How to Write the Management Team Section of a Business Plan + Examples
Written by Dave Lavinsky
Over the last 20+ years, we’ve written business plans for over 4,000 companies and hundreds of thousands of others have used our business plan template and other business planning materials.
From this vast experience, we’ve gained valuable insights on how to write a business plan effectively , specifically in the management section.
What is a Management Team Business Plan?
A management team business plan is a section in a comprehensive business plan that introduces and highlights the key members of the company’s management team. This part provides essential details about the individuals responsible for leading and running the business, including their backgrounds, skills, and experience.
It’s crucial for potential investors and stakeholders to evaluate the management team’s competence and qualifications, as a strong team can instill confidence in the company’s ability to succeed.
Why is the Management Team Section of a Business Plan Important?
Your management team plan has 3 goals:
- To prove to you that you have the right team to execute on the opportunity you have defined, and if not, to identify who you must hire to round out your current team
- To convince lenders and investors (e.g., angel investors, venture capitalists) to fund your company (if needed)
- To document how your Board (if applicable) can best help your team succeed
What to Include in Your Management Team Section
There are two key elements to include in your management team business plan as follows:
Management Team Members
For each key member of your team, document their name, title, and background.
Their backgrounds are most important in telling you and investors they are qualified to execute. Describe what positions each member has held in the past and what they accomplished in those positions. For example, if your VP of Sales was formerly the VP of Sales for another company in which they grew sales from zero to $10 million, that would be an important and compelling accomplishment to document.
Importantly, try to relate your team members’ past job experience with what you need them to accomplish at your company. For example, if a former high school principal was on your team, you could state that their vast experience working with both teenagers and their parents will help them succeed in their current position (particularly if the current position required them to work with both customer segments).
This is true for a management team for a small business, a medium-sized or large business.
Management Team Gaps
In this section, detail if your management team currently has any gaps or missing individuals. Not having a complete team at the time you develop your business plan. But, you must show your plan to complete your team.
As such, describe what positions are missing and who will fill the positions. For example, if you know you need to hire a VP of Marketing, state this. Further, state the job description of this person. For example, you might say that this hire will have 10 years of experience managing a marketing team, establishing new accounts, working with social media marketing, have startup experience, etc.
To give you a “checklist” of the employees you might want to include in your Management Team Members and/or Gaps sections, below are the most common management titles at a growing startup (note that many are specific to tech startups):
- Founder, CEO, and/or President
- Chief Operating Officer
- Chief Financial Officer
- VP of Sales
- VP of Marketing
- VP of Web Development and/or Engineering
- UX Designer/Manager
- Product Manager
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Business Development Manager
- Account Management/Customer Service Manager
- Sales Managers/Sales Staff
- Board Members
If you have a Board of Directors or Board of Advisors, you would include the bios of the members of your board in this section.
A Board of Directors is a paid group of individuals who help guide your company. Typically startups do not have such a board until they raise VC funding.
If your company is not at this stage, consider forming a Board of Advisors. Such a board is ideal particularly if your team is missing expertise and/or experience in certain areas. An advisory board includes 2 to 8 individuals who act as mentors to your business. Usually, you meet with them monthly or quarterly and they help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. You typically do not pay advisory board members with cash, but offering them options in your company is a best practice as it allows you to attract better board members and better motivate them.
Management Team Business Plan Example
Below are examples of how to include your management section in your business plan.
Key Team Members
Jim Smith, Founder & CEO
Jim has 15 years of experience in online software development, having co-founded two previous successful online businesses. His first company specialized in developing workflow automation software for government agencies and was sold to a public company in 2003. Jim’s second company developed a mobile app for parents to manage their children’s activities, which was sold to a large public company in 2014. Jim has a B.S. in computer science from MIT and an M.B.A from the University of Chicago
Bill Jones, COO
Bill has 20 years of sales and business development experience from working with several startups that he helped grow into large businesses. He has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from M.I.T., where he also played Division I lacrosse for four years.
We currently have no gaps in our management team, but we plan to expand our team by hiring a Vice President of Marketing to be responsible for all digital marketing efforts.
Vance Williamson, Founder & CEO
Prior to founding GoDoIt, Vance was the CIO of a major corporation with more than 100 retail locations. He oversaw all IT initiatives including software development, sales technology, mobile apps for customers and employees, security systems, customer databases/CRM platforms, etc. He has a B.S in computer science and an MBA in operations management from UCLA.
We currently have two gaps in our Management Team:
A VP of Sales with 10 years of experience managing sales teams, overseeing sales processes, working with manufacturers, establishing new accounts, working with digital marketing/advertising agencies to build brand awareness, etc.
In addition, we need to hire a VP of Marketing with experience creating online marketing campaigns that attract new customers to our site.
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Other Resources for Writing Your Business Plan
- How to Write an Executive Summary
- How to Expertly Write the Company Description in Your Business Plan
- How to Write the Market Analysis Section of a Business Plan
- The Customer Analysis Section of Your Business Plan
- Completing the Competitive Analysis Section of Your Business Plan
- Financial Assumptions and Your Business Plan
- How to Create Financial Projections for Your Business Plan
- Everything You Need to Know about the Business Plan Appendix
- Business Plan Conclusion: Summary & Recap
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10 Min Read
A business is as efficient as its team and its management. It, therefore, becomes important for business owners to build a structured management team that achieves the objectives and goals set by the organization. Thus, making the management section of a business plan the most essential component.
Andrew Carnegie , an American steel magnate, beautifully summarized it –
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.
A business management plan helps build an efficient team, and formalize business operations . This helps businesses streamline strategies to achieve their goals.
It, therefore, becomes imperative that business owners pay utmost importance while writing the management section of a business plan.
So, if you are a business owner who is looking to formalize their business structure and write the management team section in their business plan , this guide is for you.
Here’s a sneak peek into what you’ll learn:
What Is the Management Section?
Importance of the management section, what to include in the management section, example of a management section plan, ensure that the management section is fool-proof.
Sounds good? Let’s dive in.
What Is The Management Section Of A Business Plan?
The management section of a business plan is an in-depth description of a business’s team, its structure, and the ownership of a business.
The section discusses in detail who is on the management team – internal and external- their skill sets, experiences, and how meaningfully they would contribute to an organization’s goals and outcomes.
Now that we have defined what is the management section of a business plan, let’s understand why it is so important.
The Importance Of The Management Section Of A Business Plan
The management section helps you to:
1. Convince your investors (banks and government agencies) to disburse loans and grants for your business idea
2. Prove that your management team can execute your idea and if not, help hire the right fit for a position
3. Share how your advisory board can help your team succeed
What To Include In the Management Section Of A Business Plan?
The management section of a business plan helps in formalizing and structuring the management team plan and is comprised of
The Management Team
The management team gaps, the management structure.
Let’s understand them in detail.
An organization’s entire management team can be divided into parts – the internal team and the external team.
The Internal Management Team
A business team consists of several departments. The most common departments are – Marketing, Sales, IT, Customer Service, Operations, Finance, and HR.
These departments may or may not be required. It purely depends on the nature and functioning of your business. For example, a dental clinic may not require a sales department per se.
The entire management team is compartmentalized according to their responsibility. This helps the business owners and investors be aware of the roles, benefits, ESOPs (if applicable), profit sharing (for sales), work contracts, NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements), and Non-Competition Agreements of the entire team.
It is recommended that business owners collect and document the following information about their team:
- Educational Background
- Work Experience
For example, your present VP of Marketing helped their previous company grow its bottom line from $3 million to $10 million over 18 months.
The External Management Team
The external management team is usually composed of – Advisory Board Members and Professional Services.
Advisory board members help by :
- Establishing trust, showing results, and experiencing the table.
- Increasing the confidence of investors and consumers.
This helps attract talented employees to the team. Credible advisory board members show great commitment to a company’s growth. Therefore, it becomes important to document their experience and specialization in the business management plan. The advisory board members can help give valuable advice that internal team members need or lack.
If your business has not or will not have VC funding, you may not require board members on your team.
Usually, board members meet quarterly or monthly to provide strategic guidance in place of stock options in your company. This helps attract the best advisors and motivates them to invest in your business.
For example, founders and business owners coming to raise funds in Shark Tank , a business television series, are looking for advisory members who would invest money and provide guidance on necessary steps.
On the other hand, Professional Service helps by
- Offering highly specialized advice and sharing knowledge.
- Business owners make key strategic management decisions.
Such services help businesses leverage skills that would be difficult to build and acquire over a short period.
Examples of such professional services are
- IT Consultants
- Business coaches and consultants
The management team gap is an important part of the management section. Primarily because it helps document if your management team currently has gaps or missing skills. Your team may lack a few required skills while starting. The management team gaps help you to be aware and make efforts to close this gap.
As a business owner, you must document what positions are missing and who ought to fill that positions or take responsibility.
For example, if you need a VP of Sales, clearly document this in the section.
Also, write down the job description and key responsibilities to be undertaken,
Example – You might mention that role required 10 years of experience in the sales domain. The applicant must have experience handling a sales team, closing new accounts, working in tandem with the marketing team, and having relevant startup experience.
Be as detailed as possible. This will help you build a checklist while interviewing the right candidate and also win investor confidence in your managerial skills.
Following are a few key positions you would want to include in your management team:
- Founder and/or, CEO
- Chief Technical Officer (CTO)
- Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
- Chief Operating Officer (COO)
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
- Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)
- Head of Product Management (PM)
- VP of Sales
- VP of Marketing
- UX Designer
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Business Development Manager
- Customer Service Manager
- Customer Success Manager
- Sales Managers/Sales Staff
- Advisory Board Members
The management structure defines how a business organizes its management hierarchy. A hierarchy helps determine the roles, positions, power, and responsibilities of all team members.
The management structure also depends upon the type of business ownership. Business ownership can be – a sole proprietorship, partnership, or simply an LLC.
Following is a sample management structure of an organization.
Example Of A Management Section Plan
[management section of a hotel], [management team], internal team members.
