Thousands of Americans start their own businesses each year. But even with will power, and a great head for business, quite a few fail. Why is that? It’s because a lot of people don’t follow the plan. What plan, you may be wondering. Their business plan, of course.
Experts agree that one of the very first steps you should take when starting a business is to write out a business plan. But does that mean that it has to be a fifteen page long document? Actually, it doesn’t have to be, you can write it up in a short time. There are a few necessary items though, that must be in your written plan.
These are the essentials; let’s look at them one at a time.
1. The Name of Your Business
It sounds a bit unnecessary to mention, but remember that since this is a plan for your business, it is a smart idea to include the name of your venture. When naming your business, try to reflect on what you do, want to achieve, or simply something smart and catchy. If you are a freelancer it might be a good idea to include your first, or last name, in your business’ name.
2. What You Do, and What You Need To Get It Done
Let’s say you sell shoes, that’s great. But what kind of shoes? Sneakers? High heels? Ballet shoes? You will need something a bit more specific, to write into your business plan. Now let’s say that you sell ballet shoes, that you will custom design. Then you must think about what you will need to keep doing so. Will you need fabric paint, ribbons, an embroidery machine? Will you send the shoes somewhere else to be made? These are things to consider.
3. A Little Market Research
Another important part in your business plan, that some people don’t bother with, is market research. It is just what it sounds, researching your market. Keeping with the designer shoe story, let’s say that you plan to sell the shoes from your home. What if your next door neighbor was doing the same thing? What if your town is a small mountain town, where everyone only wears hiking boots? How much do your custom designer shoes cost to make? Taking the time to do a little research, and writing it into your business plan, will save you a lot of time and grief in the future.
4. How You Plan To Support Your Business (aka where is the money coming from until you get established)
How much money will you need to get your business started? Do you know the dollar amounts, of what all of your business supplies will cost? What does a business license in your state cost? Where will you get the money for these? Whether you plan to take out a loan, or you have the recommended six months savings, write this figure into your business plan.
5. How You Plan To Market Your Business (Web sites, articles, news paper ads, etc.)
A lot of business owners forget about this step, but it is very important. Decide how you will market your business. Will you put an ad in your towns’ newspaper? Are you aware that you will have to keep it in, around six to eight weeks for it to work? Will you use radio or TV ads? Consider that most successful businesses, have a strong online presence,. So having a website makes great business sense. Also include the stores, boutiques, or other online sites that will sell your merchandise as well, such as eBay, and the like.
6. What You Eventually Plan to Earn, and How to Get There
This is one of the more enjoyable parts, of writing your business plan. Decide how much you want to earn from your business, within a set amount of time. Let’s say, with your shoe business, you would like to earn $5000 a month, by years end. That is a great goal. Now decide how you are going to achieve it. If for example, each pair of your shoes retails for $50, you will need to be consistently selling one hundred pairs of shoes, to make that goal each month. How are you going to do that? You will need to know.
There you have it, a simple business plan that anyone can write. It will help you discover things, you may not have noticed otherwise. Start writing, and good luck on your new business venture.