What’s a business plan?

In traditional corporations, a business plan is a guide that lays out how the company intends to make money. It’s both a map for the company’s strategy and a way to get investors hyped.

A business plan does something a little different for a social purpose organization (SPO), whether for– or non-profit, co-op or hybrid. It’s a road map that shows how the organization wants to make a positive change over the next few years. It describes the nuts and bolts of how you will achieve your ultimate outcome – and produce social returns on investment (SROI) – in a financially sustainable way.

Your plan should be a true expression of what you intend to do. Yes, you may need it for investor pitches and bank meetings, but its real value is as an internal tool. And authenticity is key to it being actually useful to you as you work towards your short-, medium-, and long-term goals.