By: Solange Lopes
Creating a business plan for your business can be daunting. For many business owners, especially new business owners, creating a comprehensive business plan can seem like a challenge. Which is exactly why so many entrepreneurs tend to skip this step.
However, what many of us don’t realize is that creating a business plan for your business is the best way to ensure that your vision, purpose and business process are clearly thought through. Neither does it have to be an overwhelming task. While there are many intimidating business plan templates out there, remember that the point is to gain clarity over your business and devise a feasible plan.
Here are 5 easy steps to start with a simple business plan:
1. Your Mission
What is your business’ mission? In other words, what is the “why” behind your business? How do you plan on helping people?
Asking yourself these questions will help you determine the mission behind your business. The reason why this is so important is because your mission serves as the foundation to your business. Without a mission that resonates with you and with your ideal audience/clients, you lack the necessary clarity to push your idea forward.
My mission is to help women do work they love. It stemmed from my own need to change my career and life so I could do work I love and build a fulfilling career. What is yours?
- Determine the “why” behind your business, and spell it out with as much specificity and detail as possible
2. Your Strategy
What specific problems will you solve? How are you going to help your ideal audience and clients? This will be translated in the products and/or services that you will create.
The clearer you are about the problems you will be solving for people, the more successful your business will be. People are attracted to solutions that benefit them. By identifying issues they already deal with and bringing about the appropriate solutions, you are creating a market for yourself.
- Identify your ideal client, i.e. the person that you will be helping. Draw a mental picture of who he/she is. You can even give her a name, personality, address, etc.
- Brainstorm all the problems that your ideal client may have
- Pick the problems that your business will help in solving
3. Your Marketing:
How will you promote your products and/or services? How will you manage to get new clients?
It’s one thing to have a solid foundational mission and create amazing products and services. However, without the proper marketing, the right people will never know about it or be able to buy from you. One of the biggest mistakes I made when I started in business was to underestimate the power of great marketing. For many businesses, it’s the make-or-break element of your entire strategy.
- Brainstorm all the ways that you can promote your business (word of mouth, social media, etc.)
- Pick at least three ways that you will focus on to start
4. Your Tribe
Who are the people who will support you as you build your business? These people may be your family and friends, as well as close associates and business partners. It’s important to remember that it takes a village to build a successful business. As such, you must surround yourself with the right support system.
Resist the temptation to isolate yourself! You need people, the right people, that is.
- Make a list of all the people in your personal and professional/business network who can help you in carrying out your mission (these are also people you can trust and who can identify with your purpose)
- Make a plan to start reaching out to at least three of these people and involving them in your business
- Don’t forget to keep networking and expand your circle as well
5. Your Finances
What are your business financial goals? What are your monthly profit objectives? In turn, how many sales/clients do you need in order to achieve this level of profit?
A business eventually has to make money. While the beginnings of your business may not be as profitable as full-blown businesses, you must focus on creating growing profitability.
- Determine how much profit you want to make after subtracting all your business expenses
- Translate this in terms of sales and clients
- Make a plan to get all these clients and realize the necessary sales for the next month
Solange Lopes is an author, CPA and writer/blogger. She blogs about career and lifestyle for professional women in her blog The Corporate Sister. She’s passionate about writing and women’s issues.
Originally published at www.ellevatenetwork.com.