Name: Charles Fargo Role: Owner Responsibility: Formulating key strategies, defining budgets , and building a business plan Experience: 35 years of owning multiple hotels in Las Vegas Educational Background: B.Sc in Hospitality Management from South Dakota State University.
Name: Michael Clark Role: General Manager Responsibility: Overall hotel operations – guest interactions, revenue management, brand ambassador of the hotel, customer satisfaction, and experience, leadership to all departments Experience: 25 years working with several technology hotels as the general manager. Educational Background: MBA from Wharton School
Name: George Trump Role: Department Manager Responsibility: Manage employees, smooth coordination amongst employees, plan daily affairs of the department, strategize, prepare reports, and deal with complaints and suggestions. Lead team members to function as a team Experience: 15 years working as a department manager Educational Background: BSc in Hotel Management from Texas University
Note: There can be multiple Department Managers depending on the nature of your business. In the case of hotels, departments can include – housekeeping, logistics, security, food, and banquets.
Name: Donald Clooney Role: Marketing and Sales Manager Responsibility: Increase occupancy and generate revenue. Position the hotel as an option for leisure activities, relaxation, and holidays. Experience: 11 years working as the marketing and sales manager for hotels Educational Background: MBA in Tourism and Hospitality from Midway University
External Team Members
Advisory Board Member
#1 Richard Branson Responsibility: Strategic advisory for sustainable growth and expansion Experience: Founder of Virgin Group
There is a gap in one key position in our startup.
#1 Chief Finance Officer (CFO) Responsibilities: Finance, Accounting, Tracking Profit and Loss, and overseeing FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis)
How To Ensure That The Management Section Of Your Business Plan Is Fool-Proof?
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower
By building a fool-proof management plan and ensuring that all the intricate details are accounted for, we can ensure that your business has a greater chance of succeeding.
Business planning software like Upmetrics ensures that business owners, like you, get the management section planning correct on the first attempt itself.
You can also get started with a free demo today to discover how Upmetrics can help you plan your business in a breeze.
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How to present the management team in your business plan?
Behind every successful business venture lies a dynamic and capable management team that serves as the driving force behind its growth and success.
In the world of entrepreneurship, having a strong management team is a crucial element that investors and stakeholders closely examine before deciding to invest in or support a business.
When crafting a compelling business plan, showcasing your management team effectively is vital. This section should include details regarding the members of your management team and explain how their respective skillsets compliment each other and will give your business the best chance of success.
So, let's delve into the essential strategies and best practices to effectively introduce your management team and leave a lasting impression on those who hold the keys to your business's success.
In this guide:
What is the objective of the management team subsection of your business plan?
What information should i include when presenting the management team in my business plan.
- How long should the management section of your business plan be?
- Example of management section in a business plan
What tools should I use to write my business plan?
The part presenting the management team aims to detail the qualifications and experience of the management team responsible for leading the company.
When writing this section, your goal should be to demonstrate to potential investors that the professionals hired by your business are qualified to hold leadership roles because they have the required expertise and exeperience.
It is crucial to address any skills or experience gaps within your management team. Explain your strategies for filling these gaps, and mention if involving a board member to provide additional support in those areas is a possibility.
Another pivotal aspect is emphasizing your management team's cohesiveness and successful collaboration. This is necessary as potential investors are not just interested in the product or service you offer, but they also invest in the people behind the business.
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In professional business plans, the management team subsection is usually placed at the end of the company section, after the presentation of the business’ structure, ownership, and location.
The management team subsection should aim to provide the investors with a comprehensive understanding of who's responsible for delivering the business plan.
Let’s have a look at the different aspects that this section should cover:
Business structure and role
Start by giving an outline of how your business is or will be structured internally (i.e. the overall hierarchy and where each individual is positioned).
You should keep this section focused in people in leadership position. The exact number of relevant people will vary based on the size of your business. For example, this could involve naming the CEO, CFO and CMO, or the managing director and his right hand in a smaller business.
You can provide an organisational chart in the appendices to make this easier for the reader to understand your exact organization.
A detailed profile for each member of the management team is necessary and should include the following details:
- Background information including their gender and nationality
- Their educational background emphasizing any degrees or certifications that are relevant to their roles
- Qualifications or accreditations that hold team members distinct in their particular industries
- A rundown of all relevant job experience, both in the same sector/role or in other industries
- Both hard and soft skills that each team member possesses which makes them an asset to the business
- Details of how long they've been with the company
Incorporating visual aids, such as organizational charts and images of the management team members helps improve the readability of this section.
These representations prove especially beneficial in situations like pitching sessions, where potential investors may have the opportunity to engage with the team face-to-face in the future.
Succession planning (if applicable)
Briefly describe your succession planning approach if your company has plans for future leadership transitions.
Discuss how important individuals may leave their positions over time and how the business aims to replace them.
If your business is a start-up, describe why the founders decided to start this business together, how long they've known each other, and what motivated them.
Some roles or positions may be vacant for startups or businesses that are still in the early stages of growth. It is crucial to discuss these positions and provide a staffing strategy in such situations.
How long should the management section of your business plan be?
As a general rule of thumb, 2 to 3 paragraphs per individual can be considered a good starting point. This recommendation may need to be modified depending on the size of your management team and the specific characteristics of your industry:
- If your business has less than five people: each member of the management team is crucial. To showcase the team's trustworthiness in such situations, additional information about each member's background, credentials, and area of specialty is necessary.
- A more concise approach may be acceptable in larger companies with a larger management team. In this case, concentrate on key executives and give a general picture of the leadership structure rather than going into excessive detail on each individual.
- The nature of your industry can also define the level of detail required in the management section. In emerging industries or those with specialized technologies, the reader may not be familiar with all of the details and so it’s important to explain how each team member contributes to the business.
- In industries with strict rules and regulations - medical practice for example - your business plan's management section might need to focus more on the qualifications and experience of each team member. Mentioning their previous roles, especially if they were leaders in other organizations, can make your management section appear stronger and more effective.
Ensure a balance between providing enough detail and avoiding excessive elaboration (CVs can be included in appendix if necessary).
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Example of management section in a business plan
Below is an example of how the management section of your business plan might look like. As you can see, it precedes the products and services section.
The management section of a business plan outlines the organizational structure, key team members, their roles, responsibilities, and expertise, demonstrating the leadership and operational framework of the business.
This example was taken from one of our business plan templates .
In this section, we will review three solutions for creating a business plan for your business: using Word and Excel, hiring a consultant to write the business plan, and utilizing an online business plan software.
Create your business plan using Word or Excel
This is the old-fashioned way of creating a business plan (1990s style) and using Word or Excel has both pros and cons.
On the one hand, using either of these two programs is cheap and they are widely available.
However, creating an error-free financial forecast with Excel is only possible if you have expertise in accounting and financial modeling.
Because of that investors and lenders might not trust the accuracy of your forecast unless you have a degree in finance or accounting.
Also, writing a business plan using Word means starting from scratch and formatting the document yourself once written - a process that can be quite tedious - especially when the numbers change and you need to manually update all the tables and text.
Ultimately, it's up to the business owner to decide which program is right for them and whether they have the expertise or resources needed to make Excel work.
Hire a consultant to write your business plan
Outsourcing your business plan to a consultant can be a viable option, but it also presents certain drawbacks.
On the plus side, consultants are experienced in writing business plans and adept at creating financial forecasts without errors. Furthermore, hiring a consultant can save you time and allow you to focus on the day-to-day operations of your business.
However, hiring consultants is expensive: budget at least £1.5k ($2.0k) for a complete business plan, more if you need to make changes after the initial version (which happens frequently after the first meetings with lenders).
For these reasons, outsourcing the plan to a consultant or accountant should be considered carefully, weighing both the advantages and disadvantages of hiring outside help.
Ultimately, it may be the right decision for some businesses, while others may find it beneficial to write their own business plan using an online software.
Use an online business plan software for your business plan
Another alternative is to use online business plan software .
There are several advantages to using specialized software:
- You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
- You can be inspired by already written business plan templates
- You can easily make your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
- You get a professional document, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank
- The software will enable you to easily track your actual financial performance against your forecast and update your forecast as time goes by
If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try our software for free by signing up here .
Whilst it’s true that all investors aim to maximise profit, it’s also important to remember that they probably won’t finance a business if they are uneasy about the individuals running it.
A well-written management section of your business is, therefore, critical in ensuring that your business plan is able to obtain funding and grow.
Also on The Business Plan Shop
- 7 tips for writing an effective business plan
- Where to write the conclusion of your business plan?
- How to write the location section of your business plan
- How to write the products and services section of your business plan
- How to write the milestones section of your business plan
Know someone who needs help writing up the management section of their business plan? Share this article with them and help them out!
Founder & CEO at The Business Plan Shop Ltd
Guillaume Le Brouster is a seasoned entrepreneur and financier.
Guillaume has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade and has first-hand experience of starting, running, and growing a successful business.
Prior to being a business owner, Guillaume worked in investment banking and private equity, where he spent most of his time creating complex financial forecasts, writing business plans, and analysing financial statements to make financing and investment decisions.
Guillaume holds a Master's Degree in Finance from ESCP Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Business & Management from Paris Dauphine University.
Published on 01 Aug 2023 , last update on 15 Nov 2023 , as per our editorial standards .
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Our guide for founders: how to write a business plan successfully
Adventurers don’t embark on a journey without charting a path first, nor should you as an entrepreneur found a startup without a business plan. Your business plan is your map, and a solid business foundation is your destination. Creating a business plan has many components. You’ll need to decide what kind suits your goals, before laying out the steps required to reach completion. To guide you through these high seas, we’ve put together a guide on how to write a business plan successfully, for you to consult so you can chart your path confidently. Read on to fully understand what a business plan is and why you should create one, which type is right for you, and how to put it together step by step.
What is a business plan?
Your business plan is a document that creates a picture of your business. In it you will clarify the kinds of products or services you offer, who is on your leadership board and staff, how you will finance your business, what your daily operations will be, and anything else key to your success. Visually, you will have the freedom to design your own business plan. Like CVs, there is no one template for a business plan. That being said, There are components you will need to include in the document, and displaying them clearly on the page will inevitably force some recognisable structure into your document.
