Every successful business has a rock solid business behind its success. It is the foundation of any business and if you are an aspiring entrepreneur willing to step out and build a great business, the first thing you need is to chalk out a concrete business strategy. A major reason for the failure of many startups is poor planning.
Developing a business plan can be overwhelming but it ain’t rocket science. With a clear head and a thorough understanding of the market, you can successfully create a business plan that’ll pave the way for you. A business plan has a two fold purpose: it provides a road map for your business and also helps you obtain financing for your venture.
1.Get into the planning mindset and set a clear goal for yourself.
The first thing that you need to do is clear your head and get into the mindset of an entrepreneur. It’s the time to focus and concentrate on thinking what kinda venture do you want to start. After you’ve determined that, now you have to decide on the goals you want for yourself and your enterprise. Lauren McGoodwin, the founder and CEO of Career Contessa, is of the opinion that not only should you know your goals before you start to write the plan itself, “but also outline the clear, actionable ways you plan to accomplish them”. And most importantly, you need to be realistic while setting your goals and at the same time you should be able to outline the ways in which you can achieve your goal.
2.Research. Understand the business.
Before you start your enterprise, it is essential that you do your homework perfectly. Researching about the market you will be entering, understanding the demands of the enterprise you want to start, and having adequate knowledge about your competitors and customer base – these few things will help you to make a befitting business plan. The business plan you chalk out is the blueprint for you that’ll be of immense help to you in the early stages of your enterprise. Furthermore, the clearer and practical your business strategy is, the more likely you are to attract potential investors and future partners.
3.Reach out to those people who have already been there and done that.
Since you are a rookie, getting relevant information about the business from individuals who’ve already gained experience in this arena would be a good way to go. Such people can offer you what they’ve gathered so far and you can get a good idea of the roads you must take and those that you should avoid. You could either reach out to them for a meeting over coffee or a phone call. Whether it’s market-related information, or knowledge about your competitors or about the finances- you could get it all from them.
4.Resort to tried and tested samples.
There are many who have done it before you, hence, you don’t need to feel bewildered. The internet is swarming with examples of people who’ve shared their business plan and strategies. There are sites like Entrepreneur with its business plan guide and Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas, that can help you in the planning phase so that you can come up with an efficient business strategy.
5.Delve into Money matters.
Finances are one of the most important parts of your business plan. It can be basically split into three components: revenue, direct costs, and operating costs. Revenue is what your business is gonna make. You have to be realistic about how much your enterprise is supposed to bring in. While direct costs point to the costs of producing whatever you sell, operating costs are the expenses you have to bear irrespective of how much revenue turns in. When you’re talking to your potential investor, you’ve got to lay your cards on the table and let your financial plan be known clearly. Also, you’ve got to show investors how they can recover their money regardless of the success or failure of your venture.
Once you’re done with these steps, you’re ready to carve out your business plan that should look something like this:
- Mission Statement
- Executive Summary
- Product or Service Offerings
- Target Market
- Marketing Plan
- Industry and Competitive Analysis
- Pro-Forma Financials
- Resumes of the Company Principals
- Your Offering (what type of financing you’re seeking)
- Appendix (any other significant information)