"A Business Plan Anyone Can Do - Easy To Follow Steps"
So you want to start your own business? Write a business plan - that’s what you’ve probably heard or read, right?
The problem with this advice is that if you’re just starting your first business, you don’t have any experience writing a business plan. And, when you look at examples or templates of business plans, they can seem overwhelming.
For the average newbie, starting his/her first business, writing a classic business plan is an almost impossible task.
However, what you CAN DO is describe what your product or service is, explain how you will get customers, provide details about your process to provide your product/service, and indicate how much money you will collect and spend.
When put this way, it is something you can do.
What I just described are the basic parts of a business plan. The format, structure of paragraphs, fancy charts, etc. are not important.
What is important is that you describe what it is your business will do and how you will do it.
Describe how you will get a customers (Your Marketing Plan)
The most difficult part of being in business is convincing people to spend their money on your products and services. How you are going to get paying customers is the most important part of your business plan.
Here are the questions you need to ask:
- What are you selling? Describe your product or service in a few sentences.
- How is what you are selling different from your competition? This is what you need to tell prospective customers. Let them know how what you offer is better at solving their problem. Describe your ideal customer. Be as detailed as possible. How old are they, what is their gender and how much money do they typically earn are important factors you need to know.
- How will you advertise your product/service to your customers?
Describe how you will serve your customers. Will you need specific systems? What resources will you need to manage the business in order to deliver your product/service? (Operations Plan)
The operations plan details how the business will function on a day-to-day basis and describes the support systems required for the business to conduct its affairs. In the operations plan you should:
- Define what functions are required to move customer from inquiry to purchase to maintaining the customer. This is also known as the “service cycle”.
- Identify key duties/functions and your strategy for staffing .Define facility requirements (i.e. office, warehouse, etc.)
- Will you need special permits or licenses? What about record keeping and insurance? And finally will you need an office, secretary or other administrative staff? Write all this down and be as detailed as possible.
Describe inflow and outflow of money in the business (Financial Plan)
The sole purpose of owing a business is to earn a profit. If the money plan does not work, the business does will not generate revenue. Ironically, many prospective entrepreneurs are uncomfortable when talking about money. If this describes you, think about managing the money in a business in the same way you do about managing your income and bills for your household.
That is, you work a job, you may be paid weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly. However, your bills probably come in throughout the month. You match your income (inflow) with that how you pay your bills (outflow) and hopefully and the end of the month the inflow is greater than the outflow. And, if at the end of the year the inflow exceeds the outflow by a large enough amount, you’ll have a nice holiday season. Your business is no different.
What every entrepreneur/business owner must understand about the finances of their business is how money comes into the business, how it goes out of the business, what it is spent on, the rate of money in vs. out, and the timing and relationship between the two.
When you develop your financial plan include the following:
- The amount of money you need to start the business
- What will you need to spend money on (expense items and their amounts) over the next 12 to 24 months?
- What you think your sales will be) forecast) over the next 12-24 months.
- How will you manage that process? (Your cash flow plan for the next12 to 24 months).
Do not let the thought of a cash flow plan deter you. There are lots of tools available to help you develop a cash flow plan.
Create Your Business Plan
In a nutshell, your business plan is simply a road-map or blueprint that you create based on what you want your business to do, and your plan to make money doing it. Knowing what to do, when to do it and how to do is how a good business plan empowers you. Because change is a part of life, your business plan should be flexible and allow for unanticipated changes. In this way, it becomes a working document and not simply a necessary evil you know you must have.
We have created a step-by-step business start up system in a box that walks you through the start-up process and covers every stage in easy to follow training modules.