Despite what many may think, writing a business plan is the most fun any new or aspiring owner can have in their lifetime. Want to double that fun? Write one on a Friday night when there’s something better to do!
This belief might only be true in “Lou’s perfect world,” and if you’ve read any of my prior articles, seen one of my videos, or listened to my podcast, you know why I am such a big fan of writing a business plan.
I’m glad you asked!
Writing a well thought out business plan is like having a roadmap to success. It paints a crystal clear picture of your business, what makes it unique, why people should want to buy from you, and even gives you a glimpse into the organization’s lifetime.
So, how do you create an effective business plan when you’re just starting out?
Define your “Big Idea.”
- What problem do you solve that no-one else can?
- Why should buyers care?
- What’s your emotional tug?
- If you’re breaking into a market that’s already full, what differentiates you?
- If you’re creating something new, what problem is it solving?
Take stock of your resources.
- What’s your intellectual property?
- Who are the people who are going to support you, internally and externally?
- What equipment do you need to make your business a successful reality? This may include delivery vehicles, computers, desks, lamps, CNC machines, bulldozers, or hammers, for example.
- Make sure to know your true costs and gross profit target!
Define your marketing strategy.
- What’s your marketing capability?
- What’s your message going to be?
- How are you going to share that message with the world?
- Who will manage these efforts?
- Establish a budget and a timeline.
Identify your financial resources.
- What are your financial resources? If you think it will cost $100K to get started in the first year, do you have $300K to get you through the first three years?
- Make sure you have 2-3 years of liquidity because I promise you’re going to make mistakes.
Set up a system for accountability.
- Define your guidelines and systems for accountability that will ensure that you and your staff are executing and marching to the same drum’s beat.
Surround yourself with solid advisors.
- Who can you go to for advice, who has the experience and is not dependent on you for a paycheck? The best advisor you can find is someone who isn’t afraid to kick you in the fanny and tell you, “you can do better,” or “that’s a mistake.”
- Not sure who to call? Start with your CPA, or someone who has ownership experience.
Do not turn this plan into the Bill of Rights or the Magna Carta!
Limit yourself to writing one paragraph per section, and while working through these questions, follow the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).
If you can’t write one cohesive paragraph for one of these sections, then clearly, you’ve identified a weak spot in your plan. Take the time to get help and figure it out before moving forward!
Click here to download a free templated guide I’ve put together for you, and if you have any questions about your plan, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m happy to help.