How To Make A Business Plan

Many people go into business without a clue about what they should do first. They randomly open their doors and often think that they are going to be automatically successful.

What they fail to realize is that every venture should have a business plan to help guide it in the direction it should go.

Many individuals have never ever heard of a business plan, or think that it is a plan is purely for getting financing. A business plan is a road map of events that assist a business in navigating the market, competition, and trends.

It is relatively easy to develop a business plan, as long as you take baby steps. Below is the path you will take through the seven main parts in creating a business plan:

1) Cover Sheet – Keep it Clean and Simple

This should include the business name, the owner’s contact information, logo, color scheme, and a confidentiality statement is recommended indicating that the document is confidential and cannot be reproduced without permission.

2) Table of contents – You need to have this to be able to quickly refer to which page each section of your business plan is on. You can create this at the end making sure to put which page number each section is located.

3) Executive Summary – Even though this is listed first, you write it last because it is a summary of everything else you have included in your business plan.

It is to the point and helps the reader know what your business plan is all about without reading each and every section of it.  The length should be about ten percent of the rest of your plan.

4) Company Description – Think of this area as a snapshot of what your business operation looks like. Here you will provide the type of business you will be operating whether it’s a sole entrepreneur, partnership or as a corporation.

Also, will this be a traditional brick and mortar business, or an online one, or possibly both? What type of service or goods will your business offer?

Who are your customers? How do your short and long-term goals tie into how you plan on making a profit?

5) Products or Services/What are You Selling? – This section gives you the chance to show your bling! In other words, what are you selling?

Are you an expert at something?

Are you providing a service? Do you have a product that your target audience needs?  Do you have any intellectual property associated with your business/products? For example, domain names, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks or patents?

6) Market Analysis – This is where you demonstrate how your unique product or service fits within the market.  This section monitors the growth rate of your offering, your target market(s) and demographics.

You should ALWAYS review this section to avoid obstacles that could arise.

You will need to do what is known as a S.W.O.T. analysis. This stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

  • Strengths – What are you good at? What makes you offer great? What sets you apart from the rest?
  • Weaknesses – Could your product be better? How are you perceived by your competition? What sorts of things could lose your customers? Examples: Visibility, Marketing, Contact with Prospects. What can make you stand out?
  • Opportunities – Eliminate your weaknesses and your opportunities will follow! One of the main things you need to be on top of is trends in the business you are operating. Keep your eyes wide open for new prospects. Look locally for opportunities to present your product and self. Regardless of the virtual presence in today’s world, there are many good in person venues to interact and promote your business.  Use what I have dubbed the KOOL method for reaching out to others.

         Keep your eyes open for chances to promote your business such as affiliate programs, social media, new technology, and apps.

         Overcome any fear of trying. Trying is half of your success

         Optimism goes a long way…Believe in you and others will too!

         Love what you do! Look locally for opportunities to present your product and self.  In other words, spread the love of your business to the world.

  • Threats – It may surprise you that you could be your own worst enemy and a threat to your own success.

Here are a few threats to keep in mind and eliminate if they show up at your business door:

Keep an eye on your cash flow. Look at your financial projections in the financial forecasting of your plan on a regular basis.

Are you devoting enough time to your business? A business takes work, but if you love what you do, it is not work.

Mark off time in your calendar to fine-tune your business so that it runs smoothly.

What’s your competition doing? Is what you are offering of high quality? Do you need to change the way your product or service is being delivered?

How useful is what you offer? How might you make what you do even better than your original or your competitors?

  • Strategy – What strategy do you have in mind for carrying out your business plan?  Will you be doing a traditional or a hybrid business? Do you have connections such as a blogging coach to set your plan in motion?
  • Organization and Management – This is like a mini resume of the people who will be running and operating your business. A statement on each individual’s contribution and professional background are needed here.

7) Financial Projections – This section is based on predictions for success. It should include: a sales forecast over three years, monthly or quarterly, expense budget and cash flow.

Other parts of your projections include profits and loss statements, assets and liabilities and your breakeven point.

Researching your industry can predict general trends of money to be made in your business. This will help you in seeing sales within your own business.

It is also useful for predicting what the following year may look like at a particular time. This will help you in evaluating what you may need or not need to do.

Whether you are developing a plan for going into business, or need business training for your employees or are selling a product or service, I can help you get started and point you in the right direction. Contact me at aileen@yourchartedterritory.com or visit yourchartedterritory.com to help determine your individual needs.