5 Steps to Consider When Creating a Business Plan
You’ve got a great idea for an enterprise and want to start right away. It’s an exhilarating time. It’s also a good idea to pause for a moment and consider creating a business plan. Some say it’s a requirement, others argue that you can be successful without one. The answer probably lies in the idea itself, including the scope and needed capital. If you plan to seek out funding from others, it’s crucial. Here are several key steps to focus on.
1. The Product
Outline and detail your products and services. You might ultimately put this at the end of the completed plan, but it’s a good idea to have a working description as your “north star” while working on the other steps. Describe what makes your product and/or service unique and how you plan to introduce and execute it in the marketplace. If you are going to sell products, describe them (include images), and indicate whether trademarks will be necessary.
2. The Market
Your analysis of the market should prove that there is a target audience and a need for your business. This is an important validation. Specifically, clarify the population(s) you want to serve along with statistics indicating their interests, wants and needs, and spending habits.
3. The Summary
The executive summary is a distillation of your business. While you’ll likely put the summary first, you might want to analyze the product/service and market to help focus it. This part should grab your reader’s attention with specifics including the name, what you intend to do, and the goals and mission of your business. Provide compelling reasons why it will succeed.
4. The Organizational Structure
Consider the structure of your business and how it will operate. Will you be a solopreneur, or will you hire a team? Will you need to work with marketing, accounting, and/or sales experts? Answer all of those questions and map them out simply as part of your business plan. Include what you’ll start with, and what you project in the future.
5. Your Financial Projections
Make sure your business plan includes number-crunching that includes a map of your financial projections over the next 3-5 years. You may need to specify how much you would need from a loan or investor to reach these goals; include start-up costs, too.
Making a strong business plan provides a robust foundation for your business. Consider these steps as you strategize.