Now if you’re reading this post because you just LOVE the idea of writing a business plan for your business, then I applaud you… the reality however is that just the thought of it scares the ‘bejesus’ out of most of us. But, why?
The English Dictionary states that a business plan is “a detailed plan setting out the objectives of a business, the strategy and tactics planned to achieve them, and the expected profits, usually over a period of three to ten years”, OK, so that’s why…
In reality, a business plan needn’t be so scary. Is it the blueprint for your business? Yes. But does it have to be a 20, 30 or 100 page document that takes you two months to write and a further one to proof read, re-write and finally be in a position where you’re happy to share it? Absolutely not.
My advice is to start small, and write your plan on one piece, and one side of A4 paper. Yes, really! Using the below sections as a guide will help you to have the first draft of your business plan ready in no time.
Vision: where do you see your business in the next one, two or three year’s time? Maybe your vision is to be a best-selling author, or to have your very own product listed in a high street retailer? Whatever your ambitions and dreams for your business, state these here.
Market: arguably the most important part of any business plan is understanding who your customers will be, and who you are competing with to reach them. Do your research to be sure there is a place in the market for your product or service. If not, you will need to find your niche before moving to the next stage… how are you different? How can you be sure that your customers will choose you over the competition? Be sure that you are completely confident in your business idea before moving past this stage, as it could save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run…
Objectives: now is the time to set some goals. Do your sums and determine what success looks like for your business. This could be anything from ‘selling 100 books in year one’ to ‘generating £1,000,000 in revenue by year three’! When setting your objectives always check back to your ‘vision’ and ‘market’ sections to ensure that you are being both realistic, but ambitious enough to achieve your goals.
Strategy & marketing plan: so your objectives are set, but how do you achieve them? To ‘sell 100 books in year one’ for example your strategy and plan might include:
Get book published and network with other authors to raise awareness
List book on an affordable online platform like Amazon
Raise awareness of book through social media, word of mouth and other free media
Ask for reviews from friends, family and customers
Attend local book clubs and events to sell directly
Be sure to list anything here that might help you to achieve your objectives. This will be a useful checklist in the future, and you’ll be surprised how often you refer back to it.
Action plan: if you’ve got this far, then there’s nothing holding you back. Write down a list of realistic dates for completing the above tasks with your objectives in mind, and keep referring back to your one page plan. Also, don’t be afraid to add to it over time! The truth is that as any business grows, so does its business plan; as you start to sell more, get more customers and your business develops, everything that you’ve written can be tweaked, added to and improved.
If you need help developing a plan for your business then do get in touch, we’d be more than happy to talk you through the process, or help to develop your plan for you (contact us here).