How long should my business plan be?

In this series of 19 short articles, StratPad’s founder discusses the fundamentals of starting and running a small business.

In this short post, he discusses how long a business plan should be:

Q: People often talk about how daunting a business plan is, and whether it’s even worth it to write a massive, 100-page plan. How long should my business plan really be?

A:  When people ask me, “How long should my business plan be?”, I tell them that a business plan has to be as long as it has to be, which is to say that it depends on the message that you’re trying to get, and the person that you’re trying to give it to. Some people are able to write a business plan on the back of a napkin, and that tells their story and that’s sufficient. Banks for example though need a little bit more. They’ll need you to have a set a financial projections.

And so what I would say is get your thoughts down onto some paper; 2 to 3 to 4 pages, and then run that by your intended audience. They’ll tell you what else they’ll need. Use that to gauge the length of your business plan, but by no means should you start off by trying to write 120 page business plan. That’s just the wrong thing to start off doing.

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