deck is a presentation used to pitch your business to potential investors or partners. It typically includes slides with crucial information about your business, such as your value proposition, target market, and financial projections. Developing a pitch deck can be more effective than traditional business plans if you have an excellent design team or are good at it.
Using a pitch deck to present your business ideas will guarantee a more emotional, gut-judgment reaction from your investors than a traditional business plan. This approach is for those looking to impress their investors. A pitch deck is also valuable for practicing your pitch and gathering feedback from others.
7. Use a one-page business plan
Instead of a lengthy and detailed traditional business plan, you could use a one-page business plan to summarize your goals and strategies. A one-page business plan is a concise document that covers the critical elements of a business plan in a condensed format.
A one-page business plan allows you to quickly and easily communicate your business ideas and goals to others, such as investors or team members. It is also a flexible tool that you or your business development team can easily update as your business grows and evolves.
8. Utilize business planning software
Business planning software programs can help you skip the rigors of traditionally creating and managing your business plan. These programs typically offer a range of templates and tools to help you build a professional-looking plan and track your progress. They can also save you time and effort in creating a business plan. It also offers financial projections and collaboration tools to help you grow your business.
9. Incorporate a customer development process
The customer development process is a method of planning and growing a business that focuses on understanding and meeting your customers’ needs. It involves regularly gathering and analyzing customer feedback, testing and iterating on your product or service, and adapting your business model.
You can use systems like customer development interviews, surveys, and focus groups to incorporate a customer development process in your business planning. These systems help you gather feedback, pivot tables, and the build-measure-learn feedback loop to adjust your business plan accordingly.
10. Create a business plan video
Creating a business plan video can be an innovative and effective alternative to the traditional business plan format. A business plan video is a visual presentation of your business ideas and goals. It can be a great way to engage potential investors or partners and showcase your business.
There are several ways you can create a business plan video. One option is to use video editing software to create a professional-looking video that includes slides with crucial information about your business, such as your value proposition, target market, and financial projections. You can also have images and other visual elements to make your video more engaging and dynamic.
Another option is to create a live presentation that you give to potential investors or partners. This approach can be a more interactive way to present your business ideas, allowing you to field questions and gather feedback in real time. Regardless of how you set about it, you must communicate your business ideas and goals in your business plan video and showcase your business’s value to the market.
The traditional business plan format is one of many ways to plan and grow your business. By using business plan templates, blank PDF templates, visual business plans, pivoting to a new business model, or utilizing business templates, you can streamline the planning process and find the best approach for your company. Whatever alternative you choose, the most important thing is having a clear vision for your business and a plan to help you achieve your business goals.