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Writing a Business Plan

Team Sequoia

We like business plans that present a lot of information in as few words as possible. The following business plan format, within 15–20 slides, is all that’s needed.

Company purpose

  • Define the company/business in a single declarative sentence.


  • Describe the pain of the customer (or the customer’s customer).
  • Outline how the customer addresses the issue today.


  • Demonstrate your company’s value proposition to make the customer’s life better.
  • Show where your product physically sits.
  • Provide use cases.

Why now

  • Set up the historical evolution of your category.
  • Define recent trends that make your solution possible.

Market size

  • Identify/profile the customer you cater to.
  • Calculate the TAM (top down), SAM (bottoms up), and SOM.


  • List competitors
  • List competitive advantages


  • Product line-up (form factor, functionality, features, architecture, intellectual property).
  • Development roadmap

Business model

  • Revenue model
  • Pricing
  • Average account size and/or lifetime value
  • Sales and distribution model
  • Customer/pipeline list


  • Founders and management
  • Board of Directors/Board of Advisors


  • P&L
  • Balance sheet
  • Cash flow
  • Cap table
  • The deal
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