Everyone who starts a business needs to create a business plan within their first 90 days. A great business plan takes a simple framework and uses it to help you think through and communicate your desires for your business.
The following list gives you a basic outline to follow for a business plan, as well as some tools for further research into building your business.
Find The Resources You Need
There are many great tools for building your business including SBA Business Plans. When you are looking for your business plan, take time to search for information that applies to your industry and your business and add the information you find to this list. Another resource is your local SBA district office. Find your chamber of commerce and see if they have any resources available for small businessstart ups.
Understand Marketing vs Business Planning
Many people do not understand the difference between marketing planning and business planning. The simple idea is that a marketing plan focuses on the people you are going to serve, a business plan focuses on the mechanics of the business. Most business plans will contain a marketing component, while most marketing plans will not necessarily have some of the components of a business plan.
1. Strategic Planning: Vision and Mission
You already have a desire for your business, but you need to put that down in such a manner as to inspire others. This is your mission and vision. Big picture purpose of your business is your vision, how that vision applies to your specific business is your mission.
2. Strategic Planning: Product and Goals
Often a business idea starts with a product or service you want to deliver to a market. Describing this is a key part to your business plan and integrates your mission and vision with your marketing plans. In describing your product and your goals for that product, you will define who needs your business, how you are going to reach them, and what success will look like in your plans to reach your target market.
It is important to consider where your money is going to come from, and where it is going to go, in creating your business plan. This section needs to include some spreadsheets with numbers concerning what a year’s planned income and outgo will look like. Although this may seem like significant amounts of work and may require hiring a freelancer to help with, it is important that you get a grasp of your numbers early on.
4. SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This analysis looks at your own business strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats. Good SWOT analysis will look honestly at your business and your world, show both the good and the bad, and then address how you will minimize or transform the bad while capitalizing on the good.
5. Industry Analysis
This is more in depth than the SWOT analysis. You will look at your main competitors in detail, address general trends in the industry, and show why your business is poised to compete well in your chosen industry.
6. Market Analysis
Unless you are creating an stand-alone marketing plan, this is the section where you show that you understand the people who need your product/service. Create an ideal customer and, if you have the experience, a typical customer. After describing these customers you need to find information regarding your market: how to find them, how to reach them, and how to continue meeting their needs into the future.
This 6 Part Business Plan will help you get your feet on the ground with your business. For more information on business planning, marketing, or strategic planning, please contact us today.