“If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!”
We all hear about developing a business plan in order to kick-start your business life, but what does this term mean to you? What does it mean for the dream you have been carrying inside your head of building a business you think can be amazing? Does it mean an exciting first step to bringing your creative idea to life? Or
maybe like for many aspiring entrepreneurs, it means that one crucial step that comes between you and starting the career life they dream of. Creating a good business plan is something that can make your entrepreneurial journey so much simpler and smoother, which is why when learning how to develop a business plan an entrepreneur must research the process and make sure he goes about it the right way – hopefully the info here can help. Business plan is simply the actionable steps one intends to take to get his new dream of the ground.so that when you do not have these actionable plans, then you might still be dreaming and you need to wake up from your slumber. Business plan is the key to starting your new business, be it a side hustle or a full-fledged business model.
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WHY IS CREATING A BUSINESS PLAN IMPORTANT?
The kind of business plan I am talking about is the strategic business plan. Because I run a small solopreneur business, I didn’t want or need to go for outside funding. My challenge with creating a business plan was about having clarity, and a clear action plan regarding WHAT it is that I am building my business about, HOW I am going to run and provide my services, and WHO is my target clients. These are the fundamental elements every business owner should be clear about which answers the question of why having a business plan is so important.
Those elements should be the starting point when you go about creating a business plan. I like making plans that are all about actions, having very defined steps I need to take. That is what creating a business plan was about for me.
PARTS OF A BUSINESS PLAN
There are a few components that both strategic business plans and funding business plans have to include.
- INTRODUCTION/EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
A business plan’s executive summary is very important to businesses that are turning to investors for funding. BUT it is also very important for us, small business owners/entrepreneurs. Why? Because this part, essentially condenses our business mission and defines it, it is essentially a detailed business description that creates clarity about our business goals.
It gives a description of our business:
The nature of the business, what is at the core of it, what service or product it offers, etc. This is where you first introduce your business model by highlighting the background story that made you choose this model, you can use a story to captivate your audience since audience love sharing and connecting with people’s story.
This part is something you need to take your time with because THIS is where your focus should be at first. Hammering out all those little details, collecting all those great ideas. Forming your thoughts about the business you always wanted to have, putting it on paper, and giving it a shape. Once you know THAT, and you can talk about in your sleep, you are ready to start building it.
This is where you highlight the main benefits of trying to venture in to this business model, what actually pushed you take up this model of business over others, the advantage it has over other models. This I where you make your case for this business, try as much as possible to convince yourself about this business by being very honest to yourself.
Many of us start with a notion – we WANT to have a business of our own. We have some talents or things we are good at, but a lot of the time we get stuck on how to take all that and mold it into a well thought out offer/service/product. I know I have been there, sometimes I still am:)
This is why this part of your business plan is what you need to take your time with. Brainstorm with other like-minded people. Ask for professional guidance – sometimes, one clarity session with a business coach, can make all the difference. But I truly believe that you can do that for yourself too. It just takes a lot of belief in yourself, Some in-depth self-observation, and FOCUS.
“Nothing is ever added to a man from without, whatever a man becomes physically, intellectually, spiritually or business wise unfolds from within”
Let this be your guiding principle when working on this part, try to connect with yourself as to why you decided to settle on this business model.
- INDUSTRY AND CUSTOMER ANALYSIS
What field is your business operating in? Is it a niched one? a big one? What size market are you aiming for? If you have a very nice business concept without your target market, you wouldn’t be successful. Your target audience or your market is where your customer lies and your customer base determines the success of your business. So without any bias in your mind, try to analyze your target audience and the way you intend to reach them.
Who are your target clients? why would they need your service? Get a clear vision of who they are, where they come from, and what they are all about. This is also a super important part of your business plan because unless you KNOW your customer inside out, you would find it hard to make your service and product irresistible to him, let alone market it successfully. Which leads us straight into the next section of a business plan layout which is
- MARKETING STRATEGY/ANALYSIS
This is where you need to figure out which marketing platforms are right for you. You need to learn and understand where your clients are, which type of marketing materials they are exposed to, where they “hang out” – which is where you should be focusing your efforts.
You also need to figure out what you are comfortable with, what you can do on your own, what you will need to outsource if you can afford it.
I cannot stress enough how important going deep with this is. If your marketing does not match your clients, their demographic, and their habits, it would be very hard for you to make sales and to have a successful business.
- OPERATIONAL PLAN
Now this, of course, is very different for big companies where the operational side of the business, is much more complex and extensive. For us, solopreneurs and small business owners, the operational plan should center around details. For example, where we house our products, digital ones or a physical one. The charging and payment methods for our service, delivery, and so on. The operational plan is simply how you plan to run your day to day activities in a typical working day, how many staff you will need to kick-start, logistics etc, getting this right will give you a mental picture of your work plan and it would be the beginning of your success or your failure.
Having a Business plan does not guarantee your success or your failure in business, but it simply prepares you to manage them and whatever comes out of venturing into your dream.
DON’T LET YOUR LEARNING LEAD TO KNOWLEDGE. LET YOUR LEARNING LEAD TO ACTION
These are the main sections your business plan should incorporate. Some business plans, depending on the nature and size of the business, will include more items like financial plans, management, and so on.
The most important thing in this whole process is to get – and I am using this word again – Clarity. The kind of plan I am talking about is mainly a strategic business plan. It’s not aimed at getting investors and funds. What you want to have at the end of the process, is an actionable work plan. A crystal clear vision of how you want to launch your business, and then how you want to grow it.
It will help you set the goals long term, identify where your strengths are, where your weaknesses are, and how to use and address those.
Another thing that is important to remember is that a business plan is not a ‘done for good’ kind of thing. It will need to be updated and adjusted as you go, as your business grows and changes and as new products, and services may develop.
I hope you found value in this. The goal is to give you a better idea of how to create a business plan. Just keep in mind that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to a business plan. It will differ as your business will differ from others. You need to stick to these main points and apply them in a way YOU feel will benefit you most. Whether you create a one-page business plan, or a whole binder – these key sections should be in it.
I hope this will inspire you to take action and start creating your dream business. I know you have it in you.