You have a great idea: gadget to save time or a service that no one else has provided to your area. But you need funding. Meaning you need a business plan. Then you sit down to a blank page and screen and nothing. You don’t know where to start. I am here to get those juices flowing, so you can get to the fun part–running business. I always stress to my clients the importance of an active business plan that serves as a road map for the first five years of business, or least the first three. This active business plan is the most important step you will take before launching your business. People will use it to determine whether or not to invest in your start up. It will serve as a guide to how you pitch your business to new clients and prospective employees. It will be the constitution of your entrepreneurial journey! If the thought of writing a lengthy business plan overwhelms you, begin with answering the questions below:
- What will your business do?
- What research confirms there is a demand for your business in the market?
- Who will be your competition, and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
- What is your competition’s pricing?
- What will be your pricing? (Higher? Lower? Equal?)
- What will be your competitive advantage and distinctions? (Why will customers choose you?)
- Who is your ideal customer, and how are you going to market to them?
- What will be your one-year marketing plan?
- What skills and expertise will you need to hire?
- What will be all the costs to operate this business per week and per month?
- What will be you conservative projected gross an net income per week and per month?
- Is your net income enough to pay you the income you wish to make? (If not, you need more customers or higher prices)
- What will be your company goals for Year 1, Year 3, and Year 5?
You don’t have to do this all at once, or even in order. My advice is to come back regularly and make this the best document you have ever created in your life. Treat it like your life depends on it, because it may just be true. And if you find yourself stuck, feel free to fill out our 20 Questions form and a business coach will give feedback for free.