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Venture Plan Guideline

Here are some guidelines for a venture plan.
A typical "first round" investor-grade venture plan is usually about 20 - 25 pages plus separate appendices.
There are many possible outlines for a venture plan ... the following is pretty standard.
Remember, the purpose of a venture plan is to mitigate risk ... you are selling your concept here and need to show the reader that you know your stuff! It's not so much the plan as the planning (and learning and testing and explaining and ...)

A. Cover Page ... Company/venture/business name, company location, contact information, legal statements (proprietary information, copyright, etc.) ...

B. Executive Summary ... independent one page document ... the exact same executive summary that you used to entice the prospective investor or corporate executive to want to read this plan. What is this venture about? Where is the market? What is the innovation and competitive advantage? Who is on the venture team? Why is this a good venture concept (ie, financial projections, et al)? When are the key development milestones? How will this venture come to fruition?

C. Table of Contents ... one page.

D. Opportunity ... tell a story here! Engage the reader! What is the hook, the story, the "grabber"? Two to four pages.
  1. Problem / Opportunity: The problem your venture will solve, the significance of the problem, the opportunity this offers your venture, quality of the opportunity, growth potential ...
  2. Product and/or Service Solution Description: Essential product/service idea, category of product/service, proprietary protection, entry strategies ...
  3. Customers and Target Markets: Target market characteristics, size, why this market is the best for your venture, market validation research ...
  4. Innovation: What does this venture do that is new and better?
E. Environment and Competition ... Industry overview, research results and analysis, major competitors, benchmark ventures, timeliness, regulations ... three to five pages.

F. Goals and Strategies ... critical and key information as appropriate to your venture ... three to five pages.
  1. Goals, vision, mission. 
  2. Competitive Advantages: Market focus, value proposition, core competencies, barriers to entry, competitive validation, how your venture will position itself to meet the competition, ...
  3. Business Model: How your venture will earn a profit, expected margins, sources of recurring revenue ... 
  4. Organization: Management team, relevant domain knowledge of the team, commitment, advisers, directors, management to be added, culture, talent ... 
  5. Product Development Strategies
  6. Marketing and Sales Strategies: Pricing strategies, distribution model, partnering, promotional strategies ... 
  7. Technology Strategies: Technology, product development ... 
  8. Operational Strategies: Production methodologies, manpower requirements, equipment requirements, material management, flow diagram of key processes ... 
  9. Intellectual Property and Legal Issues Strategies: Patents, trademarks, trade names, copyrights, trade secrets, operating and other agreements, legal structure ...
  10. Development Plan: Current company status, number of employees, development stage, early revenue, number of customers, relevant historical information, long-term venture goals, growth strategies, timeline ... 
  11. Risks and Contingencies: Downside risks and contingency plans, upside risks and expansion plans ...
G. Financial Projections ... Key assumptions, historical financial statements (if available), pro forma statement summaries ... four or five pages.

H. Funding Proposal ... independent one or two page document.
  1. Resource Requirements: Short summary of financial projections; total investment funding and resources being sought, use of funds in 4 or 5 general categories, any unusual use of funds, return on investment to investors and entrepreneurs, harvest strategy ...
  2. Call to Action: What do you want the reader to do ... join your team, invest, meet with you to learn more ... ?
I. Summary ... A brief summary (sales pitch) of the opportunity, environment and competition, goals and strategies, financial projections, resource requirements, return on investment ...

J. List of Available Appendices ... Variety of support information ... resumes, detailed financial statements, product data sheet, marketing brochure, research data, technology information,detailed competitive analysis, etc.