Every business needs a business plan, and even more so if you are home-based business of one. You might think that just because “you are the company” and you know what the focus of your business should be, that would be enough.
Taking the time to think critically about your marketing, branding, operations, competition and the oh-so serious reality of financing is crucial to your success. It’s been almost a year since I opened the “virtual” doors of my business, and like most people starting a small business, did not thoroughly do my own due diligence. Would I change my decision? No. However, I have now have a more real picture of what my future can look like based on experience and having a wonderful support network.
While completing your business plan, you need to take a long hard look at the realities of all that must go into operating a business:
- Cultivating clients – are you a decent sales person? are you good at networking? can you stand up and sing your own praises?
- Keeping the books – are you detailed oriented? will you invest in QuickBooks or some other accounting software to track your expenses and income? will you take credit cards – do you know the cost using that service?
- Operations – have you clearly thought out the processes involved in your businesses’ operations (from order in through to billing and collections, if necessary)?
- Marketing – how will you market your business? do you have the technical abilities to keep up with social media, or are you prepared to pay for print advertising? will it all be word of mouth – are you networking on a weekly basis?
- Competition – do you seriously know your competition, beside Googling to see how many are out there? how are you different from them? is your competition successful – if so, why?
- Financing – have you created a cash flow forecast to know when/if you will need to supplement your income? can you pay for the necessary licenses, permits, legal and tax services? will you want to attend trade shows and/or hand our marketing items? will you need certain office equipment or software? will you have to purchase inventory?
Even potential turnkey business owners need to take all these things into consideration.
Creating a business plan will help you understand the potential of your business, with all its opportunities and challenges, and will also allow you to be able to communicate that vision to others. As your business moves along, you need to keep reviewing and updating your plan, and updating your goals and milestones. Create goals for 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years as well, to make sure that you are on the path you envisioned and review these goals on a monthly basis. If your path is blocked, create a new one. The point is know where you are going, and to be able to see the results of what you have created. It’s important to know the mountain you’re climbing, but is just as important to be encouraged by seeing how far you’ve climbed. Success spurs success!
While it’s true that there’s nothing better than being your own boss, you need to keep in mind that there does need to be a boss who’s responsible for the direction and vision of your business.
There are many Business Plan templates on the internet that you can find. Here is one I have used as my starting point and then tweaked substantially for my own vision. Click here – BUSINESS PLAN.
Happy selling for years to come!
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