What to Consider Before Writing Your Business Plan
How to get started writing a business plan?
Crafting a business plan, whether it’s your first or umpteenth is the best way to evaluate your goals & analyze your current direction.
Basically, it’s a good excuse to rethink your approach.
There will be times on your business journey, when writing a business plan will be required; like by a bank or investor.
Moreover, even if you don’t need to write a business plan, it can be helpful; a reminder of your goals & mission statement.
Before you get started writing the business plan.
Don’t just jump in yet. Even if you have enough research, data & graphs to put Google to shame, it’s still a good idea to take a step back; assess the situation.
Ask yourself 5 simple questions before starting your business plan:
1. Who & where is the market for the business?
Now’s the time to know your facts.
At this point, there’s no replacement for good ol fashion hard work.
Do your research. Take a look at the data. You’d be surprised how handy the local library can be when it comes to this sort of information.
In addition, don’t overlook that annoying thing that shows up every few years; the Census.
Define the target audience as specifically as the data supports.
2. What’s the size of the market?
Great! Now you know the market. So how big is it? Like really. How many people?
Knowing the size of your market is key when it comes to choosing your location.
If the business only sells to local consumers, where will it be found most easily? On the other hand, if the market is across the world, perhaps it makes more sense for the business to be located remotely & manage sales through an eCommerce store.
Based on how many people the business can sell to, & where they’re located, you can determine the ideal location for your business operation.
And knowing the size of the market is also good for determining costs such as advertising, manufacturing, labor, & other important stuff too. But also location.
3. What do you need to get started?
In other words, if you’re just starting out, how much change do you have in your pocket?
What barriers, be they financial, operational, or other, stand in your way from starting the business?
This is where you consider all the things stopping the business form starting, running and/or profiting.
Layout all the assets, supplies, finances, projects & other tasks between you & the business get going.
Better yet, explain the plan for overcoming all of them.
4. How will customers find you?
This gets us back to location, location, location.
But not just the physical place, or website, but the third-party places promoting the brand.
What types of marketing & advertising will the business utilize to raise brand awareness, generate leads & drive sales?
Building a marketing plan, even for small campaigns & promotions, can help manage day-to-day operations & ensure the target market is receiving branded messaging.
5. Have you addressed all possible challenges?
It’s now time to take a step back; once again. Assess the situation.
No business is perfect & the business plan has flaws. Think about them & consider other possible problems, which may be unforeseen.
Think about it like an investor.
Pretend you were approached to invest a business & were presented with only this business plan. What would you think?
Evaluate the possible flaws, oversights & miscalculations, & address them directly. If they can be resolved, consider revising the business plan; addressing the issues at hand.
It’s not essential for every issue to be addressed, but present the reader with an outline of potential, future challenges, which may occur.
Now go get started.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first business plan, or 100th, taking the time to think about the business objectively can pay dividends. Even writing an informal business plan, from time-to-time (you know, just for fun), can help recalibrate the mission.
When it’s time to get started & write the business plan, ask yourself the five questions above. It’s a great place to get started & a helpful warm-up exercise for writing the actual business plan.