How to create a great business plan, in a few easy steps!
“A dream will always be a dream, without a plan.”
CEO & Founder of E. Mitchell Designs
There’s an amazing business idea brewing in your head, and you haven’t taken the jump to make it happen…just yet. I’m here to remind you that starting a business is HARD WORK, but worth every bit of blood, sweat and tears you’ll pour into it! Starting a business is your chance to show the world what you’re passionate about, and make a living (or a lot more) doing it!
If you’re serious about starting a profitable and successful business you’ll need to create a business plan…and we’re here to help!
Having a business plan will help you land investors and paint a clear picture towards the path to success for your new business.
We’re going to go over a few easy steps to creating a business plan. Now, I say “easy” because I’m going to explain these steps in a super simple way…but, let’s not get used to putting the words “business” and “easy” together in the same sentence.
Ready to get started?
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
So, you might be wondering…what exactly is a business plan, and what should it include?
SBA.gov recommends that a business plan include:
There you have it. Now you know exactly what a business plan is, and what to include when creating yours.
Now that we have that out of the way…I’m curious, are you a coffee drinker?…
You might want to grab a big cup right about now, because we’re about to dive deep into the important steps to developing a killer business plan, and I’m going to need your full attention, because this is what success is made of. I’m ready, if you are!
#1 Set your foundation | Establish a purpose
Studies show that people want to get “behind” a business rather than just buy their product or services. So, let the world know what your ultimate purpose is as a business or brand.
New Report Reveals 86% of US Consumers Expect Companies to Act on Social, Environmental Issues
When setting a foundation for your new business or brand, ask yourself the following questions:
Answering these questions first will not only help you identify the purpose behind your new business or brand, but it will also give you a head-start on developing a strong mission statement in the near future.
Your purpose is essentially your foundation as a business or brand. Everything you build for your business or brand, based off of that foundation, will be a lot stronger because you took the time to establish it from the beginning.
Once you finish developing your new business plan, you’ll want to start exploring branding options. Knowing your purpose (your foundation) will also help during this process and be a vital piece to a strong and successful branded business image. You’ll also have a better understanding of what markets to target when developing a marketing plan for your business plan.
"Identifying a purpose is vital to understanding your role as a business and business owner."
#2 Research! And then, research some more!
If you’re going to do business, you should know absolutely everything about that business. Your goal should be to be able to answer ANY question that may come your way regarding your business, product or brand.
Of course…there are some things that you have to learn with time and experience.
Some important things you can, and should, research are:
#3 Create a company profile
Your company profile will be a summary of your business, and it’s “identity” to the public. The first two steps above were the foundation to this step. Some information to be found in your company profile are:
#4 Keep records | Document everything
As a business owner, learning how to properly document, and organize information, data, etc. is vital! From the very beginning of your business journey, you should keep records of the following information:
Learning to keep track of this important information from the very beginning of your business ventures is so important!
This step will help you create the Management and Organizational sections of your new business plan. This step will also help you finalize your Financial Projections and Funding Request sections of your new business plan.
See? You’re already steps ahead of most with “business dreams”, because you’re actually taking those dreams and making a plan…and we’re really proud of you for that move.
Just a few more steps and you’ll have a brand new Business Plan to show off to potential investors and even friends and family! Let’s finish this up…
#5 Make a major marketing plan
Because you took the time to cover the first four steps to creating a successful business plan, this next step won’t be too hard.
It’s time to think about what demographics and areas you’re going to target when you decide to start marketing your new business, brand or product. This group of people will be considered your “Target Market”.
Target Market: a particular group of consumers at which a product or service is aimed. (via Google Dictionary)
Once you figure out your target market, you can begin to construct a killer marketing plan. Some important things to consider when creating a marketing plan are:
#6 Explain WHY you care
The “why” behind your ambition to make this business idea a reality is such a powerful tool to use in not only your business plan, but all of your future efforts. Never forget your “why”!
Not sure of your “why”? Ask yourself the following questions:
Maybe you have yet to really think about your purpose or reason behind your business venture. Now is the time to dig deep and find that fire behind this “idea”. WHY is it going to be successful?
The answer to the above questions are going to be your fire. That fire is going to keep you warm when this business life gets cold and lonely (and it will). Never let that fire die.
#7 Stay focused!
The last, and probably the most important, step to creating a killer business plan, is to STAY FOCUSED! Your success depends on it.
All of the components of a business plan might seem a little overwhelming at first glance…but I challenge you to dive in and stay focused on the bigger picture. Completing this first step to creating a business, by outlining a business plan, is going to help shape you into the business owner you were born to be.
I’m excited for you!
Now, go after those dreams!