Do you have a solid business plan? For example, where do you see your business going in a few years? Think of a business plan as an outline of what you want to happen from the time you open and into the future. It’s hard for your business to go wrong if you indeed have a solid plan to go by, not that it can’t happen, but the chances are slimmer.
What makes for an effective Business Plan? Every small business should have a written business plan, but learning what to include can be difficult. By following the steps outlined below, you’ll be well on your way to creating an effective Business Plan for your small business.
1. Research persistently—Research your products, the different ones that are available to consumers as well as the audience you want to reach. Ask yourself about the benefits of the product or service you want to offer, how will it help your audience?
2. Figure out what your plan’s purpose is—By figuring this out you can be prepared for any roadblocks or obstacles may stand in the way of your success.
3. Create your business profile—Tell your customers about the business, why you opened it, and what you can do for them. Consumers love a good story, one that they can relate to.
4. Keep documents for all aspects of your business—Keep receipts, tax papers, applications, vendor slips, all paperwork that you will come across in your business. Whether it is a receipt from the bakery next door or something bigger, keep all of it.
5. Have a strategic marketing plan—Have a plan in place on how to market your business and make consumers aware that you exist and what you have to offer them.
6. Be sure it is adaptable depending on your target audience—Be sure you can adapt your marketing and other aspects to the changing times. A change will always happen, it’s best to be prepared for when it inevitably does.
7. Have a story about your business, why do you want to share it?–Again, consumers love a good story especially when it is one that they can relate to. Once they know your story and what you can offer them, they will become loyal and repeat customers to help with the growth of your business.
Here are a few other aspects to add to your business plan to make it successful, according to the Small Business Administration. These factors should be included in all business plans.
Summary of your Small Business—this is simply a snapshot or cliff notes version of what your business is and does.
Company description—What does your company do? What products do you market?
Marketing analysis—Include the research that has been done on your type of small business such as the type of industry, market it belongs in, competitors and target audience.
Management and organization—This category includes how your business and management will be structured.
Product or service—What are the products you plan to sell? What are the services you sell also?
Sales and marketing—How will you market your goods? What will be your sales strategies?
Funding requests—What amount of money will you need for the next few years? What type of budget are you putting forth?
Financial outlook—What is your financial outlook for the present and the future? Be sure to have information such as balance sheets, and price sheets.
Miscellaneous—Even though it is optional, it’s still a good idea to have this section for documents that include resumes or permits or anything that doesn’t fit into the above categories.