The business plan is like the birth certificate for a business. Its delivery depends on its thorough execution. Plenty of research should take place before you jump into the field of the unknown. Mentoring with others can give you a head start. A new business owner must be prepared for the trials and tribulations that may surface. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint at heart. Starting off with a nurtured plan will ensure accuracy and a successful growth chart. By following these 5 simple steps when writing your business plan, you may enhance your chances of getting a status stamped “APPROVED.”
- Clearly state your vision and goals in bright colors. This is where you make a point of letting the investor know why they should put the dollars up for your business. Your vision and goals have to be specific to your business and what it plans to accomplish. Make certain you include enough meat (how your business will succeed) and very few fillers (what you lack and irrelevant information.) This gives perspective as to what you are proposing and if it’s worth the attention. Where do you see this business in the first year, five years and ten? Identify each stage with possible accomplishments. Don’t fail to be realistic as well. Things will happen along the way.
- Define what your business is and who you plan to market to. What type of product or service are you offering and how much is it? What or who is your competition? Are your prices comparatively marketable? A new business requires so many if’s, maybe’s and possibilities. Being able to identify them in advance gives you one leg up on the business before it starts. How you will differentiate yourself is also worth discussing. Why would customers choose your business versus another? Marketing is essential to a business. Most of the effort and dollars of making it a success will go into this area.
- Be certain of any legal issues that may confront your business. What type of business is it? Is it a sole proprietor, Limited Liability Company, corporation or a partnership? All four have distinctive characteristics that may enable your business to be a success. However, this is where I suggest you consult an attorney and a CPA. Your legal structure can greatly impact your personal and business taxes. The last thing you want to do is get on the bad side of the IRS. Besides incorporating a team of professionals into your enterprise will improve your chances of success and offer leverage when seeking funding.
- What tools do you need to be in business now and after? The investor will want to make certain that you are prepared to make money on the first day. This needs to be outlined in the plan with the purpose it will serve and the cost to acquire it. Should you purchase used or new equipment? Will your tools offer a competitive advantage? You have to purposely stand out. Recreating the wheel may not always be worthy. Keeping up with technology and new resources is an aggressive task that a new business owner must be prepared to handle.
- Does your business require you to have alliances with others? Starting a business is like having a baby or getting married. It’s a commitment. You can’t throw up your hands during the first cry or argument. In this relationship, one must be prepared for the ups and downs. If your business requires you to work with others, make certain that everyone sees eye to eye and share the same philosophy. Regular meetings, ongoing communication and specific expertise will create a harmonious matrimony.