Planning is the quintessential part of setting up your online business – It may sound scary, but essentially, creating a start up business plan is simply ‘setting out your targets and mapping a route to your goals’
This post is a brief overview of the points you will need to consider when first drafting your business plan template. There are many free business plan templates available on the internet but I will cover the basics here should you wish to draft your own start up one..
So you want to start your own business? Quitting the 9-5 is a dream that many people have. If you really want to turn those dreams into reality, no matter how far away you are from starting your business, stop daydreaming and get a start up business plan down on paper. Sure, it will take some time, but it will help you get closer to your goals if you are aware of the potential pitfalls before you start. If you’re thinking about a start up business and you get the basics covered before you dive in, you could save yourself from potential disaster by uncovering the problems you will have to face during the start-up phase.
Business plans have a number of functions – as a funding business plan, a marketing plan template, maybe as a joint venture offer. I have made a list of important things to include.
Start Up Business Plan Points
What business will you be in? What will you do? List all of your major products or services
Your Mission Statement: It’s a good idea to create a brief mission statement, usually in 30 words or fewer, explaining your business mission and guiding principles.
Goals and Objectives: Goals are destinations—where you want your business to be. Objectives are progress markers along the way to goal achievement. For example, a goal might be to have a healthy, successful company that is a leader in customer service and that has a loyal customer following. Objectives might be annual sales targets and some specific measures of customer satisfaction.
Business Philosophy: What is important to you in business?
To whom will you market your products? Identify your targeted customers, their characteristics, and their geographic locations, otherwise known as their demographics
Funding and Finance: How much initial investment is required? Where are you sourcing the funds from?
The Edge: What factors will give you competitive advantages or disadvantages? Examples include level of quality or unique or proprietary features. What products and companies will compete with you?
Price Points: What are the pricing, fee, or leasing structures of your products or services?
Your industry: Is it a growth industry? What changes do you foresee in the industry, short term and long term? How will your business poised to take advantage of them?
Legal Environment: Are there Licensing and bonding requirements, do you need Permits? Will your business need to register Trademarks, copyrights, or patents?
Key Finacial Data: This includes Your business start up costs, ongoing costs, marketing costs, staff, wages and projected sales. You should calculate your break even points and make projections against your sales of how and when you will achieve this. Plan how much you need before startup, for preliminary expenses, operating expenses, and reserves.
Cashflow Forecast: Create a cashflow forecast. You should keep updating it and using it afterward. It will enable you to foresee shortages in time to do something about them—perhaps cut expenses, or perhaps negotiate a loan. But foremost, you shouldn’t be taken by surprise. There is no great trick to preparing it: A cash flow forecast is just a forward look at your checking account.
Describe your most important company strengths and core competencies. What factors will make your business succeed? What do you think your major competitive strengths will be? What background experience, skills, and strengths do you personally bring to this new venture?
Legal form of ownership: Sole proprietor, Partnership, Corporation, Limited liability corporation (LLC)? Why have you selected this form?
I have worked with many different types of business start ups and find that the most successful (and those who are still around) tend to be the owners who plan in advance. Forward thinking and solid planning contribute to the success of many start up businesses.
Your business plan should be a constant reference sheet for you to use and will ultimately help you achieve your short term, mid term and long term goals. As your business progresses, you will find that your plan will evolve and change and will provide you with a snapshot of your progress as you go along.
I will be creating alot more posts and examples on how to create a start up business plan – keep checking back for updates.