A great business plan does not come easy. You may have started a business but the real challenge is sustaining the same for if you wish to be successful in your business venture. You have to have a clearly laid out plan. For a business to be successful you don’t always need a fancy degree from a university.
It has more to do with vision, determination, hard work and organization. The piece is intended to educate you with some practical tips on how to go about achieving a great business plan.
Remember Your Business Plan Isn’t a School Assignment
You cannot have a mindset of a 5th grader when designing a plan for your business. People fall into this trap that if they complete a certain set of sections, they would be able to succeed. This is a mistake. You are not choosing the correct answer for your MCQs here. Your survival depends on your business.
So the advisable approach is to consider your business stranded on an island and do whatever it takes to survive as did Tom Hanks in Cast Away. With this thinking, you will become proactive in ascertaining change that can affect your business in some way such as political or legal and you would be able to adapt your business to the changes accordingly.
A survival mindset will dictate you how to take off your business to the next level from ground zero and how will you actually be making money. After all, the ultimate intent is to become financially sound and evolve into a more seasoned businessperson.
Prefer Substance over Form
How your business is looking on the outside does not matter. What matters more is what the business is all about. Is it addressing a certain need of the society or is offering some sort of benefit to customers amidst its pool of rivals? And so and so forth.
You may be running your operations from a flat on rental basis but if the business is serving the purpose of masses, then there is no doubt that it will blossom into a successful venture. If the people you have are client-oriented and are business-focused then there is no doubt the business will flourish.
So you see the outside does not hold that much importance over if your service is first-rate. Hence, focus on working with people who can support your objective in the long run. Additionally, ensure proper documentation. Again, you do not need to have a printed letterhead to initiate documentation procedure.
Even it is a simple piece of paper detailing how your service offering or product will be marketed or will be logically and effectively be bringing revenues, your expenditures, opportunities, and threats that you will be exposed to then you are all set to succeed.
Don’t Overcomplicate Your Business Objective
You’ve heard of the pitch when a salesman comes knocking at your door trying to sell you, say, insurance. Have you noticed how he captures your attention with an opening line stating exactly what you want to hear? A family man would want nothing than protection for his family when he’s not around. They would pitch you exactly on that.
Similarly, if you were to explain what your business stands for to a layperson, would you be complicating things or employ the pitch as the salesman above to explain what you and your business is all about. If there is a complex explanation, it is bound to bore and will fail to hold the attention of others.
If that is the case, where you cannot explain your business to another party, how can you expect them to purchase whatever service or product you are selling them? It is part of the business strategy that when it comes down to communicating your business objective, you should be able to do that as a salesman would do.
What Are You Selling, How Much You Are Selling It For, And Who It Is Intended For?
Very crucial to developing a business plan. A decent plan. What is your assortment of products and /or services? What is it that you deal in precisely that your business built around? What is the price that you are charging for it? Who are your buyers? Is there a set of individuals or organizations which would be interested in purchasing your product or will have a use for it? How are you making money right now and how will continue making money in future?
These are questions you should be willing to answer and if you don’t have answers to the questions above then you shouldn’t be even considering doing a business in the first place.
Maybe you have a business that can turn the world upside down and I mean in the positive sense. But I will believe you when you can answer this particular question; how specifically are you going to achieve that objective?
Can you list them down, the roadmap, in other words? If you can answer this concretely I am all sold on your idea.
Cover the Important Stuff and Leave out The Rest
By covering the important stuff, it means that you should keep things simple such as what is making you money and what is breathing life into your business. There are things that are secondary in business and there are things which are listed as a priority. Focus on those things. Who is to look after what tasks in a business and how to cut on wastages should be your other areas of focus.
Research and Digest It
If you are unable to capture the market share or is unable to expand, research what might be the reasons. Has your service deteriorated in any way or is the product no longer relevant? Or is there a new competitor on the block? Such details will be revealed once the research is carried out.
Now whatever the outcome of the research, you should be willing to accept it. If it is an internal flaw of the business (process flows or the people), you should address them. If it is a new product that you require, devise a strategy to come up with a new product. If it is marketing that is lacking, invest in marketing activities so that awareness of your product is increased etc.
You can’t just go deep sea diving with a business proposition. You have to scan the environment around you. If the market for product or service you deal in is already saturated, there is no point entering the market with such a proposition. No matter how much you lower your pricing or promise on quality, a new entrant in a cluttered marketplace just won’t cut it.
Also, think globally in this digital age. You cannot limit yourself to thinking locally only. The world has become a global village and businesses are not competing locally but internationally as well. So keep this aspect in mind as well.
List Your Assumptions
You should also list your assumptions. By assumptions we mean, your forecast in terms of units of your product that you will be expecting to get sold. It is necessary because it will drive your production budget, marketing budget, and other financial areas.
Most importantly, your goals you be SMART; specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. When your goals are SMART, you will know how to meet demands for your quarterly, on a bi-annual basis or on yearly basis. With SMART goals, you can define certain benchmarks and can keep track this way if you are on track or have deviated.
Break It Down Into Chunks
Break down your action plan into chunks. If you looking to target a particular segment of the market, break it down on how you are going to achieve it. You earlier may have been targeting the middle or lower middle SEC but you have decided to up the ante so chunk it into several action-oriented tasks.
Then approach each one by one which will enable you to accomplish a much bigger task, in the end. Chunking down is an off-shoot of SMART goal setting. You have clearly defined targets which are both measurable and can be accounted for (whether or not goals have been realized).
Highlight Your Progress
Your business plan is not intended to be filed once you have devised it. Rather it should be referred to often. Because it was your building block upon which you have enacted your entire business structure. Literally, keep this document in your briefcase or bag (whatever you carry around to work).
Look at it daily and celebrate how far you’ve come. Yesterday it was a blueprint, today it is a dream realized. It will keep you motivated to even further your business and come out on top. It was your brainchild and will keep your time duly invested into your business if you keep it close to your chest instead of having sit in a file folder or a shelf (as stated above).
Above are few tips that will ensure a great business plan for you to follow.
Author Bio: John Carter is a businessman by profession. He loves to travel and maintains a blog in his leisure time. He can be contacted for help on Buy Essay by following him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.