Why write a business plan?
There are two groups of people for whom you will create your business plan: 1. You and your staff, and 2. Your investors.
For you and your staff
Whether or not you’ll have a staff will not influence your need for a business plan. It just changes how many eyes there will be on it. For yourself, a business plan will lay out in plain terms, soberly and backed up with financial data, all the big plans you have about your venture’s success. As you begin to put down on paper what you hope to achieve, interrogating it with influencing factors, you will begin to understand both the likelihood of completing your goals and the things required for you to do so.
For your investors
Think of your business plan like an argument you will need to present to win the case of financing your venture. All entrepreneurs, even the ones with a huge cache of money saved before they begin, will need to approach investors to finance their companies. In the early stages before you’ve accrued many customers or made many sales, your business plan is the strongest piece of evidence in your case. It not only shows you have planned ahead and thought of all the potential roadblocks, but it demonstrates how the investors themselves would benefit from getting involved with you, ultimately securing funding for your business .
What are the business plan formats?
Before putting together your business plan, you’ll need to determine what kind will serve you best. Business plan formats differ in length and content, depending on the size and type of company you plan to run. Typical business plan formats are:
- Traditional business plans
- Lean business plans
- Nonprofit business plans
Traditional business plan
The traditional business plan format is the most common and most comprehensive type. They often reach around 40 pages and are suited to entrepreneurs with long-term, large growth plans for their ventures, reaching investors they hope to convince to invest heavily in their businesses. Approach the traditional format like you would a comprehensive blueprint of your business’s future. You want to cover as much as possible, to have already answered the majority of questions that might come up when someone takes a look at your business plan. Below, we’ll lay out the steps to creating a traditional business plan, including how to draft these necessary components:
- Executive summary
- Business description and strategy
- Industry analysis
- Market analysis
- Organisation and management
- Financial projections
- Financing request
Lean business plan
This is the kind of business plan that works for a startup. If you’re keen to get started quickly and don’t need a huge amount of resources right at the beginning, a lean startup might be the way to go. While it’s a concern that you might opt for a lean startup plan when a more comprehensive one would serve you better, it’s conversely true that spending too much time on a business plan when a lean one will suffice is detrimental too. Not only do you waste time and resources putting one together, but without a staff or management board involved, or many investors needed, you’re simply expending effort that need not be expended. Putting together a lean startup plan, you won’t need to include as strict a list of components as the traditional model requires. Lean business plans are more about general subheadings denoting what to include.
- Identifying a problem
- Proposing your solution
- Presenting your key metrics
- Describing your unique value proposition
- Explaining your marketing strategy
- Estimating your target market
- Laying out your cost structure
- Listing your revenue streams
Nonprofit business plan
Crafting a nonprofit business plan will mean focusing on appealing to donors rather than investors. Therefore, your chief concern will be appealing to a problem and providing a solution to it. Beyond this, the basic structure of a nonprofit business plan will be the same as a traditional one, or lean business plan depending on the size of your venture. Our steps below can be used for this kind of business plan.
How to write a business plan in 8 steps
Creating a business plan can seem like huge task. But if you break it down to just a few simple steps, it quickly become a quite manageable affair:
- Business description
Step 1: Executive summary
Here is where you lay out the contents of your ensuing business plan. Use it to highlight the most important parts of your plan, which will depend on the kind of business you will be running. If you are running a nonprofit business, emphasise the urgency of the problem you plan to solve, through data and figures which help to clarify the need for donors. It’s with the executive summary that you want to capture the reader’s attention and then explain in brief terms what your business stands for and what you are going to do. You can think of the executive summary like a microcosm of the overall business plan. Be sure to include:
- Objective of your business
- Target market you intend to reach
- Products and services you aim to provide
- Marketing and sales strategies you will employ
- Analysis of competitors in your chosen market
- Funding and budget allocation for strategies and operations
- Number of employees you will hire
- How you will implement your business plan
Lean business plans should also include the above components in an executive summary. Ideally, you will present them in a shorter form, through bullet points rather than explanatory paragraphs.
Step 2: Business description
With the business description, you can make clear what makes your business unique among the others in your market. Answer these questions when putting together your business description: What do I do that my competitors don’t? Analyse your main competitors’ websites and mission statements. What services do they provide that match yours? How will you offer yours differently? How do they manufacture their products in ways you could improve upon? What is my company philosophy? Also called your mission statement or brand identity, your philosophy is the driving purpose for which you created your company. Brand identity is more common today with companies aligning themselves with causes, making this part of your business description equally important whether you are profit- or donation-based. Who are my target customers? Demonstrate a clear understanding of who you wish to reach with your product or services. Consider demographic, region, wealth status, occupations, and age when outlining your potential customer base. What are my goals? Finally, what do you hope to achieve with your business venture? Investors and donors want to see ambition, but they also want to see realism. Counter your ambitious goals with expectations that situate them in the realm of possibility without eliminating the possibility to do something great.
Step 3: Industry analysis
Ideally, you should know what industry you’re getting into before you start putting together your business plan. Industry analysis in a business plan is about presenting to interested parties a thorough understanding of more than just your competitors—it’s also about the historical developments and influencing factors within your industry: what has formed it and what might continue to shape it in the future. Include in your industry analysis things like:
- The influencing factors in your industry: what causes the competition to intensify/decrease, how customers’ needs have changed/are changing, what technological innovations have/will change your industry, how globalisation affects your industry, which government bodies will regulate your industry.
- The current attractiveness of the industry: whether or not now is the right time to be in your chosen industry, what are the challenges/advantages of entering this industry now, how does the trajectory of this industry look when forecasting its future.
It’s also important to clarify where in that industry you stand, and to be realistic about your competition. For example, if you’re opening a film studio, it may be accurate to say that your industry includes Disney and Netflix, but it would be unrealistic to assume you can compete with them. Instead, further break down your industry competitors by finding ones more similar to you: what kind of films might your studio produce? What will the general budget of those films be? Who are the other studios with similar budget margins and output type?
Step 4: Market analysis
Market analysis and industry analysis may seem like the same thing, however they have a crucially different focus: where industry analysis focuses on your competitors, market analysis is focused on your customer base. To return to the film studio example, the market will have to be more narrow than ‘people who watch movies’. Instead, it would be better to appeal to demographic by genre, censorship rating, style, etc. Gathering data on such a demographic will be too broad and impossible to determine any useful metrics or trends. Sharpen your market analysis by introducing factors that will drain the pool a bit:
- Customer age/location/family status etc.
- Customer shopping habits
- Potential number of buyers/subscribers
- Amount customers are willing to spend
Keep your analysis broad enough to ensure growth if your venture is successful, but remember that at the business planning stage, accuracy and realistic expectations are key.
Step 5: Organisation and management
Less relevant for startups putting lean business plans together, this section will lay out the structure of your staff and board of directors. In other words, who is involved and what are they doing? Divide this section into two sections:
- Business structure and people involved
- Management team or board of directors
Usually displayed visually, your business structure will lay out the hierarchy of your company. In the form of the chart, position the founders, management teams, and staff in whatever structure best suits you.
Here, bring a personal element to your organisational structure. Describe what each member (incl. yourself) of your management team brings to the company, with all of or a selection of these details:
- Ownership percentage
- Involvement level
- Ownership type (stocks, general partner, etc.)
- Company position
- Educational background
- Relevant skills and experience
- Relevant employment history
- Awards received
Step 6: Financial projections
Two year financial projections will help readers of your business plan understand your cash flow, loan repayment schedules—ultimately what you plan to do with your money and how. Similar to your business budget . Here are the key elements of the financial projections section of your business plan:
- Spending and sales: daily operations like rent, utilities, production materials; one time purchases such as vehicles, software; countered with projected sales revenue for the month
- Financial projections: monthly expenses and revenue cash flow demonstrating cash flow for the first twelve months of business operations; determine projected annual income with statements and balance sheet predictions
- Contingency plan: demonstrate plan for unexpected expenses via financial projections and cash flows; how you plan to handle sudden events; present in the form of a cash reserve
Plan for your business and your finances accordingly–with Qonto's digital business account.
Step 7: Financing request
Towards the end of your financial projections section is where you ask for funding from readers. Having presented a detailed and thorough understanding of your business operations and cash flows you can now make your case for corporate financing . You will need to include in your financing request:
- Amount required
- Future financial plans
- Financial history
- Loan repayment terms
When filling in these requirements keep these things in mind:
- Who is my audience for this report? Your readers are your financiers. How will you reach them? Appealing for a profit-based vs nonprofit business will require a different kind of approach in this section, as you are speaking to donors vs people who are hoping to profit through their investments to you.
- Have I been accurate in my presentation? Make sure the information you have provided previously matches the funding request you are about to make. The ending of your business plan should be like the ending of a good movie: it makes sense considering the events that preceded it.
- Is my request reasonable? What you are asking for should be a balance between what you need and what you hope to receive. Asking too low will cause you to seek more financing later on, and asking too high might be met with scepticism or outright rejections.
Step 8: Appendix
The final section of your report will provide any supporting documents that have been requested by your readers. This could be:
- Credit history report
- Product pictures
- Reference letters
Writing the best business plan: tips and common mistakes
Understanding how to write your business plan most successfully means keeping several things in mind while putting together all the components. A good business plan is the product of a forward-thinking and logical business owner who knows what they want and how to deliver it clearly. Keep these concepts in mind when putting your business plan together:
How long does your business plan need to be? Long-winded business plans that provide too much information when it isn’t needed. We tend to glaze over when looking at a document providing more than the necessary information. You don’t want potential investors glazing over your report.
A business plan might not seem like the right medium in which to convey passion, but this is misleading and potentially dangerous. Too many business reports are dry documents. Investors and donors want to see a business owner who believes in what they do, who sees a bright future ahead for themselves and the people who work with them. Use your opening section and business description to communicate what makes your business more than just a business—it’s your passion.
