Writing your first business plan! How exciting!

Your business plan will act as your map. It will keep you focused on your end goal and give you clarity along the way.

So after coming up with an idea (your Business Sweet Spot) writing your plan is the first practical step in starting a business.

A business plan does not have to be 50 pages of boring analysis and planning that takes you three months to write. Your first plan needs to be concise and have such clarity that you know what your focus is on and an idea of what your business will look like.

The headings in your business plan are:

  • Idea
  • Market
  • Operations & Systems
  • Financials
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Support

So let’s jump straight in and start writing your first business plan:

 

Idea

Under this heading, you will need to write an outline of your idea. This section will need to include what your product/service is and how it will benefit your clients/customers.

Stick to a few short sentences, and write it so a 7-year-old can understand it. If a 7-year-old cannot understand your idea then you are not explaining it in a way that the world will understand.

Keep it short and simple.

The Market

Who are your clients/customers and who is your competition.

I am not one for spending hours analysing what others are doing, I believe this can halt your development very quickly! However having a general idea of who is selling a similar product or service will help you work out how you differ from them. This is called your Unique Selling Proposition.

Knowing your ideal customer (I call it the Perfect Fit) is essential. You must know your audience, so really get to grips with their demographic profile, geographic locations, social backgrounds, and their three dominant pains…
You have to understand your Perfect Fit™ like they are your best friend. Do not skip over this part.

Operation & Systems

How will you develop your idea, promote it and provide good customer service?

Once you have a business idea and clients/customers in mind, how are you then going to run the business?

What do you need to have in place to make sure the business runs smoothly. In this section, you need to think about who is working in the business, the Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities that are available to you. This is called a SWOT analysis.

This analysis will enable you to see who you need on your team, what you need to outsource, and where you are strong in the business.

You will need to document how you are going to deliver outstanding customer service and become the go-to person/business in your chosen niche.

Financials

Can you earn more than you spend, and have a business that makes a profit? Do you need funds to get started?

You need to create a document (something as easy an Excel spreadsheet) with all your costs and your projected turnover. Whatever you put in doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it is amazing the clarity you will get from a simple spreadsheet.

To this day, I obsess over my cash flow forecast, and on a monthly basis I look at my outgoings and see what I can save money on.

To have a successful business, you have to be on top of the numbers. Do not skip your cash flow forecast!

Marketing & Sales

How will you promote what you have to offer to your customers? Include a brief Marketing & Sales plan with heading such as:

Press  – how many press releases do you plan on writing a month, and which channels are you going to use?
Online – What social media/blogging will you do.
Offline – Are you going to do any direct mail/exhibitions, etc. in your first year?
Joint Ventures – Who can you approach that you may partner up and might have the same audience as you?
Support – Do you have a support network on hand for when you need business advice and general support?

It may be that you decide to have a mentor/coach. Or join a mastermind group full of like-minded FreedomPreneurs and business owners.

When you are starting to grow your business will you call on friends and family for advice?  In this section list friends and family that can support you too.

As you can see it will only take a short time to complete this business plan, but having this plan will be your first step to building a real business, not just a hobby. So many businesses skip the groundwork and then fail in the first year. Don’t be another statistic.

To download a template to write your business plan click here: Download Here

Good luck and I would love to hear how you get on!

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