You Need a Business Plan Both to Get Started & to Grow
You need a business plan. How many times have you heard that when you say you want to start a business? If you still don’t have one, you haven’t heard it enough.
Why Do You Need a Business Plan?
At the most basic, you need a business plan to help set you up for success. A business plan will help you figure out exactly what product or service you’re providing. It helps you define your strategy for success. You should learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. And it will come in handy when you need to make new, key decisions down the road.
Perhaps most important, you need a business plan to help get financing for your business. Most lenders require a business plan from you before they’ll give you a loan. Even if it’s family or friends lending you money to get started or expand, giving them your business plan will reassure them that you have a sound strategy.
What Goes In Your Business Plan?
This is a quick detail of the different parts of a business plan:
- Executive Summary. Include your mission statement. Tell a reader what your company is, and why it will succeed.
- Company Overview. Describe your business, and offer a little more detail on what business you’re in and what you do.
- Who Your Customer Is. Talk about who will buy your product or service, and what unique or special value you offer them.
- Who Your Competitors Are. Identify your main competition, and what they do. What do you offer that separates you from them?
- Who Does What. Talk about your team members, and what they are responsible for. Even if you’re a one-person operation, you should talk about your duties. It’s a good way to see what you’re in for!
- Describe Your Product/Service. Describe not only what you sell, but what goes into producing it.
- Marketing Plan. Describe who your customer is, and how you will reach them. Do you have the resources you need (someone to do ads and social media, for example)? Do you have a target, and a way of finding out when you hit it?
- Sales Plan. Talk about how you’re selling in addition to what you’re selling. Talk about your sales strategy, and how you’ll put it into action. As well, write about what tools/people you will need. This is a good place to include a timeline for turning a profit.
- Financing. Be honest: How much money do you have, and how much do you need? What do you need to grow and succeed.
- Projections for the Future. You have a timeline for turning a profit. You also should show how you’ll stay successful and profitable beyond that.
You Need a Business Plan… Review
Have friends and experienced business people you know go over your plan and suggest where it can be improved. They – and you, too – need to be honest about your strengths and limitations.
It’s Worth the Effort
Hopefully you have a better idea now on why you need a business plan. It not only gives you a blueprint to start from, but it offers directions for you to follow as you grow.
Your plan doesn’t have to be complicated. But the process will require you to research your market, which will go a long way toward determining your success.
The SBA (Small Business Administration) has an article that goes into a little more detail about writing your business plan.
Bplans offers 500 free sample business plans for a variety of industries.
Need help with your mission statement? Here is an article that describes the process of coming up with one, and gives 100 examples.
Lastly, you can learn more about our services here!