Know exactly who you’re speaking to. Keep your audience in mind at all times when crafting your document so that you only put in information relevant to those readers. A business plan that appeals too broadly will only harm your potential to convince.
There are a lot of components to a good business plan. Whether lean or traditional, you will have to consider your venture from many different angles and back up a lot of your proposals with research. But the more effort you put into this stage of business formation, the stronger foundation on which you’ll start your business, increasing the likelihood of a long term career. Hopefully, our extensive guide on how to write a business plan has provided some useful pointers on getting started with your business plan.
- A business plan is a document which a founder presents to potential investors and interested parties, to demonstrate the financing and operations of their business venture
- Business plans are useful to both staff and founders, as well as potential investors
- Business plans come in three types: traditional, lean, and nonprofit
- Write your business plan by first putting together and executive summary and business description to establish what you do
- Market and industry analyses will demonstrate your understanding of the competition and potential customer base
- Organisation and management lays out the structure of your business and staff
- Financial projections and funding request sections clarify your financial standing and what kind of financing you require from readers
- The appendix includes any extra documents requested by the reader
- Keep in mind length, audience, and passion when writing your business plan
How to Go From Startup Founders to a Growing Team
9 min. read
Updated October 27, 2023
My co-founder Andrew and I built Canny , a SaaS tool to help businesses collect and manage customer feedback and build their product roadmap, from the ground up.
Canny is 100% bootstrapped —we haven’t taken any outside funding. We’re profitable, and we just cracked $800K in annual recurring revenue earlier this year. We’re now a team of seven ( and growing ).
However, for a long time, Canny was a scrappy team of two.
Here’s how we got started, and our lessons learned from growing a bootstrapped company.
- How we got started as entrepreneurs
Andrew and I met while I was an intern at Facebook. During that time, we began to work on a tool called Product Pains (which would eventually become Canny) together.
It started as my thesis project — a tool for users to give feedback about different products. We felt as users that companies rarely cared about what we had to say. We knew there had to be a solution to this.
While I finished school, Andrew worked on Product Pains as a side project . Eventually, we both quit our full-time jobs to build and launch Product Pains, which would soon evolve into Canny.
- What we’ve learned from scaling Canny and growing our team
It’s challenging enough to start a business . But, once you’re past those early days, growing a business brings entirely different challenges.
We’re a SaaS company , so depending on what kind of business you run, your situation might be a little different. If you’re a first-time founder, here’s our advice for scaling your team effectively.
1. Focus on matching skill sets and teamwork
Having compatibility on your team is essential. From the very beginning, it’s important to make sure you and your founding team work well together.
Before Andrew and I started Canny, we’d already worked together on a number of smaller projects. At one point, we even participated in a hackathon where we won $45,000. It was pretty clear we worked together well.
This was really important when it came to actually starting a business. We knew we made a good team.
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We also knew, as an engineer and designer pairing, we could build a software product without hiring for a while. This made it possible for us to build Canny without having to bring on other people.
Our skill sets were complementary—and this was a huge advantage. It’s a lot easier to get started with a small team if you and your co-founder(s) have skill sets that complement each other, rather than only overlapping skills.
- Pick co-founders that you know you work well with. If you can test out working together first, that’s ideal.
- The more your skills complement each other, the easier it will be to build your business in the beginning before you have a team.
2. Do a lot with a little
As a startup, you usually can’t afford a large team at the beginning. In the beginning, it’s important to focus on sustainable growth while keeping costs low.
So to start, we focused on building the product. Plus, we couldn’t afford to hire—so in some ways, this made the decision easy.
We also knew we didn’t want venture capital funding. Many startups fundraise to scale their teams right away. In exchange, you give away ownership. We knew we didn’t want to go that route. The “growth at all costs” mindset didn’t sound appealing; we wanted to build a profitable, sustainable company for ourselves and for our customers.
The limitation of not being able to pay anyone ended up being an advantage. We had to be patient. And we knew that once we could afford to hire, it would mean the business was doing well.
- You might not be able to hire right away. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s easier to be all-in when you don’t have to worry about paying a team as well as yourself.
- Be scrappy in the beginning—especially if you’re bootstrapped. There is probably a lot you can do before you need to think about hiring. Focus on your strengths.
- If you can’t afford to hire after you’ve been up and running for a bit, it might be time to reassess. Your idea might not be as profitable as you’d initially thought .
3. Build a team starting with high-impact areas
Going from founders-only to a team is a big step—you can’t be on the fence about the people you bring on. When you’re a new startup with a small team, you need to be picky.
When we started thinking about expanding our team , the first step was figuring out which areas would have the most impact. We asked ourselves:
- What role will help us grow the most?
- Which tasks are taking up a lot of our time?
- What type of work are we worst at or we least enjoy doing?
We love doing support and talking to our customers. However, handling it all ourselves was incredibly distracting because of how sporadic the requests were. So, for our first hire, we focused on finding an expert in customer success.
Andrew and I aren’t marketers. We knew that for Canny to grow, we needed to focus on marketing. So, we hired for marketing.
That said, we also aren’t experts in sales. But, we decided that a sales hire could come later, since we could (for the time being) handle demos ourselves, and we were still in the process of building our sales funnel. We wanted to focus on the roles that would have the biggest impact in the beginning.
We knew it would be crucial to approach hiring very carefully. We’re 100% remote , so making sure we all work well together and communicate well is huge. We’ve written about this often on the Canny blog because it matters a lot to us that we bring on people who are a good fit for the team.
- Your first non-founder team members should fill roles that will have a huge impact. What roles would have the biggest impact on your ability to keep growing?
- What are you worst at? What work do you hate doing? Think about these areas for first hires as well.
- Be selective. Vet all candidates very thoroughly—both their skills and how they’ll work as part of the team. Don’t be afraid to give test projects or trial periods.
4. Trust who you give ownership of your “baby”
One of the pros of being founders-only is that you own and oversee everything.
But, that’s also a huge challenge. You own everything . You wear multiple hats, and this can get overwhelming. Plus, you’re probably not an expert at everything you’re doing.
That said, giving away responsibility can be scary. You’ve built a company, and you don’t want to give away ownership to just anyone.
In addition to hiring carefully, hire experts. For early hires, more “junior” team members aren’t usually a great choice.
The more your new team members own their roles, the better. Look for people who can take ownership of their respective area and run with it. Work with them to set goals, and make sure they’re accountable for meeting those goals.
The less oversight you have to maintain, the better. It’ll free up your time and energy, and you’ll be able to trust that your “baby” is in good hands.
- Hire experts who can own their respective roles. If you trust their skills and decision-making, it’ll feel good to hand over the reins.
- It’s not just about skill set. Make sure your new team members can take ownership of their respective space.
- Don’t micromanage. Instead, set goals and hold people accountable to hitting those goals.
5. Embrace the role of “manager”
One of the biggest challenges of growing a team? Becoming a manager.
If you’ve been heads-down building product, it can feel quite jarring to suddenly be managing a team. You might not have held this particular type of leadership role before. It was completely new to me.
It’s an overlooked aspect of founding a company. You’re not just growing your business—you’re also responsible for leading a team and helping your employees grow.
Joining an early-stage startup is a big deal. The people you hire are putting a lot of faith in you and your idea.
The most important thing we’ve done has been weekly check-ins (AKA 1:1s). These meetings aren’t for reporting on everything they’ve been working on. They’re a chance to talk about any roadblocks, what’s working and what isn’t, how they’re feeling at work, etc.
As a first-time manager, it’s my goal to make sure my team feels supported— not suffocated.
- Be prepared for the transition from “doer of all things” to “manager” to be a little jarring. That’s okay. It’s important to build management time into your weekly schedule.
- Communicate with your team—hold regular 1:1s, ask how you could be supporting them better.
- To grow, you can’t do everything
In order to scale, you need to build a team. You simply can’t do everything. While it may be daunting, if you remember the following you can establish a successful team:
- Hire slowly and carefully.
- Keep incredibly open communication. Tell your new team members what’s working and what isn’t. Let them tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
- Hire people you trust, so you don’t have to micromanage them. Hire experts in their fields, who can take ownership with minimal oversight.
- Accept that you’ll make mistakes. They’re not permanent and they’re not the end of the world.
Growing pains are inevitable, but they’re positive. We’ve been very conscious that giving away ownership is something we will have to do. And it’s a good thing. Founders can’t carry the whole company on their backs.
Ultimately, you’ll end up with even more people excited to help you build what you’re building. They’ll be better than you in their respective areas —which is what you need to continue to grow. Growing our team has been one of the most rewarding parts of our journey.
Clarify your ideas and understand how to start your business with LivePlan
Sarah is a founder at Canny: helping teams inform their product decisions with customer feedback. As a founder, she dabbles in pretty much everything but her expertise is in product design. Outside of work, she can be found drawing or singing a cappella.
Table of Contents
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- The Benefits and Risks of Writing a Business Plan
- The Main Objectives of a Business Plan
- What to Include and Not Include in a Successful Business Plan
- The Top 4 Types of Business Plans
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Business Plan Deck
- 6 Tips for Making a Winning Business Presentation
- 12 Ways to Set Your Business Goals and Objectives
- 3 Key Things You Need to Know About Financing Your Business
- How to Use Your Business Plan Most Effectively
- How to Pitch Your Business Plan in 6 Minutes
- The Basics of Writing a Business Plan
- How to Assess the Potential of Your Business Idea
- How to Fund Your Business Through Friends and Family Loans and Crowdsourcing
- How to Fund Your Business Using Banks and Credit Unions
- How to Fund Your Business With an SBA Loan
- How to Fund Your Business With Bonds and Indirect Funding Sources
- How to Fund Your Business With Venture Capital
- How to Fund Your Business With Angel Investors
- How to Use Your Business Plan to Track Performance
- How to Make Your Business Plan Attractive to Prospective Partners
- When to Update Your Business Plan
- How to Write the Management Team Section to Your Business Plan
- How to Create a Strategic Hiring Plan
- How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary That Sells Your Idea
- How to Raise Money With Your Business Plan's Executive Summary
- How To Build a Team of Outside Experts for Your Business
- Use This Worksheet to Write a Product Description That Sells
- What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition? Use This Worksheet to Find Your Greatest Strength.
