Create a Strong and Useful Business Plan!
A business plan is a key component when starting your business. It is a written description of your business’s future, a document that describes what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. You probably have a business plan already, perhaps just not a professional or useful one.
A business plan is not only useful to those starting a new business, it can also be used to:
- Define and fix objectives, and programs to achieve those objectives.
- Define agreements between partners.
- Support a loan application.
- Create regular business review and course correction.
- Set a value on a business for sale or legal purposes.
- Evaluate a new product line, promotion, or expansion.
The purpose of this post is for those looking to define a new business.
My business plans started as a pile of notes and papers that I would scribble on every time I got an idea about how I envisioned certain aspects of my business. I then took all those notes and created a plan based on a template that I would then use as a guide. A good guide is so important because it can help you to monitor your progress, hold yourself accountable and control the business’s future path. And of course, it’s a sales and recruiting tool for courting key employees or future investors. The most important thing to remember when creating a business plan, is to make sure it is clear, short and useful. I have a basic, original copy that I keep in a safe, sleeve protected portfolio. Then the one I actually use…daily, is in a binder with pages that have scribbles and notes all over it, because I USE it.
So what makes a business plan useful? One that:
- States what your planning to do and how you plan to do it.
- States a fixed set of criteria that is clear and simple so that you may test every decision made in the business against it.
- It should be created by the people directly affected by it, at the time.
- It should be worded and organized in a manner in which the people who use it can understand and relate to it.
- It must be based on the values, principles, and mission of the business.
- The values, principles, and mission should all be consistent and clearly represent the people of the business.
- It should be practical.
- Don’t create a 100 page plan full of jargon. No one will read it, nor be impressed by it. It really shouldn’t exceed 50 pages, the shorter the better.
If you’re having trouble deciding what your goals and objectives are, check out this helpful Goals and Objectives Checklist from entrepreneur.com below!
- How determined am I to see this succeed?
- Am I willing to invest my own money and work long hours for no pay, sacrificing personal time and lifestyle, maybe for years?
- What’s going to happen to me if this venture doesn’t work out?
- If it does succeed, how many employees will this company eventually have?
- What will be its annual revenues in a year? Five years?
- What will be its market share in that time frame?
- Will it be a niche marketer, or will it sell a broad spectrum of good and services?
- What are my plans for geographic expansion? Local? National? Global?
- Am I going to be a hands-on manager, or will I delegate a large proportion of tasks to others?
- If I delegate, what sorts of tasks will I share? Sales? Technical? Others?
- How comfortable am I taking direction from others? Could I work with partners or investors who demand input into the company’s management?
- Is it going to remain independent and privately owned, or will it eventually be acquired or go public?
Try these good reads:
- “It is not the Big that eat the Small, it is the Fast that eat the Slow”
- “The E-Myth revisited”
- “E-Myth Mastery”
- The One-Minute-Manager Series
- “First Break All The Rules “
- The Fish Series
- “Maverick, the Success Story Behind the Worlds Most Unusual Workplace”
- “The Ten Truths for Raising a Healthy Bouncy Business“
Need a business plan template? Don’t worry, you have many options:
You can Google dozens of free business template sites, use Microsoft Word templates, buy template software, or hire someone. Check out the link below for an example.
*Business plan template – This fill-in-the-blank business plan template is in the format preferred by the SBA and most banks.
Happy Money Making 🙂