How To Write A Business Plan (Step-By-Step + Beginner-Friendly Template) | Small Business 101 Ep. 3
If you're interested in starting or scaling your small business, having a written business plan in hand can be the vital key to unlocking your small business success.
A business plan isn't a set-in-stone document but rather a living document that evolves and changes over time. Your business plan is to be used as a road map to guide your small business to the next level of success.
As a business strategist, over the years, I've consulted with multi-million dollar companies on writing their business plans, where they were spending $12,000+.
Now, this might be necessary for more robust companies that carefully researched technical data to get launched.
But, if you're a small business owner or want to become a small business owner, trading standard products or services, investing thousands of dollars in writing a business plan isn't necessary.
To help you write a solid business plan, I've used the high-end business plan version as inspiration, incorporating the crucial elements and stripping away the overly complicated parts.
Get your copy of this free downloadable business plan template HERE.
1. BUSINESS OVERVIEW
In this section, you'll identify the name of your company, how you'll structure it, and your mission statement.
1a.YOUR BUSINESS NAME: When naming your business, you can either build off your name or a unique business name. There's no wrong answer here. If you already have a great business name in mind great, write it down. If not, you can tune into this episode of the online business clinic next to help you develop the perfect business name for your small business.
1b. STRUCTURE YOUR BUSINESS: Making your a legal entity is essential for your business. Doing so helps you avoid legal problems with the government. Secures your reputation as a legitimate business.
Your business can build trust among suppliers, customers, and employees more efficiently as a legal entity. Allows you to market your brand and business everywhere fully.
The most common business forms are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation.
As a sole proprietorship, you do not have to have to register. However, after you begin making a profit in your business, I'd encourage you to revisit.
1c. MISSION STATEMENT: Your mission statement helps to hold to the vision of what you are building towards in your business.
A good mission statement can inspire, and transform your business. A well-written mission statement can provide your business's purpose and define success goals. The best mission statements go hand-in-hand with corporate philosophy and culture and help guide a company from the present into the future.
2. YOUR BUSINESS MESSAGE
Getting clear on your business message will make marketing much more accessible. Knowing precisely what problem your small business will solve, what results in your small business will create for your clients, and how you'll ensure those results are achieved is the first step towards building a successful small business.
Once you're clear on your business's mission message, you might think to yourself, 'well, other people are doing something similar.' If this is the case, you know that there is a viable market, and two now have the opportunity to create your re-mix on things and structure your way with your very own proprietary system or strategy.
Don't worry; coming up with one might take some time. It did for me. But begin to ask yourself the question now. "What does my proprietary system look like?" Then be open to receiving the answer.
3. MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS
Marketing is simply the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
On this page of your business plan, you're going to clearly define who you think your ideal clients for your business will be. Where do they live? Are they college-educated? Home Owners? What do they believe? What do they wish to achieve?
Then you're going to roll up your sleeves and do a little investigative research.
Head to Google, Facebook groups, Reddit, youtube and begin to search for places your ideal clients tend to gather. What's the estimated target market size for your defined perfect client?
4. YOUR BUSINESS MARKETING SALES FUNNEL STRATEGY
How will your ideal clients discover you, your small business, and your products/services?
How will you lead them into your marketing sales funnel? Will you use advertising? Are you paid organic? Local papers, news broadcasts, radio announcements, cold calling, door-to-door, content marketing, social media?
Jot down a few ideas.
Once you've got their attention, how will you get to take action? How will you convert them from cold prospect to red hot buyer? What is your conversion strategy? Book a call, submit an application, purchase your offer.
And once they've bought, what steps will you put into place to keep them on as a client or get a referral when the results are delivered.
5. YOUR BUSINESS COMPETITION
Now let's take a look at what your competitors are doing so that we can better determine your small business's unique selling proposition. Answering the question. "Why should I buy from you?"
Who are the top three leading competitors in your industry?
What do they offer? What's their unique selling point?
Now how can you and your business improve upon that?
6. YOUR PRODUCTS/SERVICES
Identify the pain point your ideal clients have. Then ask yourself how you're willing to solve that. And more importantly, what's the transformation they'll have from doing business with you?
7. YOUR BUSINESS STARTUP COSTS
It's time to talk money. Now while I'm a fan of first proving to yourself that your business idea is profitable before you invest your hard-earned money. The truth is everything comes at a cost, and it's essential to take a close financial look at what you're getting yourself into to ensure that the business idea makes sense for you and your lifestyle.
8. FINANCIAL GOALS
Now knowing what it'll cost to start and run your business, let's have a little fun and determine how much you'd like to make. Not just in revenue but profit, which means that you're money to spend on that next luxury vacation or new addition to your house.
How much money do you need to make in the first year?
How much money would you like to make in the first five years?
9. PRICING/PAYMENT PROCESSING
Based on your financial goals and marketing sales conversion strategy, let's think through your pricing and payment processing.
What is your pricing strategy? How much will you need to charge to hit your financial goals?
Will you be charging cancellation fees? Credit card processing fees? Will you offer specials or multi-service discounts? If so, how often and how much?
Will you offer a membership, subscription, payment plan, or one-time paid in the complete offer?
Know that you can make changes as you go, but you must now choose a pricing and payment plan to get this business bus in motion.
10. YOUR IMPLEMENTATION TEAM
And finally, who will you bring onto your team to turn this business idea into consistent income?