- Customers and Investors Don't Want Products. They Want Solutions.
- 5 Essential Elements of Your Industry Trends Plan
- How to Identify and Research Your Competition
- Who Is Your Customer? 4 Questions to Ask.
- How to Identify Market Trends in Your Business Plan
- How to Define Your Product and Set Your Prices
- How to Determine the Barriers to Entry for Your Business
- How to Get Customers in Your Store and Drive Traffic to Your Website
- How to Effectively Promote Your Business to Customers and Investors
- How to Write an Income Statement for Your Business Plan
- How to Make a Balance Sheet
- How to Make a Cash Flow Statement
- How to Use Financial Ratios to Understand the Health of Your Business
- How to Write an Operations Plan for Retail and Sales Businesses
- How to Make Realistic Financial Forecasts
- How to Write an Operations Plan for Manufacturers
- How to List Personel and Materials in Your Business Plan
- What Equipment and Facilities to Include in Your Business Plan
- What Technology to Include In Your Business Plan
- The Best Books, Sites, Trade Associations and Resources to Get Your Business Funded and Running
- How to Hire the Right Business Plan Consultant
- Business Plan Lingo and Resources All Entrepreneurs Should Know
- How to Write a Letter of Introduction
- What To Put on the Cover Page of a Business Plan
- How to Format Your Business Plan
- 6 Steps to Getting Your Business Plan Seen
- The Best Ways to Follow Up on a Buisiness Plan
How to Write the Management Team Section to Your Business Plan Think you've got an all-star lineup? These are the key characteristics to showcase.
By Entrepreneur Staff • Oct 27, 2023
- Who to include in your org chart
- The key traits to highlight
This is part 8 / 8 of Write Your Business Plan: Section 3: Selling Your Product and Team series.
One crucial aspect of any business plan is the management team slide, which outlines the key employees in the organization. Here are some things to keep in mind when putting together your all-star lineup.
Put Yourself First
Don't be modest. If you're the head of the business, you should feature yourself first. After all, you are the entrepreneur behind the business venture, and you will have to put your neck on the line, answer the hard questions, and take the criticism— as well as the praise and acclaim, should there be some.
If you want to impress people with your management team, it's essential to let your readers know who is at the helm and who is selecting the management team. Explain your background, including your vision, your credentials, and why you chose the management team you did.
A business follows the lead of the founder, and as such, you need to briefly explain what is expected of this management team and the role you see it, as a group, playing in the future of this business.
Related: Does Your Team Have the Right Stuff to Attract Venture Capital?
Highlight These Characteristics
Identifying your managers is about presenting what they bring to the table. You can provide this by describing them in terms of the following characteristics:
Education Impressive educational credentials among company managers provide strong reasons for an investor or other plan reader to feel good about your company. Use your judgment in deciding what educational background to include and how to emphasize it. If you're starting a fine restaurant, for example, and your chef graduated at the top of her class from the Culinary Institute of America, play that front and center. If you're starting a courier service and your partner has an anthropology degree from a little-known school, mention it, but don't make a big deal out of it.
Employment Prior work experience in a related field is something many investors look for. If you've spent ten years in management in the retail men's apparel business before opening a tuxedo outlet, an investor can feel confident that you know what you're doing. Likewise, you'll want to explain your team members' key, appropriate positions. Describe any relevant jobs in terms of job title, years of experience, names of employers, and so on. But remember, this isn't a resume. You can feel free to skim over or omit any irrelevant experience. You do not have to provide exact dates of employment.
Related: How to Craft a Business Plan That Will Turn Investors' Heads
Skills A title is one thing, but what you learn while holding it is another. In addition to pointing out that you were a district sales manager for a stereo equipment wholesaler, you should describe your responsibilities and the skills you honed while fulfilling them. Again, list your management team's skills that pertain to this business. A great cook may have incredible accounting skills, but that doesn't matter in the new restaurant's kitchen.
Each time you mention skills that you or a management team member has spent years acquiring at another company, it will be another reason for an investor to believe you can do it at your own company.
Accomplishments Dust off your plaques and trot out your calculator for this one. If you or one of your team members has been awarded patents, achieved record sales gains, or once opened an unbelievable number of new stores in the space of a year, now's the time to talk about it. Don't brag. Just be factual and remember to quantify. If, for example, you have twelve patents, your sales manager had five years of thirty percent annual sales gains, and you oversaw the grand openings of forty-two stores in eleven months, this is the stuff investors and others reading your business plan will want to see. Investors are looking to back impressive winners, and quantifiable results speak strongly to businesspeople of all stripes.
Personal information Investors want to know with whom they're dealing in terms of the personal side. Personal information on each member of your management team may include age, city of residence, notable charitable or community activities, and, last but not least, personal motivation for joining the company. Investors like to see vigorous, committed, and involved people in the companies they back. Mentioning one or two of the relevant personal details of your key managers may help investors feel they know what they're getting into, especially in today's increasingly transparent business climate.
Related: How to Evaluate Your Startup Like a VC
Who to Include in Your Plan
Should you mention everyone in your organization down to shop foremen or stop with the people on your executive committee? The answer is probably neither. Instead, think about your managers in terms of the crucial functions of your business.
In deciding the scope of the management section of your plan, consider the following business functions, and make sure you've explained who will handle those that are important to your enterprise:
- Human Resources
- Technical Operations
Related: How To Build a Team of Outside Experts for Your Business
What Does Each Person Do?
There's more to a job than a title. A director in one organization is a high and mighty individual, whereas a director is practically nobody in another company. Many industries have unique job titles, such as managing editor, creative director, and junior accountant level II, with no counterparts in other industries.
In a longer plan, when you give your management team's background and describe their titles, don't stop there. Go on and tell the reader exactly what each management team member will be expected to do in the company. This may be especially important in a startup, where not every position is filled. If the CFO will handle your marketing work until you get further down the road, let readers know this upfront. You certainly can't expect them to figure that out on their own.
In a shorter business plan, or mini-plan , choose those people most vital to your business. If you are opening a martial arts studio, the instructors, or lead instructors, are significant, as is the software developer in a new software company. While you have room to describe these people in more detail in a longer plan, in the shorter miniplans, use one defining sentence for your top five people.
Related: 6 Tips for Making a Winning Business Presentation
If you do have significant holes in your management team, you'll want to describe your plans for filling them. You may say, for example, "Marketing duties are being handled temporarily by the vice president for finance. Once sales have reached the $500,000 per month level, approximately six months after startup, a dedicated vice president of marketing will be retained to fulfill that function."
In some cases, particularly if you're in a really shaky startup and need solid talent, you may have to describe in some detail your plans for luring a hotshot industry expert to your fledgling enterprise. Then, briefly describe your ideal candidate. For a mini-plan, you may write, "We plan to hire a marketing VP who excels in reaching our 20–29 target market."
Related: Vusi Thembekwayo's 7 Rules of Pitching
More in Write Your Business Plan
Section 1: the foundation of a business plan, section 2: putting your business plan to work, section 3: selling your product and team, section 4: marketing your business plan, section 5: organizing operations and finances, section 6: getting your business plan to investors.
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Subscribe for exclusive access, the ultimate guide to creating the perfect founding team.
Written by Jonathan Chan | April 25, 2022
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There’s an art to creating the perfect founding team.
A startup can have all the potential in the world, but nothing can derail things faster than its “people problems.” In a study about startup performance , venture capitalists attribute 65% of company failures to problems within the startup’s management team.
Make no mistake, more than anything else, startups live and die by the people that bring them to life.
Ideas can pivot and evolve as they grow, funding can always be found somewhere else, the market will always change with a never-ending supply of competitors. But the team that brings it all together forms the company’s DNA.
So, let’s get down to it, let’s break down what makes the perfect founding team!
Table of Contents
Why You Need a Team
The magic number, what a founding team should look like, what kind of founding team do you need, the perfect team has:, where to build your team of founders, founding team faqs.
While there’s nothing wrong with being a solopreneur, you have to realize that you’re playing with a handicap from the get-go.
According to the Startup Genome Report , solo founders, on average, take 3.6 times longer to scale when compared to startup teams of two or more. It also found that teams were more likely to attract investors and experience success in comparison to solo founders.
Why is that? Well for one thing, to investors, it’s a vote of no confidence.
It doesn’t matter how hard-working or talented you may be, or how brilliant your idea is. To investors, it looks like no one else but you believes in your idea.
But most importantly, you won’t have a partner to help pick you back up when things go wrong. In the startup world, the highs are high, and the lows are low.
When you inevitably hit the trough of sorrow, it’ll hurt, and picking yourself back up is a hell of a task. Having a friend to talk to, who understands exactly what you’re going through, to be there when you need it makes all the difference in the world.
While undoubtedly the most famous, Steve Jobs was not the only founder of Apple. It took the collective efforts of Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ron Wayne to get Apple off the ground.
Bill Gates had Paul Allen, Richard Branson had Nik Powell, and while Arianna Huffington may be the editor-in-chief and face of The Huffington Post, it was a team of four founders that brought it to life.
It’s not impossible to go solo but a startup is hard enough, so why go it alone?
Don’t Skip: How to Start a Startup (Advice from 16+ Successful Founders)
Here’s an interesting bit of information. After analyzing a handful of successful startups, apparently, the perfect number of cofounders is 2.09. Others will argue that three is the perfect number. But it’s generally agreed upon that four is pushing it, and any more than that is just inviting chaos.
The reason is that a founding team should be as lean as possible. Two is good because it allows you to distribute the necessary workload and trust is high. Three allows for more diversity of skill and specialized roles but introduces more opportunities for unnecessary drama. Four means you can, theoretically, get even more work done, but trust is generally lower and politics come into play.
Any more than four means you have a committee, and you’re more likely to be focusing on power plays and egos rather than working together to build a great product.
