A well-thought out business plan is an essential tool for any small business owner looking to grow their company. Whether you’re selling T-shirts, offering plumbing services or wholesaling earring backs, your business plan will give your company direction, help you monitor your progress, and even attract investors. The following article offers 5 Tips To Get You Started On Your Business Plan.
1) Establish Your Vision
Before drafting your business plan, it’s important to identify the vision you have for your company. This helps you identify the current state of your company, and where you want to see it go in the future. Additionally, you will be able to pinpoint tangible action items to get your business where it needs to be. Outline your vision with bullet points to help get you started.
2) Create A Compelling Company Story
Here is where you inform your reader what your company is all about. Detail how your company started, describe your mission, reveal your ideal customers and identify how you stand out from your competitors. The story of your company is designed to familiarize people with your business and peak their interest to make them want to hear more.
3) Identify Your Product and/or Service
The purpose of any for-profit business is to make money selling a service. So naturally, jotting down exactly what kind of service or product you provide is an absolute must when developing your business plan. Create a list of each and every service you provide, then itemize the features and/or benefits your customers will receive when using them. Narratives, charts or spreadsheets are ideal to use here, mainly because they help break out the content from standard paragraph form.
4) Define Your Marketing Strategy
Either you have to find your customers, or they have to find you. In either scenario, your marketing strategy should define how this interaction will take place. In today’s world, the internet and social media are huge marketing tactics, but how do you plan to use them? What social media platform is most popular for your industry? How many times a day/week/month will you make a post? Will you pay for advertising? Create referral programs? Your options are limitless, but defining your approach to connect your customers with your service is an essential element of your business plan.
5) Develop Your Financial Plan
Lastly on this list, but certainly not least, is the money factor. There’s an old adage that states, “It takes money, to make money.” With this in mind, you need to determine what aspects of your business require the most investment, and how you plan to generate revenue. How long will it take for your business to turn a profit? How much money will your initial investment cost you? These are questions that any investor in your company would want to know, and just as important, these are questions that you need to be conscious of as a business owner.
Your business plan is a fluid document that will constantly evolve as your company grows, so don’t be afraid to make changes along the way. These 5 tips are not meant to be the end all be all of creating a business plan, but getting these few things down will certainly jump start you in the right direction. It may seem intimidating at first, but your business will surely thank you for the time and effort you put into it. Keep in mind that a solid business plan does not need to be hundreds of pages long. It simply needs to lay out a few key elements in as much detail as possible.
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