All great businesses start with a great business plan. It might sound unnecessary, but taking the time to sit and map out your objectives and intentions for your business can help provide some much needed direction for your company, and showcase which areas you should be focusing on to get yourself off the ground.
Business plans can be misconceived as long, stuffy documents full of boring business jargon, but the truth is they don’t have to be. For the most part, businesses don’t really need the long formal outline that’s required for bringing in investors, instead a simple, ongoing document will do for most.
If that sounds like the right fit for your business, read on to find out the first five things you need to consider when writing your business plan.
1. Business Overview
Your business overview should include a quick introduction to the business - including the name, the business owner(s) and the places where it can be found.
The most important part of your business is your concept, so when getting started with your business plan you should be thinking about what it is you’re actually setting out to do. What’s the point of your business, and what difference will it make?
Chances are, there’s already something similar out there, so you should be thinking about your unique selling point and what makes you stand out from the crowd. What do you do that’s better than everyone else? Here, you should be summarising the value your business provides to its customers.
2. Your Why
This will all tie into your “why” - aka the reason you decided to start this business in the first place. When thinking about your why, you should be considering your values as a person, and how these will reflect in your business.
What made you decide to take the plunge and start building your business? Here, you can let your passion shine through, and really get to grips with your personal and brand values.
3. Business Need
Now that we’ve covered the reasons why you started the business, it’s time to consider the reasons that you think this specific business is needed. This is where you can map out any gaps in the market that you’re intending to fill, as well as thinking about what problems your business might solve for your customers. Are you saving them time, money or simply making their lives easier? Think about your proposed venture from their perspective and really get to grips with the value that your business is providing.
4. Behind the business
Here, you should be sharing a short summary of who you are and why you’re a good fit to run this business. What do you bring to the table? Consider your skills and experience, and the relevance they have to this new venture.
One of the most important parts of your business plan is the overall structure of your venture. At this point, it doesn’t need to be concrete, but having a general idea of how your business processes will run will go a long way in improving your customer experience - and create structure for your own working life.
In this section, you can outline your customer journey, and consider the processes you will undertake each step of the way. Consider your on boarding process, how you’ll produce and deliver the work, your quality control systems, payment processes and any software you’ll require throughout this.
By creating a vague outline of your business processes, you’ll have a much better understanding of how your business will operate, as well as the costs and resources involved in producing your work.