But whether or not you choose to have a founding team of two, four, or eight, what really matters is the diversity of roles, experience, and responsibilities. Because if your cofounder is just a carbon-copy of yourself, then you’ve got a big storm coming.
The last thing you want your founding team to be is a collection of skills and abilities that don’t complement each other. At the end of the day, the size of your team is nowhere near as important as the qualities that each individual member brings.
The perfect founding team will have these three roles: the visionary, the hustler, and the hacker. Together these three make up the golden triangle, the foundation of every successful founding team.
Regardless of a team’s size, you need to fulfill these three roles if you want to succeed. Any other roles, while helpful, are unnecessary in the early stages. If you have someone on your team that isn’t fulfilling any of these following roles, then cut them—they’re not useful right now and will only slow you down. Remember you want to be as lean as possible.
Here’s a breakdown of each of these three roles and why you absolutely need them.
Often, but not always, the CEO, the visionary is the beating heart of the team. While everyone understands the overall goals and objectives, the visionary is the one with the stars in their eyes, the one who sees into the future. They have that unique ability to articulate that dream to others. To convince the skeptics among the customers, market, and investors, and inspire the rest of the team. Their job is, at all times, people-facing.
While not always the best at the detail-oriented stuff, the visionary is all about the big picture. Whether it’s coming up with the overall strategy, recruiting and hiring the best talent for the company, or making sure that the right people are kept happy. They have the responsibility of working on their business, not just in it.
Visionaries keep their eyes on the prize and are always looking to capitalize on even the smallest of opportunities.
They’re always looking to grow and expand the business, and are ready to adapt and pivot if the circumstances call for it. Even if it’s through sheer force of character, visionaries refuse to let setbacks hold them back, and barrel forward, rallying the rest of the team as they go.
It’s the visionary who organizes the rest of the team, and perhaps most importantly, inspires them.
If the visionary is the heart of the founding team, then the hustler is the arms and legs.
The hustler is simultaneously the doer and the taskmaster of the group, setting the pace and making damn sure everyone else keeps up. What they don’t know they’ll learn, and what can’t be efficiently done they’ll put in the hours to hammer it out. The hustler is not defined by position or title, but by attitude.
While hustlers can see and understand the bigger picture, instead they focus on the smaller scale of things.
All those detailed bits and pieces, the day-to-day operations that need to be done in order for the grand vision to happen. The visionary may set up the board, but it’s the hustler that moves the pieces.
A background in either marketing, technology , business development, or financials would be ideal. But the hustler ultimately walks the middle road, they’re the jack-of-all-trades competent enough to fill whatever role is necessary until a more suitable replacement can be found.
Bear in mind, that does not mean that the hustler is replaceable. In fact, finding someone with that right combination of driving force and willpower is rare in and of itself. Hustlers make sure that the visionaries and hackers stay grounded and working together. They keep their eyes on the bottom line and make sure the ship keeps driving forward.
There is only one thing that the hacker focuses on: product, product, product.
The brains of the operation, their entire job is to make sure that the required tech and hardware is up to scratch. If it’s a tech startup you’ll need an amazing programmer; if the business is a restaurant then you need an amazing chef; if you’re running a VC firm then you better have someone who knows the market.
Whatever your business is, you need someone who lives and breathes the product.
From the get-go, the hacker should be able to conceptualize what the design of the product should be like—what people should expect and why it’s amazing. From there, they need to have a problem-solver mentality and always be looking for different ways to develop and improve the value of whatever it is they’re working on.
In the early stages of a startup, the product is incredibly important, simply because without a product, there is no business. How well-made or valuable a product depends solely on the expertise of the hacker.
Make sure you choose your hacker carefully because the product starts and stops with them.
As you can see, each role is vitally important, and one cannot exist without the others. This demonstrates again why going solo is so difficult. It’s almost impossible for one person to fulfill all three roles effectively.
That said, while it is better to have one person dedicated to each role, it isn’t mandatory. For example, it isn’t uncommon to have founding teams of two where one cofounder has the dual responsibility of being the visionary and the hustler, or startup teams of four where the role of the hacker is shared by two people.
When it comes to figuring out your perfect founding team, Steve Blank recommends using the Business Model Canvas. It’s a simple tool that allows you to focus on the nine essential elements of a business model, all arranged to represent how they influence each other.
This surprisingly simple tool is all you need when it comes to finding the best founding team for your business.
First, the Key Activities box defines your product and how it’s delivered to your customer. Then compare that to your Key Resources, where you’ll list everything that’s needed in order to execute those activities. Don’t just list physical resources like money and infrastructure; be sure to note the expertise needed as well.
If there’s a massive gap between what you can bring to the table and the expertise needed to get your startup off the ground, then you need to start looking for a cofounder to fill the need.
Before you start picking up people left and right and asking them to share equity with you, be sure to take a good, hard look at your resources. Ask yourself whether or not you can get by with a consultant or a contractor.
A lot of founders run into this dilemma when it comes to expanding their teams. On one hand, you can get a cofounder who will stay with the company long term, but you’ll dilute your own equity. On the other hand, you could pay someone to do a specific job for you, and once the job’s done or the money runs out, they’re gone.
Some entrepreneurs don’t want to share equity with anyone, so end up breaking the bank with contractors in order to fill the holes in their expertise. One of two things usually happens—either they lose it all in the early stages, or when the business starts to scale they realize that the contractors were only there for the short term and that they really needed a dedicated person.
Other entrepreneurs might panic and immediately share equity with someone, only to discover that in the long run their cofounder’s skills aren’t needed anymore. So, what do you do?
The short answer is, if there is a key resource that is absolutely irreplaceable, not just at the early stage of the startup but throughout the entirety of your business, then get a cofounder. If there are skills that are ultimately replaceable, take a look at your budget and figure out what you’re willing to pay and for how long.
It’s a tough decision, but remember, a founding team needs to be lean. Take full use of the Business Model Canvas and get your bearings. Just remember to surround yourself with people smarter than you.
As any sports fan will tell you, even if your founding team is made up of first-round draft picks, there’s no guarantee that your team will succeed. After all, what makes a team great isn’t the individual talent of each member, but how well a team works together.
As talented as your team of founders may be, it won’t get very far unless it has these three essential qualities.
Trust and Respect
These two are the defining principles of any great relationship, let alone a great business relationship.
If you don’t trust or respect the person you’re working with, the one who you’ll likely be seeing day-in and day-out for as long as your startup exists, then that’s not a cofounder you need.
One thing startup founders hate with a passion is relinquishing control. Something many young entrepreneurs tend to do is micro-manage.
I’m sure we’ve all had that boss who somehow finds the nitpickiest of things to nitpick. It’s annoying as hell, and you get mad because it feels like they don’t trust you. That they don’t respect your skills enough to leave you alone to complete your task.
Build a culture of trust and respect by listening to each other, really learning how to value their opinion if it’s different from yours, and respect each other’s contributions to the team. It’s a two-way street, you can’t get if you don’t give.
If you’re in a startup team where everyone else is just the same as you, then congratulations! You’ve managed to multiply your weaknesses by the number of cofounders you have.
Make no mistake about it, diversity breeds success. Don’t make the mistake of creating a team that looks just like you. Talent is talent, but you’ll usually need to consciously seek out people who are different from you to make sure your team is well-rounded.
According to this study by the Journal of Business Strategy, there are three major ways in which cofounders can differ from each other: opinion, expertise, and power. The study concludes that winning teams are moderate in diversity of opinion, high in diversity of expertise, and low in diversity of power.
This means the perfect founding team consists of people willing to challenge and push each other, are not carbon copies of each other in terms of skills and experience, and all are treated equally.
The perfect founding team’s members are always talking to each other. It’s not enough that cofounders agree to communicate, but they actually follow through with it. Open communication is the single most important factor in creating a positive working atmosphere and culture.
However, communication is more than just simply talking to someone and assuming they’re listening. What you need is a proper conversation, where all parties feel like they’re being listened to, rather than just being talked at.
“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is given out; communication is getting through.” – Sydney Harris
You’ve probably heard this analogy before, but your relationship with a co-founder is a lot like a marriage. Why? Because you’re going to be dealing with that person day-in and day-out for as long as your startup exists. The stress and pressure will make you want to tear your hair out, and possibly each other’s throats. Sounds a lot like marriage doesn’t it?
A startup will take over your life, there’s no way around it. So the person you choose to have as your cofounder better be someone you’d consider a life partner.
Finding such a person can be a tricky business. Going back to the analogy of a startup as a marriage, then finding a cofounder is a lot like dating. Just replace the honeymoon period with late nights at the office screaming at your partner that their ideas are stupid.
For those looking for a cofounder, the best place to look is your professional network. People you’ve gone to school with or worked together with, maybe even someone at your co-working space. Someone who you know you can work with.
You can also look into working together with family or friends. This does offer an advantage because of your shared history and a higher level of trust. But you have to remember to prevent that personal relationship from getting in the way of your professional one, and not many people are good at that.
Of course, you can always create a founding team with a complete stranger. Not always a good thing, but can be if you manage to find the right person. Just don’t ask someone to be your cofounder if that person isn’t someone you’d hire to be your employee.
What qualities should I look for in a founding team?
Look for people that can balance out your strengths and weakness. But more importantly, look for a founding team with the same personal values and vision for your business. Skill sets come and go, but trust is critical to a successful founding team.
How many co-founders should I have?
We suggest three co-founders fitting three different aspects of leading a business—the visionary, the hustler, and the hacker. The visionary sets the macro view and planning of the business. The hustler is the implementer and personnel leader. And last, the hacker focuses on making the best possible product/service for the business.
What legal and financial considerations should I take into account when forming a founding team?
We suggest speaking with a legal professional to help write a contract with your founding team. In the agreement, you can outline revenue shares, equity, and responsibilities. No matter how much you like your founding team, having a legal document will protect you from future liabilities.
