Every good business has a business plan as its foundations. While there have been successful businesses started with little more than an idea, they are few and far between. Most good businesses have a solid business plan to drive them forward in the right direction.
Why is a business plan important?
If you’re hoping to seek investment from third parties, they will want to see a plan before they commit. Furthermore, any business that needs a business account (pretty much all of them) will also need a business plan to ensure they get it.
Unfortunately some people think being able to wrap up their idea in a single sentence is enough of a plan to go ahead. That’s not the case. So let’s see how to make not just a business plan, but a killer business plan.
Start with your customers
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or whether you’re offering services or products. Your end user is what matters most. Most novelists don’t start writing their books until they know how they’re going to turn out in the end. The same applies to businesses. If you don’t know who your end user is, or how you’re going to reach them or why they should even be inspired to buy from you, your business plan – such as it is – will fail. Even if it were to work, you’ll find it next to impossible to get input and financing to get your business off the ground.
Once you know who your business is aimed at and how you will reach them, you’ll be streets ahead of plenty of other people who have written business plans and missed out this vital information. Of course this shouldn’t be guesswork – you need to do your research because you can bet the people who read your plan will want to know this above all else. They’ll want facts and figures and you need to be ready to provide them. Even if you are funding everything on your own, you should still know the facts otherwise you risk losing your money.
Boil it down to the basics
Okay so let’s assume the bones of your plan are now in place – at least in your mind. You know who your business is aimed at and how you will reach them. The key to creating a killer business plan from this point is to boil down all this information into a few pages that reveal only the most important points.
All good plans should start with a summary – one that rolls everything into one or two sentences and describes the premise for your business. Once you have written this you can go into more detail about how your business will work. Above all else, your plan must detail how your business will generate income. It should also include details about the key people who will run the business.
Of course, some businesses are run by sole traders. If this is the case for you, it is still worth noting down the particular skills and abilities that make you right for the job. If nothing else, they will help you get all your ducks in a row to have the best chance of successfully developing your business.
Forecast your income and profits
Don’t forget to add this information to your plan either. Understand how much you will charge for your products or service, and consider how you will stay on top of your finances. Plenty of businesses have gone under because they were owed money and did not receive it when it was due.
Consider different aspects such as using Invoice Studio online invoicing software for example, which will enable you to issue reminders for outstanding invoices more quickly and easily than you might think. All these aspects should be readily considered and accounted for in your business plan. Indeed, if you focus on them now, it could make all the difference to the success of your business in the long term.
As you can see, a business plan isn’t just about planning ahead. It’s about identifying problems you may not even have known were there before. It’s about strengthening your idea so you can achieve more and focus on more successful results over time. In short, a business without a business plan stands a far higher chance of failure because none of the problems will have been forecast.
If you focus on spending some time creating a killer business plan, you’re far more likely to end up with a killer business as well.