5 Tips for Creating a Business Plan
Posted on 24th May 2021 at 10:14
You’ve got this great idea and you decide you want to turn it into a business. Amazingly you realise you could become an entrepreneur and be the one making the decisions. Scary but also exciting and very tempting to be the one responsible for engineering your own success and reaping the benefits too. But hold on - before you start visualising that yacht or wonderful lifestyle, you need to get a grip on your business idea and actually turn it into a success that you love, and that makes your bank manager smile.
Where do you start, though, if you’ve been an employee all your working life and don’t mix with entrepreneurs (so far)? There is an amazing amount of work involved in taking an idea all the way into a product or service you can sell to an appropriate market, which might or might not know that it needs your idea and should part with money for it.
Without any doubt you start by writing your business plan.
Why? Because it makes you answer all kinds of questions that need to be answered so you can work out whether your idea is viable - especially if you’re considering risking everything you own, such as your house, car and savings to back it.
Your business plan outlines what your business does and what you are trying to achieve. It explains what the market opportunity is, what makes your business special and how you will make it a success.
Writing a business plan means you have a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. What you should aim for is this:
● Clarify your business idea and proposition
● Use research to understand your audience
● Spot problems and work out how to overcome them
● Set out your goals and objectives and the financial return you expect
● Work out what financing you need
● Convince other people to back your business
● Allows you to measure your process
● Set out your goals
● Measure your progress
When you write your business plan keep it professional, brief and use clear language - to the point that you are able to outline your plan verbally if you have to, without looking at a presentation or a document. You should know it like you know your own face - it’s expected. Specify numbers and dates, don’t be vague. Be clear about your ambition and how you aim to get there and what you need to make it happen. Only then will people be in a position to make decisions about how they can help you.
A business plan is critical because:
1) You must ensure your idea will make money – it’s shockingly true that some people get so excited by their great idea that they don’t stop to check this. In fact, they’re determined to make it work thinking that they can beat the odds of what the market is willing to accept. Don’t be that person. But also don’t be put off by making a loss in the early stages either – if your idea is great enough, you may have to accept losses during the first growth phase before you start to turn a profit. Think Silicon Valley tech businesses which all started small too.
The way to know if your idea is any good is that if you have investment companies fighting to help you carry the brunt of those losses then you know you’re onto a good thing, because they’re betting on big returns in the future. Just remember though that while investment is the key to fast-tracking growth, you will have to offer a degree of control and ownership to the investment company.
Understanding that is really important and watching Dragon’s Den is a good way to figure out the costs and benefits of a partnership, and to visualise what kind of arrangement you would be comfortable with. The rule is they will always want more than you’re willing to give, and before you even get to the point of pitching to investment companies there is much to do before anyone will take you seriously. The key thing here is to keep a level head and be professional – and still hold onto that enthusiasm for the energy you need to keep going and bring other people with you.
2) Fast tracking growth needs sound expertise and advice as well as investment, to help a newbie to avoid making the kind of expensive mistakes that could derail a great little business. It’s a crushing experience. There is a great deal of reliable advice out there and much of it is available from national and local governments who are keen to support budding entrepreneurs who may become the economic engines of the future for local and national economies.
3) You need to operate within the law, file tax returns, meet your legal obligations as an employer if you have staff and be insured for liability. You need to think of everything and pay good attention to it, even if it’s boring. And if you can’t get your head around it, then bring in professional advice and pay for the best you can afford. It’s a false economy to skip this. If you didn’t choose to be an accountant when you came out of education, then chances are you’ll never be able to do even simple accounts. Accept your limitations.
4) Source advice from people and organisations you can trust. Your friend in the coffee shop or pub may well be completely useless. This is your future and you must take care about where your advice comes from and what you’re basing your decisions on.
5) You need to work out what kind of risk-tolerance you have. Are you a risk taker or do you feel the need to play safe? This will influence and shape your plan. It will allow you to decide whether you need to go after investment early or are happy to start small and build your growth organically using early business income which may be supplemented by another job. You may also find that there are local government backed initiatives that will give you a grant to help you start removing some of the pressure of borrowing money commercially.
PINK SPAGHETTI CAN HELP YOUR SMALL BUSINESS GROW
If your business is at the idea stage, it could be ideal to put a VA in your plan to help you achieve specific training or task goals economically as you grow, instead of thinking about employees. This is a sample of what you can expect.
● Administrative help
● Professional sounding board
● Corporate experience
● Managing projects on your behalf
● Free health checks
We’re committed to pricing which is transparent and fair, and our UK-based virtual personal assistants can step in and become your business manager working within your framework for growth. We have provided this service for many small business owners and we recommend downloading this Business Manager PDF to find out more.
If you are writing a business plan now and planning on becoming your own boss, we salute you! And if you’d like to find out more about virtual assistants, we’re ready to answer all your questions. Click Here to contact us now.
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