This month, make it official; and write a stunning business plan with our FREE business plan course.
Starting a business plan can feel like a whirlwind romance! You begin with an idea. It’s all you can think about, talk about, and maybe even dream about. But getting those thoughts onto paper is something entirely different. It’s time-consuming, complicated, and even, dare we say it? Dull.
But we’re here to change that. Now until the end of August, learn how to define your brand, set your goals and craft your sales and marketing plan with our FREE Business Planning course. Type in coupon code myPlan-0819 when adding My Business Planning to your cart and receive the course for FREE. Don’t let August pass you by without using this fantastic opportunity to grow your business.
Not ready to take the course yet? Why not begin by drafting your business plan in 5 simple steps (plus one BONUS Tip). Then write it all down by downloading our business plan template.
1. Say WHY you are doing this
Your why statement is probably the most important part of your business. It will be used as your summary statement on the first page of your business plan. It’s also a reminder of your passion for your product and will help keep you on track with your brand.
Simon Sinek created the “Why, How, What” model and explains that the majority of business owners focus on “What” their business is. However, the few who become successful in their career focus their attention to “Why” they are running their business.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
Write a positioning framework to form the foundational basis for your Why Statement.
- List the tangible benefits of your product
- List the monetary benefits of your product
- List the emotional benefits of your product. (How does it make you feel, what pain point is it removing?)
Now in a paragraph statement write the narrative that describes your business, including…
- Who your business is for
- What type of business it is
- What is the meaningful point of difference between your business and the others
- What does your business stand for
- What proof do you have
Once you have understand why you are doing what you are doing, you will also want to consider who will jump on your bandwagon.
2. Think WHO your customers will be
Market research is a must in order to learn who your target audience is. You may sell yoga mats with recycled material, but who will buy them and where are your customers living? By researching your potential market, you will be better informed when choosing how to reach customers and spend your advertising dollars.
Begin market research by following your competitors online and in store. Read comments and complaints by their customers and track their website performance. What are they doing well? What could they improve?
Once you have a firm grasp of how your competitors are doing, begin your own primary research by creating a market survey and meeting the customers who buy from your competitors. Ask questions such as:
- What factors they consider before making a purchase.
- What do they currently like or dislike about their purchases.
- What could be improved upon.
- What is the appropriate price for their products/services.
The more you know about your potential customers, the more time and money you will save when launching your dream business. Which leads us to…
3. List HOW you will be creating revenue
Listing the key activities of your business that will help create revenue is an important part of your business plan. Investors will be looking to see how you forecast revenue in your five-year plan, and it is a great way for you to set your intent for how your business will grow.
You want to outline where and how you will sell your product and what it costs you to take your product to market.
- Will you sell online?
- Will you sell at trade shows or markets?
- Will you be selling wholesale?
- Where will people be able to purchase what you do?
Consider all of the avenues and decide what revenue you expect from each.
Then, consider the cost of each, including the cost of the marketing efforts you will undertake to make people aware.
A financial plan should forecast highs and lows within the company. Your financial plan should include:
- Funding needs
- Financial projections
- Income statement
- Balance sheet
- Cash flow
By creating a projection of what cash flow will be required to run your business, that will eventually lead you to…
4. Consider WHERE you will find resources to support your business
Once you have made a solid financial plan, you will need to source funding to meet the demands of your business. While using your own savings or a bank loan may be necessary, these are not the only options. Consider these options when counting your dollars and cents.
- Apply for a small-business government grant: Depending on what type of business you have, the government can provide bursaries and tax credits to keep costs low.
- Loans from non-profits: Along with small-business loans you can receive access to mentoring and advice.
- Apply to a local angel investor group: Angel Investors are usually passionate about the business idea, and can be alternatives when traditional investors, such as banks, are unwilling or unable to fund.
- Start a crowdfunding campaign online: Power is in the numbers, and sourcing funds from smaller investors has helped countless startups to pursue their dreams. If you think your business idea has crowd appeal, consider signing up for a Kickstarter campaign.
But finances are not all, you will also need to consider how you will run your business day-to-day.
5. Write WHAT Your Daily Operations Will Be Like
Project what your operations will be like day-to-day in your business plan. Consider what processes you need to maximize creative time. Include:
- Operations: These are your tasks, the to-do lists, the “how things get done”.
- Human Resources: What roles do you need help with, and who is going to fill those roles? Will you hire employees or outsource? Do you have job descriptions and perform regular reviews?
- Vendors/Suppliers: What supplies do you need, and who are your suppliers? Do you have a backup for all of your suppliers, a ‘Plan B’
- Operations Planning: Are you prepared for growth? Do you have the ability to double your ‘production’ when all of your sales hit?
- Create Workflows: Two things to consider here:
- You want to outline how you maximize your efficiencies, and
- You want to have processes documented so that all tasks in your business could be handed over to someone easily in the event of an emergency.
We recommend writing your business plan in 5 simple steps, but what is that ONE extra thing every entrepreneur can’t do without?
BONUS TIP: Find WHO Your Support Network Is
Businesses take A LOT of time, effort, money and responsibility. You need a cheerleading team that will celebrate your accomplishments and advise you on next steps when things turn sour. Family and friends are paramount during this exciting time, but so are third parties who are removed from your inner circle and familiar with the twists and turns of entrepreneurship.
Finding a community of like-minded entrepreneurs can be found by searching local meetups or creating one of your own. Search Facebook groups for local networking events, or visit coworking spaces and ask if there is a community forum.
Masterminds are another great way to build your support network. Meeting regularly with a group of fellow business owners looking to grow their businesses, discussing business challenges, sharing experience and setting goals that you will hold each other accountable to can help to accelerate your business growth.
A business coach is another avenue to consider. Someone who has already experienced owning and running a business can provide you with an objective opinion and defined next steps for continued success.
“The best advice I ever got was to get a coach.” – Eric Schmidt, Past Chairman & CEO of Google
Write your business plan in 5 simple steps and we’ll be rooting for you at every stage of your career. Download our business plan template to help you get started. Good luck!
Sign Up For Our FREE Business Course – Now Until The End Of August
Are you ready to take our FREE Business Planning course? Now until the end of August, our essential course on defining your brand, setting your goals and crafting your sales and marketing plan is FREE. Type in coupon code myPlan-0819 when adding My Business Planning to your cart and receive the course for FREE. Use this month to leverage your skills and plan ahead. We’ll show you how!