You have the skills. You have the knowledge. You have a pretty good idea for a business venture that could free you from the daily drudgery of a traditional 9-to-5. To turn your dream into real life, you now need a plan.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a document that describes the details of your business venture. The plan’s purpose is to create a framework that you can then use to guide your daily decision-making. The information in your plan describes:
- WHO will participate in the regular operations of your business, their roles, and responsibilities.
- WHAT products or services you will offer.
- WHEN you will make these products and services available.
- WHERE you will offer your products and services.
- WHY your idea is a good one.
- HOW you will create/package/transport your goods and services.
Business plans are important. Your enterprise has a far greater chance of failure without a clear vision. Investors are also more likely to take you seriously when presented with a well-executed document.
How Do I Write a Business Plan?
Follow these steps to craft a solid plan that will guide your growing business to success.
- Start with market research. In the United States, these online resources can help you find out what the local demand for your product looks like, as well as some insight into possible competition. Canadian entrepreneurs will find helpful links here.
- Define your market. Use your research to build a profile of your ideal customer. Include the geographical location you will serve. Online businesses won’t need to worry about location, but still need to get to know their potential clients.
- Define your business. Decide what you have to offer that your competition doesn’t.
- Create a marketing strategy based on what you learn about your potential clients.
- List all the things you will need to get started on day one. Equipment, inventory, display cases, sample products, and everything else required to make that first sale goes on this list.
- Create a financial plan. How much money will you need for initial costs and daily operations until your business becomes profitable?
- Write it all down. Downloadable templates will make the process easier for skittish newcomers.
Developing a workable business plan takes a lot of time and effort. The energy you put into it, however, will save you untold amounts of frustration and help you achieve your business goals.