Start Your Business

Take the right steps with confidence

LivePlan guides you through a proven growth-planning process for launching a new business. That way, you can avoid the most common startup pitfalls.

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You’re confident in your business idea,
but unsure how to get started...

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Do you need funding? How much?

Growth planning helps you figure out exactly how much funding you’ll need — and the best way to get it.

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How should you use your funds, right now?

Growth planning helps you make important spending decisions with confidence.

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What’s the right go-to-market strategy?

Growth planning helps you understand what it’ll take for your startup to gain traction.

Growth Planning guides you through the essential steps of launching a startup

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Step One: Plan

Create a simple strategy

Write a one-page plan: 30 minutes

Early-stage startups win when they stay agile. That’s why creating a flexible one-page strategy — rather than a rigid 40+ page business plan — is an unskippable first step.

Start by outlining the most important aspects of your business:

  • Problems worth solving
  • Solutions you provide
  • Estimated target market
  • How you’re different than competitors
  • Sales and marketing activities
  • Revenue and expenses

Why this step is important:

Entrepreneurs with a plan are 129% more likely to push forward with their business beyond the initial startup phase and grow it, according to a study in the journal Small Business Economics.

What you’ll need

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LivePlan: Follow the guided questions in the LivePlan Pitch to create a one-page plan and outline the most important aspects of your business.

Step Two: Forecast

Set your financial goals

Explore your potential: 1-2 hours

Estimate your startup’s performance based on everything you thought about in step 1. Don’t worry about trying to get things ‘right’ — just try your best to come up with some realistic goals.

Take the following into consideration:

  • Expenses like: software, payroll and marketing.
  • Revenue metrics like: sales, profit and cash flow.

Then once you start generating sales, you’ll have some actual numbers to help you figure out where your startup is headed.

The question of funding: Can your startup sustain itself or do you need outside funding to bridge the gap between expenses and revenue? Creating multiple ‘what if’ financial forecasts can help you answer these questions.

Why this step is important:

Research shows that startups with specific financial goals are more likely to attract funding and achieve higher levels of performance.

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What you’ll need

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LivePlan: The LivePlan Forecast provides step-by-step instructions to start documenting your expense and revenue metrics. Need ideas? The AI-Powered LivePlan Assistant can suggest revenue streams specific to your business.

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Step Three: Review

Keep tabs on the numbers

Reflect on your performance: 1-2 hours

Your startup has launched! Sales are trickling in, expenses are going out, and your team is anxiously watching the numbers.

Now you can compare your actual sales and expenses to what you forecasted every month. Take note of any significant gaps between what you expected to happen and what the numbers actually did.

  • Did your revenue perform better or worse than expected?
  • Did you spend more or less than you thought?
  • How is your cash flow being impacted by this?

Your team should review your forecast at least once per month.

Why this step is important:

Documenting and reviewing your goals makes you 40% more likely to achieve them, according to a study by the Dominican University of California.

What you’ll need

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LivePlan: Connect QuickBooks or Xero to LivePlan to pull in your actual results. See a visual comparison of your forecast vs. actuals in the LivePlan Dashboard.

Step Four: Refine

Make quick adjustments

Strategic updates: time investment varies

Time to move fast. Update both your plan and forecast based on what you learned during your review. This might include:

  • Tweaking your business model
  • Adjusting your financial goals
  • Increasing or decreasing prices

Best of all, you’re developing baseline data that you can compare your future performance against. This allows you to make quick strategic course corrections, so you can give your startup the best chance for success.

Why this step is important:

Following an iterative planning process helps you spot and quickly fix problems that could sink your startup. These include running out of cash, not achieving product-market fit or creating a flawed business model.

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What you’ll need

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LivePlan: You’ll go back to your LivePlan Pitch and Forecast to make any quick updates based upon what you learned. This ensures your business plan remains a living, flexible document that you revisit each month.

Start your business with growth planning

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