After years of attending business school, I have a Master’s degree under my belt. Honestly, I can’t remember a lot of what I learned – formulas, theories, and rules, but I do remember how to write a great business plan.
On Monday, I shared on my blog that I am starting a beauty and home shop on the lovely interwebs. It’s exciting, but it is also damn scary and quite frustrating getting all the details right. Last week, I sat down and made myself work on my business plan, and guess what? It wasn’t that difficult. I’ve build many business plans throughout my college years, and I’ll show you how to write a business plan the easy way.
Why You Need a Business Plan
Every business needs a business plan. Sometimes lending institutions or partners ask to see your plan to be sure they know what they’re getting into. Many times you’re the only one that will ever see it. Either way, you need one, because it’s essentially a foundation on which you will build your business and a guide you will follow.
A business plan states what your goals and mission are, what assets you have, what your plan for the first several years of business is, and your organizational hierarchy. It sounds complicated, but it only took me a few hours and one sitting to complete mine. To show you how easy it is, I’m going to share mine with you in a bit.
Laying out the Business Plan
While your business plan can contain several items, if you’re starting a small business, simple is better. This way it isn’t overwhelming, and you are able to update it easily as you and your business needs grow.
- Mission Statement – What is your business’s mission? Why does it exist?
- Values – What core values do you strongly believe in? These are things that pull at your heartstrings and what you will bring to the world through your business.
- Target Market – Who is your ideal customer? How old are they? What things do they like to do in their free time? How will you solve their needs with your business? Check out my Avatar Creation if you need help in this area.
- Company Assets – What assets do you currently have that will help you build your business?
- Your Skills – What skills make you an expert in this area? What skills can you learn to do better in your business?
- Long-term Goals – In 2-5 years, what is it you would like to have accomplished? Be very specific.
- Short-term Goals – In the next 12 months, what would you like to accomplish? Remember to build into your long-term goals.
- Action Plan – A month by month detail of steps you will take to accomplish your short-term goals.
- Organizational Hierarchy – Name your executives and staff.
Keep Your Plan Current
As your business grows, your business plan will change. If your mission, target market, or values change, be sure to keep your plan updated. Your goals will always be changing as you meet them, so adjust your plan to suit your new goals.
I recommend you don’t overwrite outdated business plans. Just copy the file and write over the copy. This way, you can keep track of your progress and look back as you continue to surpass your goals.
A Business Plan Sample
Earlier, I said that I would share my plan with you, so here you go. All you have to do is complete this form, and you’ll receive my business plan template in your email shortly. I hope that you find this helpful. Stay tuned for more business strategies, as I’ll be sharing my business journey with you. Until next time.