The Business Plan – Start By Asking The Right Questions
Ask the Right Questions
Here’s an easy way to get started. Ask yourself the right questions about your business. Once you’ve answered those questions, the answers will provide the content for your business plan. You can use these answers as part of the framework of your plan. Organize the questions into three categories: Marketing; Operations; and Financial Management. Then answer questions such as::
- Marketing – What needs does my business meet for customers? What product/service does the business offer to meet the need? How is the product/service different than the competition? Who is the customer? How will your business make money?
- Operations – What are the duties, responsibilities, and processes required to make the business function? What licenses, permits, regulations, etc. are required?
- Financial Management – How much will it cost to produce the product/service you are selling? What price will you charge? How much money does it cost to get the business started? Where will the start-up money come from? How much revenue will the business generate during the first 12 months? What are the operating expenses for the first 12 months? How long will it take the business to break even?
Once you’ve compiled your list of questions and answers the process of actually crafting the business plan begins. Below are tips to do this.
Create Small Bites
The easiest way to write your business plan is to create it in small segments or pieces. Don’t attempt to tackle writing the whole plan like a large, mammoth, assignment. It will become overwhelming. Write small bursts of information. It is easier to create your top 3-5 business objectives, clearly and concisely if you are not looking down the barrel of a twenty-thirty-page business plan.
Do Your Research
A good business plan is supported by solid research that you understand. Without research, the plan is more a reflection of false hopes and not a plan for creating a successful business. without determining if your business ideas are based on reality.
Make sure your goals/objectives reflect “S.M.A.R.T.”
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Attainable
- R – Realistic
- T – Timetable
In summary, a business plan can be challenging to develop, but when approached is a step-by-step manner, you can do it. It’s actually a money-making eye-opening exercise that allows you to see how you will make your idea become a money-making machine. Think of it as telling your story, in three chapters, of how your business works.
Just ask the questions, provide the answers (conduct research to help you with the answers), categorize the answers, and you’ll be on your way to creating your business plan.