How to Start a Business Plan
When you’re starting your own business, it’s essential that you create a business plan. This is to ensure that you build a sustainable strategy that’s going to help make your business successful, and bring you consistent income.
Consistent income is never guaranteed, but with a business plan, the chances are much higher, since you’ve planned and structured your business in the early stages. Of course, a business plan may change. It’s important to know that you can change your plans, and make adaptations along your business journey.
Creating a business plan can seem quite daunting at first, especially if you don’t have a great deal of knowledge or experience behind you. But that’s why I’m here! Yes, there’s a lot to consider and plan, but with a clear understanding of what a business plan is, why you should make one, and what should be included, you’ll be ready to get started. Let’s take a look…
What is a business plan?
A business plan is basically what it says on the tin! A plan for your business.
Your business plan should identify and explain the businesses goals, strategies, and time-frames for things to be achieved by. But why is a business plan so important?
Going head first into starting your own business with no clear vision won’t be very beneficial. Maybe at first, you’ve got a great idea and start up a business based only on that. But is it sustainable? Is that business going to last over a year with no real planning and strategizing? It’s unlikely. So creating a detailed plan will boost your chances of sustainability, and having a business that lasts.
As well as this, having a clear vision and at least a good idea of your goals, and what you want to achieve, is going to make the process towards those goals much easier. Not easy, but easier. Starting a business is hard, especially if it’s your first time. So with a good idea of what you want to achieve, and the impact you want to make, you’ll be able to plan and adapt much better throughout your business journey.
What MUST be included in a business plan?
An executive summary is essentially an overview of your business plan, including important information, the problem areas you want to solve and how your business will solve them, all backed up with evidence and proof. It shouldn’t be too long, just a brief general overview.
A company description should be an overview of your business. Describe what your business is, why you’re starting it, and the impact you want it to have. Identify your why and include this in the description. If you’re pitching it to an investor, include details about yourself as the business owner, and why you’re the right person to be starting the business that you are.
Market analysis is a big one. Every market is different, some bigger than others, but one thing is they’re all full of competition. So you need to research into your chosen market and create a document that explains your market, including statistics and case studies, and how you’re going to stand out from the competition.
Include a document with descriptions and a breakdown of your management team, if you have one. Include job titles and make a clear plan of what role each person plays within your company, and what their responsibilities will be.
Details of Products/Services
Of course, you need to include details of your products and services. What are they? Are they relevant to your market? Do they appeal to your client avatar? Create a breakdown of your products and services describing exactly what they are, their purpose, and what impact they’re going to make. Are they going to help you achieve your goals? Do your products/services reflect your values as a business owner? There’s lots to consider.
Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. There’s a lot of different strategies that may work for your business. But go through and find ones that are going to appeal to your target market. Your strategy should reflect your values and be relevant to your business, as well as be tailored so your client avatar has the appeal to engage with your business.
Your sales strategy should also be considered, in a similar way to your marketing strategy. The way you’re making sales – is it the most effective way to speak to your target market? What can you do with your sales strategy to bring in as many customers and conversions as possible? Consider what strategies are best for your business, and will efficiently appeal to your target market.
A recovery plan is also a good thing to include in your business plan. Try and plan for your worst case scenario. What is the worst case scenario? What can you do to try and avoid that? But if it does happen, how can you solve the problem? Try to come up with a few scenarios where your business may be on the decline, or starting to fail, and identify how the problem can be avoided or solved. But remember, you can’t physically plan for everything – so you may still stumble across some unexpected barriers.
My one page business plan…
If you’re still finding the idea of making a business plan a little daunting, a good place to start would be with my One Page Business Plan! All in one page, it addresses and helps you identify aspects of your business such as your client avatar, the key people in your business, the features and benefits of your business, and why you want to start one.
Whilst you should still make a detailed plan, starting with this resource should help you ease into it, and answer the essential questions that will get the ball rolling and set you on the right path.
Download your free copy here!