Wheel Media loves working with startups to shape strategy, build their brand and create websites. Here’s a few tips we’ve shared with clients for creating a business plan:
When formulating an initial business plan for your new venture, there are various paths and routes to consider. Some business owners prefer a structured outline that includes coverage of every aspect of the business, and is quite lengthy and detailed. These business plans are particularly important if you plan to approach investors for funding, and in this case, you will want to be sure that your financial section is outlined in detail, that market research is on point and has a targeted audience, and that you provide background information and qualifications of key players within your organization who have the credentials and experience to make your business a success.
Startup business owners and those who want to start small shops or provide personal services can likely get away with a more simplified business plan that focuses more on the goals of the business, the vision, and the process that the owner will use in terms of making decisions. These business plans often focus on the product or service and what it offers that is new or different, plans for targeted marketing, and what success looks like for the business in one, three, five, or ten year’s time.
1. Clarify and Articulate Your Vision
Describe your business in terms of what your business currently does, or your ultimate desired outcome. Of course, you also want to include the pertinent facts such as how long the business has been in operation, where you operate, current successes, and the legal entity you register as (LLC, B-Corp).
2. Assert Your Uniqueness
This is more than just a description of what your company will do, but what your business stands for and what your business offers that is different from or better than what is currently offered in the marketplace. For example, do you only source from local, sustainable producers? Or do you provide a rare service associated with significant expertise? It is also important to create an incredible website with professional web design. This is another form of branding to your audience and expressing your uniqueness.
3. Gather Research
Including market research in your proposal proves to customers, investors, and associates that you have appropriately identified the area in which you can succeed, and why you believe it to be so. Name your target customers including their demographics and their potential purchasing power. This is also where you can include price comparisons if there are similarly identifiable products currently in the market.
4. Plan For the Worst
If are establishing a company that prides itself on providing locally sourced products, explain any condition in which you would consider using products from outside your typical range. A company sourcing local ingredients in a region of California may make an exception to import products within a 500-mile range under drought conditions. Being optimistic in business is important to success, but being realistic and having a plan in place allows for greater peace of mind if and when you need to deviate from your original system.
5. Get Personal
It is good to provide information about the key players in the business, including their roles, previous experience and background, and how they came to become involved in the project. Even if you plan to solely operate the company, it is still a nice addition to include a short bio highlighting relevant experiences and what you can bring to the table in this new venture.
6. Talk Money
If the business will be seeking support from investors, it is essential that detailed a detailed financial breakdown be included in the business plan. Even a small or personal business that is privately funded should include analysis of financials in order to articulate the investment versus financial goals. While many businesses are born from a passion for the product or service, the fiscal implications of a startup are many, and owners should take care to focus on financials even before the business is in operation.
The Doing and the Dreaming
Writing a business plan can be an intimidating process, but it doesn’t need to be all jargon and indecipherable projections. You can choose a business plan format that is suitable for your style of work, and articulates in writing your well-laid plans, as well as your hopes and dreams. With a proper business plan, you can move forward with reassurance that your research is supportive of your venture and that your goals are both lofty and realistic.