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The Best (And Worst) Times to Post on Social Media (Part 1)
"You can’t win the game of life unless you know the rules and are prepared to win, but you have to be sharp, because in the game of life, the rules often aren’t written and they keep changing." Richard Adams
Happy Hump Day!
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a written description of your business’s future. Simply stated—it’s a document that details what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a quick couple of sentences on the back of a cocktail napkin describing your business strategy, you’ve written a plan, or at least a seedling of a plan.
The answer is simple. It enables you to evaluate the feasibility of your idea. It provides an operating plan so you know what to expect. And it gives you a clear picture of what kind of financial commitment will be required. Remember you are crafting your plan to:
- Avoid Making a Huge Mistake – The last thing you want to do is work on your start-up for a year, only to realize you were doomed to fail from the start. No one wants to learn the hard way that they didn’t set aside enough capital to reach their goals, took on partners with the wrong skills and resources, or don’t have a viable way to make money. Developing and sharing a business plan can help ensure that you’re moving on the right path.
- Develop a Game Plan – At a start-up, execution is everything. That means you have to set priorities, establish goals, and measure performance. You also need to identify the key questions to answer, like “What features do customers really want?” or “Will customers buy our product and how much will they pay?” and “How can we attract customers in a way that’s cost effective and scalable?” These are all things you need to address during the business planning process.
- Raise Capital – The last thing you want to do is start up your dream business and be completely unprepared for all that is entailed, especially in terms of operation costs, and then not be able to keep your dream afloat.
Now you know the “what” and “why” of a business plan, but this only brings about more questions. Where do you find the time? What do you write? What about all these financials? Here are three key points to remember once you are putting pen to paper.
1 - No one’s got time for that
Writing a business plan will take some time. There’s no getting around that part. But you don’t have the time to sit and write for hours. Not many of us do. An easy solution to make it more feasible for your schedule is to break it up into sections. Focus on smaller chunks at a time to help make the lengthy task more manageable.
- Section One – Executive Summary
- Section Two – financials
- Section Three – Support to Back Up the First Two Sections
2 - Relinquish the verbosity
The most effective business writing is simple, to the point and easy to read. People are generally busy and will opt to skim your plan versus studying it thoroughly – instead choosing to read it while talking on the phone or checking their email. Save the eloquent sentence enhancers and verbosity for that great American novel you’ll write later. When you’re crafting your plan, remember these tips:
- Keep it short
- But Be Thorough
3 - Show me the money
Your financial projections should be based on facts and not wild guesses. Be prepared to justify your numbers to those you are seeking financial assistance. It’s crucial to understand the cost before you get in too deep. That is why your financial analysis is very important.
- Create a One Page “Break Even” Analysis
- Show how you will gain profits and be a good investment
You have a vision for a small business. Putting that vision in writing gets it one step closer to reality and assuring your success. Here are the most important aspects of a business plan to guide you through the process:
- Define your product or service
- Research your industry & Market
- Identify your competitors
- Plan how you will market your product
- Estimate your Sales
- Assign Key Management members
- Plan how you will deliver your products or services
- Plan your financial statements for 3-5 years in advance
- Look into cost saving options like a virtual office space
So, as you can see, a business plan is much more than just a fund-raising tool. You’ll use it for managing yourself, for operating your business and for recruiting your staff. Call us today so we can show you how we can help turn your entrepreneurial dream into a reality.
The best day to think about work-life balance
Read this great article:
Weekend Wisdom: Ideas for Maximizing Your Free Time
There’s no wrong way to eat a burger. Happy National Cheeseburger Day!
"What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." (Napoleon Hill)