Keep Learning: Find a Business Partner Who’ll Help (Not Hurt) Your Business
Now It’s Time to Build Your Business
While the world might love the idea of a sole innovator, of some chosen one singlehandedly bringing about change, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. You can’t become a leader if you have no one to lead.
While every startup team differs in size and shape, the three core roles of the visionary, the hustler, and the hacker remain the same with every successful startup. Chances are, you’re not going to be able to do it all, so do the smart thing and give the job to someone else. As an entrepreneur, you have to be working on the business, not in it.
Surround yourself with smart people and let them do their job while you do yours.
But the perfect team is only perfect because of the bonds that tie them together, not the qualities of each individual. Because a startup will do to a relationship what a dog does to a sock, find every opportunity to tear it apart. Choose a co-founder that complements you, and you know you can trust.
Now that you know how to build a founding team, get the skills to start and scale your business. Browse our selection of free courses for startups and small businesses.
About Jonathan Chan
Jonathan "JC" Chan is the first Content Crafter at Foundr Magazine. When not writing about anything and everything to do with startups, entrepreneurship, and marketing, JC can be found pretending to be the next MMA star at the gym. He has also contributed to outlets such as Huffington Post , Social Media Examiner , MarketingProfs , Hubspot and more. Make sure you connect with him on LinkedIn !
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Top 4 Business Plan Examples
Writing your first business plan be sure to review these four business plan examples from the startups community that really stand out from the crowd..
November 9th, 2022 | By: The Startups Team | Tags: Pitch Deck
Founders have to learn so many new skills when they're launching a startup, and writing a business plan is a big one. When you're writing your business plan for the first time, things can get… intimidating.
What do you include? What kind of wording should you use? What do you make sure not to include? Is a mid size business plan different than an enterprise plan or a scalable startup? Do I need to include financials like cash flow statements? What do investors want to see?
It's enough to make even a stalwart startup founder and management team throw in the towel before they've even begun.
Lucky for you — we've created a complete guide to writing your business plan . Check it out if you haven't already. (And if a link from there brought you here, just keep reading!) We'll share some business plan samples so you can get started writing your own professional business plan.
But, while it's nice to be guided step-by-step, it can also really help to have concrete examples when you're approaching creating something for the first time.
So, with that in mind, here are four sample business plans from the Startups community that we think really stand out from the crowd. We hope that these will serve as a startup business plan template and make it easier to write your own. At a minimum, these will provide some great business plan ideas whether you are writing traditional business plans for an established business or biz plans for an innovative new startup. While we would of course suggest you use our business plan creator, Bizplan.com, you can use these examples with any number of business plan apps or business plan software.
Click on the below links to see fully formatted versions or continue reading for the text-only version of Culina's.
CULINA Executive Summary
Founded: 2013 Headquarters: San Francisco, CA Founder: Kent McClure Market Size: $12.5 billion Target Audience: Homeowners; property managers; insurance providers.
Culina is a San Francisco-based IoT and home automation company. We design an advanced smart hub technology that enables users to interconnect and remotely monitor all of their cooking devices and kitchen appliances through a single user-friendly platform.
To make homes smarter, more connected, and safer for families while helping them save money and conserve energy through the power of affordable, automated technology.
To become the leading provider of IoT technology for kitchen appliances on a global scale with applications across both residential and commercial properties.
Culina Tech is the next leading name in home automation and IoT. We're committed to leading the charge in creating the ultimate smart kitchen for homeowners all around the world. Our revolutionary Smart Plugs enable users to make any kitchen appliance or cooking device intelligent. Compatible with all existing brands that plug into standard two or three-prong wall outlets, Culina creates an entire network of Wi-Fi-connected kitchen devices. The Culina App allows users to remotely monitor the status of and control all devices connected to our Smart Plugs. Whether it's remotely turning on the coffee pot after getting out of bed, turning off the stove if it was accidentally left on via smartphone, or switching on the crockpot before getting home from work, Culina is purpose-built to deliver unrivaled convenience and peace of mind.
With the ability to set energy usage caps on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, Culina helps homeowners stay within their monthly utility budget and save energy in the kitchen through more efficient use of the dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, stove, and other common appliances.
When a device reaches its energy limit, Culina alerts users through their smartphone and is built with the ability to power down the device automatically if the user chooses. The App measures key usage metrics in real-time, allowing users to get an instant dashboard view of energy consumption as it occurs.
Our team has already finished the product development and design phase, with 3 prototype iterations completed, and we are now ready to begin mass manufacturing. We've also gained major traction among consumers and investors alike, with 10,000 pre-ordered units sold and $5 million in capital secured to date.
With this round of funding, our objective is to ramp up hardware manufacturing, improve software UX and UI, expand our sales and marketing efforts, and fulfill pre-orders in time for the 2017 holiday season. We are currently seeking a $15M Series B capital investment that will give us the financial flexibility to achieve these goals. On behalf of the entire Culina Tech team, we'd like to thank you for your time and interest in our company and this investment opportunity.
⇾ 30% Manufacturing ⇾ 25% Sales & Marketing ⇾ 25% Key Hires ⇾ 20% Operational
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It's a quintessential gathering place where families and friends come together to break bread, be merry, and make memories. But the kitchen is also where tragedy often strikes due to misuse of appliances. Kent McClure and his team set out to make the kitchen a safer and more energy-efficient place for the family after a tragic fire struck his own kitchen in late 2012. Thankfully, no lives were lost and everyone in his family made it out safe and sound, but Kent couldn't help but wonder “what if.”
With decades in the industrial design space, Kent knew he had the knowledge and the industry contacts to set out to improve upon home automation devices for the kitchen with a solution that not only made homes safer but also cut down on energy consumption and associated costs. In early 2013, Culina was born. Since that time, Kent and the Culina team have made it their mission to completely revolutionize the home automation and IoT space with innovative, AI-powered technology.
Kent McClure | Founder & CEO Kent is a Carnegie Mellon graduate with over 10 years of executive leadership experience in industrial design and engineering. He has a successful entrepreneurial history, founding a prior tech-based startup which he grew to $100 million in revenue, followed by an acquisition in 2010 and then IPO shortly after.
Sherri Carlson | COO Sherri earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She oversees all of Culina's ongoing operations and procedures and is responsible for driving Culina to achieve and surpass sales, profitability, cash flow, and business goals and objectives.
Martin Frink | CTO Martin is a Stanford University alumnus with extensive technical expertise and over a decade of experience at venture-backed tech companies. He is responsible for Culina's technical vision, heading up all aspects of our technological development, strategic direction, development, and future growth.
Margaret Burns | CFO Margaret earned her degree in Financial Management from NYU. Prior to joining Culina, Margaret spent seven years as CFO for a publicly-traded mobile tech company headquartered in Silicon Valley. She currently manages Culina's financial risks and handles all financial planning, record-keeping, and reporting.
An enormous need exists for dramatic reductions in energy consumption. Businesses alone consume 12-20% of the total US energy supply on food production, processing, manufacturing, distribution, and preparation.
On the residential side, the Energy Information Administration estimates that the average US household uses 11,280 kWh per year. Many homeowners are simply unaware of the large amount of energy consumed by many small household kitchen appliances:
Dishwasher: 133 watts Television: 1,200 to 2,400 watts Coffee Maker: 900 to 1,200 watts Washing Machine: 350 to 500 watts Toaster: 55 to 250 watts Window Fan: 800 to 1,400 watts
The majority of US households now spend roughly 35 percent of their energy consumption on appliances, electronics, and lighting.
Most homeowners don't think about the little details that can help save them money on their energy bill. The vast majority of people keep the refrigerator or freezer too cold, fail to make sure refrigerator door seals are airtight, neglect to regularly defrost fridges and freezers, overload their dishwashers, and keep dishwasher water temperature too hot. As a result, energy consumption remains high, and energy bills remain high.
Not only do kitchens represent a primary source of household energy consumption, but also a primary source of house fires. More fires start in the kitchen than in any other room in the home, and household cooking appliances frequently account for billions of dollars in fire-related insurance claims every year. The number one cause of house fires and house fire injuries is the stove.
✓ 46% of house fires caused by cooking equipment ✓ 62% of house fires caused by ranges or cooktops ✓ $4,000 average fire and smoke damage repair costs
Culina is actively solving both of these common challenges caused by cooking equipment simultaneously. Our technology provides homeowners with immediate, real-time insight into their energy consumption by aggregating data for all kitchen appliances connected to our Smart Plugs while also delivering the preventative intelligence necessary to reduce kitchen-related disasters.
Key Features and Benefits:
We designed our Culina Smart Plugs to work in tandem with an intuitive, user-friendly mobile application — allowing users to gain a much-needed technological upgrade to the most popular room in the house.
Culina Smart Plugs work with standard two and three-pronged appliances and cooking devices. Simply attach the Culina Smart Plug to the appliance's electrical, plug it into the wall, download the Culina app, connect, and configure.
Powered by machine learning artificial intelligence, our Intelligent Culina Response System learns user habits every time someone uses an appliance connected to one of our Smart Plugs.
Our state-of-the-art sensors detect a variety of potential threats to the kitchen — including sudden and unusual temperature fluctuations, poisonous gas and emissions, toxic smoke, and more. Homeowners receive alerts whenever unusual activity is in progress such as a stovetop being left on for too long or during an unusual time of day.
Users can monitor all information directly from an easy-to-navigate dashboard in real-time using the Culina App for iOS and Android. Users can check metrics such as fridge and freezer temperature, cook time, and usage data as it is being gathered.
Remote Appliance Control:
With the Culina App, users can control all connected appliances and devices. If our Smart Plug is attached to a crockpot, for example, a user can add the ingredients before they head to work, activate the crockpot remotely, and come home to a readymade meal waiting for them the moment they step through the front door.
Not only does remote operation over appliances provide convenience, it also serves to prevent kitchen-related hazards. The Culina App includes auto shut-off capabilities allowing users to turn off appliances using their smartphone even when they're not at home. This is particularly useful in the event that users forget to turn off the oven or stove to prevent potential house fires.
In addition to notifying users if an appliance is left on by accident or if it detects a potential hazard, Culina also reminds users anytime regular maintenance is required.
