Every business, whether a startup or a full-fledged profitable organization, needs a business plan. To know where you are going, you have to know where you came from and what came before you. Owning a business is one of the classic American dreams. If you are committed to taking your new or existing venture to the next level, then read on. We’ve got the keys to writing a winning business plan right here.
Write Your Own
Your business plan is personal—and it should be. No one can understand the passion and vision you have as an entrepreneur. No company you pay to create one for you can see your ideas as you do. If you can’t take the time to research, develop and write your own plan, it doesn’t set a solid foundation to develop and build a successful business. Write your own financial projections. If a projected cost changes, make that update, and see how your projections affect the bottom line. You will have a lot more confidence when you present your plan to potential stakeholders and investors in doing so.
Designate a certain amount of time every day to research and compose your business plan. Keeping your plan in mind and working on it every day will keep your morale up while giving you the discipline you’ll need for starting and running your business. Remember to do other things, however, because you don’t want to get overwhelmed before you’ve really started.
Your plan is projecting into an unknown point in the future so you cannot possibly be correct about every detail. So don’t bother to strive for perfection in this. You don’t want to pressure or stress yourself into changing your mind. You’ll never know what your sales at that first trade show will be until you get there. You won’t know for sure what your first week’s expenses will be until you’ve opened your doors for business. Assure you have enough venture capital for two years for financial security. Spend that time instead creating strong relationships with your customers and producing quality output that will make return customers in the long haul.
Do What You Love
You must be vested in your product and supporting industry. Having that interest will guide you into learning everything you possibly can so you can constantly improve what you do. Stay ahead of the changes to your industry and follow competitors and industry leaders. Keep constant track of what your industry is doing. This way you can know price points, marketing strategies, the ins and outs of competitors and how you can finesse customers to what you’re providing differently.
Read works that support your industry. Keep learning everything you can while completing your business plan. Use them to support your plan and don’t feel shy about using quotes in your plan as well. What will make your business unique to others? When you love something, you want to know everything about it. Follow your competitors and industry leaders on social media in order to stay abreast on the climate and changes within your industry. You will learn about price points, where competitor products are produced, how are they marketed, and ways can you gain customers. What can you do better than your competition? Dedication of this magnitude is what it takes to create a successful business plan.
As you write your business plan, go above and beyond what’s expected. This increases your passion for your plan and your product. Readers will feel your passion when they review your plan. If you are using your plan for a competition, it will impress judges—and will do so with investors if you are using your plan for fundraising or for a bank loan. Creating this business plan will be a rewarding learning experience on its own in preparing yourself for entrepreneurial success.