Energy Consumption Data:
Users can also monitor energy consumption on a weekly basis right from the Culina App. By providing at-a-glance insight into whether energy use has gone up or down, users gain the ability to adjust their usage accordingly in order to conserve energy and ultimately save money in utility bills the long term.
Our cloud-based technology integrates with other popular platforms including Google's Nest and Lowe's Iris.
Not only can users conserve money in energy consumption bills with Culina, but new insurance guidelines also provide significant discounts for homeowners who deploy smart technologies in their homes.
Pricing and revenue
Culina will initially monetize from hardware sales.
Our product will sell for $149 MSRP with approximately 40% profit margin. We will initially sell our product through popular e-commerce platforms and through our website — followed by brick-and-mortar outlets including Lowe's, Best Buy, Home Depot, and other major big box retailers.
With much of the heavy lifting already completed, Culina has laid the groundwork for rapid expansion going forward. Here's an overview of our accomplishments since first founding the company in 2013.
Our first-generation product is market-ready and primed for commercial manufacturing. We have pre-sold 10,000 units, representing approximately $1,890,000 in pre-launch revenue. Our immediate customer base growing by the day and we have successfully proven that this is a product that consumers want and are enthusiastic about.
We have secured a total of $5 million in funding from angel investors, founder capital, friends and family, and VCs.
We have applied for and have been granted a provisional patent for our Smart Plug technology.
We are in the process of building relationships with notable industry leaders, influencers, and development teams in the home automation sector. We are also in advanced-stage partnership discussions with a number of major name insurance providers.
Culina has received coverage in many of today's most renowned tech and entrepreneurial publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, The Verge, WIRED, and Engadget, among others.
A US-based contract manufacturer has been secured and is ready to begin production with the capacity to produce around 50K units per month as we scale.
Our initial focus on the consumer space with our launch product is just the first step in our long-term roadmap to growth. In order to capture a larger market share and continue scaling the company exponentially, we are planning on rolling out a B2B model in the future. This will provide Culina with new revenue streams and will offer a valuable, tech-driven solution for businesses.
Commercial kitchens consume a huge amount of energy — roughly 2.5 times more per square foot than any other commercial space, according to the EPA.
The Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) estimates commercial kitchen equipment is often only 50% efficient. The challenge with reducing energy consumption in commercial kitchens is that it's neither practical nor affordable to replace all kitchen equipment or redesign entire workspaces.
In an effort to reduce CO2 emissions, some governments are offering incentives to businesses that can cut back on their carbon footprint. In the UK, Enhanced Capital Allowances allow businesses to benefit from 100% tax relief on their qualifying capital expenditure on energy-saving equipment. This can provide a cash flow boost and an incentive to invest in energy-saving equipment which normally carries a price premium compared to less efficient alternatives.
Our 2nd generation product will represent a revenue-generating and energy-saving solution for commercial kitchens where equipment is frequently selected based on low capital cost with little regard to whole life-cycle cost and the resulting negative energy consumption.
Built on cloud computing, machine-to-machine communication, and information-gathering sensors, the Internet of Things market is rapidly making more and more commonplace devices “smarter.” Factor in the increasing prevalence of smartphones and tablets, and home automation and IoT products are now becoming much easier to use and significantly more affordable than they have ever been before.
What was once only reserved for the wealthy and tech-savvy, everyday consumers now have direct access to and can take advantage of a growing number of home automation devices. The evolution of the Internet of Things has enabled consumers to digitally connect and remotely control everything from their door locks to their thermostat to their garage opener and essentially everything else in between. Evidence of the enormous impact home automation tech has had in the consumer space can be seen in the enormous adoption of products like Nest and Amazon Echo.
The home automation market and Internet of Things (IoT) space is a thriving industry with growth expected to exceed $50 billion by 2020. This represents an estimated 300% increase from today's market of $12.5 billion. Around 8.4 billion connected devices will be installed globally by the end of 2017, representing a +31% increase in just one year. Around 63% of these devices will be used by consumers, with the remainder deployed by businesses.
Culina is perfectly positioned to capitalize on a major multi-billion dollar market opportunity to provide greater protection, actionable intelligence, lower energy consumption, and more cost savings to the millions of homes in the US.
We are directly targeting three specific target populations for our product:
Homeowners are our end users and will benefit the most from our product. For homeowners, Culina represents safety, peace of mind, increased convenience, and an economically-wise investment that pays for itself over time.
Residential Property Managers:
Including apartment complexes and student housing owners. Culina offers increased owner ROI, occupant satisfaction, and significantly lower operational and maintenance costs.
By reducing home fires caused by unattended cooking and the resulting billions of dollars in related insurance claims filed every year. Insurance companies can also leverage our technology to adjust homeowners insurance policy pricing.
Culina has carefully developed a diverse marketing plan intended to keep our brand in the hearts and minds of our existing and prospective customers, enabling us to continue expanding our reach and grow our business. Between our massive social network followings and email database contacts, we regularly communicate directly with over 100,000 consumers.
SEO & Social:
We will drive traffic and conversions to our website using social media marketing via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and others. We are also exploring SEO and SEM.
We consistently release marketing content through our blog that aims to educate our audience about the value that our product provides. Our content marketing efforts aim to influence and persuade readers without having to rely solely on conventional direct selling tactics.
We will launch an initiative to guest blog articles and features in IoT, home automation, and startup tech publications like TechCrunch, Wired, VentureBeat, and other outlets in our industry.
Primary competitors for Culina include other companies that are currently operating in the home automation and Internet of Things space, such as Nest Labs, Amazon Echo, and Wallflower Labs.
Leading home automation company Nest introduced its first product, Nest Learning Thermostat, in 2011. The company was founded in 2010 by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers and is headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Nest was acquired by Google on January 14, 2014, by Google for $3.2 billion and still operates under its own brand identity.
Nest Labs designs programmable, self-learning, sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, smoke detectors, and other security systems.
The 3rd generation Nest Thermostat prices at $249; Nest Indoor and Outdoor Cams are $199; and their Smoke & CO Alarm retails for $99.
After Nest's acquisition, the company has underperformed in sales and fallen below the expectations that Google set for them when it purchased the startup.
Amazon Echo, also known as Alexa, is a voice command device powered by artificial intelligence and designed by mega online retailer Amazon.com. The smart home hub was initially released in November 2014.
Alexa is a voice-activated virtual assistant housed within the Echo smart speaker. Users simply say her name and then ask a question or give a command.
The Amazon Echo retails for $99 for Amazon Prime members and $170 for everyone else.
However, some users have noted the uneven sound quality and limited “skills” capabilities. Users can also only interact and communicate with Alexa in English and German.
Founded December 1, 2013, Wallflower Labs is a Charleston, MA-based startup that designs an internet-connected smart plug that works with any freestanding plug-in electric stove. The company's founder previously founded Yap — a speech recognition technology that was acquired by Amazon in 2011 to help develop Alexa. The startup has raised a total of $2.5 million from three rounds of equity funding to date, with the most recent funding reported at $1.5 million via a convertible note on August 30, 2016.
The smart plug sounds an alarm and alerts homeowners via smartphone when the stove is turned on, someone forgets to turn it off, when a cooking time expires, or the smoke alarm activates.
Because Wallflower Labs are still in the pre-launch phase, the company has not yet publicly released consumer pricing information.
Unlike Culina, which connects with all smart appliances and cooking devices in the kitchen, Wallflower Labs is solely focused on monitoring stove usage.
How Culina Measures Up:
Culina maintains a unique competitive advantage over other existing home automation and IoT products in several categories. Our biggest differentiators include:
Diverse Product Capabilities
Culina makes it possible to gain an across-the-board view from an entire network of interconnected devices. Whether they're connected to the refrigerator, gas or electric-powered stove, microwave, or dishwasher, our Smart Plugs can deliver insight into everything from smoke and gas detection, to temperature changes, and usage metrics — regardless of the brand and through a single, user-friendly app.
Our technology is easy to use and doesn't require any technical-savvy. Setup and configuration are simple, users are able to be up and running out of the box in approximately 10 minutes, and software updates are deployed over the air.
Culina is priced below our competitors' products while delivering superior functionality and value. This will be an essential factor in helping us continue to gain market share nationally.
Team Strength Our team is comprised of industry veterans who bring decades of experience to the table across industrial design, mobile tech, cloud-based technology, artificial intelligence, and more.
Our leadership team has a history of starting and leading companies to successful exits and has established valuable relationships with industry leaders along the way that will help us strategically position Culina as a market innovator in the days ahead.
Culina is currently seeking a total of $15M in Series B equity financing to fuel the next stage of company growth — including manufacturing, pre-order fulfillment, ongoing development of our platform, and marketing efforts in order to continue expanding the Culina brand. Any remaining funds will be allocated as operating capital.
Why Invest in Culina? With Culina, investors have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with a company that's positioned to grow into a leading innovator in the home automation and IoT space.
With Culina, we've tapped into something truly extraordinary that's being celebrated by both early adopters and investors alike. With 10,000 units pre-sold and $1.89M in pre-launch revenue , we've already successfully demonstrated validation in the consumer space. With over $5 million in funding secured across several financing rounds, we've already proven that investors believe in our company, our mission, and our ability to succeed.
We've also established a scalable business model and robust product pipeline that will prime us for widespread expansion in the days ahead. We're now seeking investors who share our passion and commitment to pushing the boundaries of what home automation can be and do through nextgen technology.
We're looking forward to working with you in accelerating Culina's growth to become a dominant player in the booming global home automation and IoT industry.
We hope these business plan examples will get you started on the right path in getting your business idea into a full-on company. Keep in mind that these startup business plan examples are not a uniform guide for every business, and some information may vary. You may need a 5-year business plan template, or perhaps just some business plan examples for students. Make sure to remember this as you start writing your business plan, and comment below to let us know if these examples of business plans for startups were helpful in your startup journey.
For more helpful founder information: check out our podcast! The No BS version of startup life you've been looking for: Startup Therapy .
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