No matter what type of business you’re starting, it’s important to always create a business plan. Having a business plan will outline some important factors you have to consider so you don’t get caught off guard. You’ll also need a business plan if you’re applying for funding because a financial institution will want to see your plan for the future. From the business plan, they’ll be able to tell if your business has potential or if you’re setting yourself up for failure. I’m lucky because I blog for myself and don’t really need to create a business plan. I’m very familiar with the elements that are important because I did a lot of research before starting. However, if you’re jumping into unknown territory, then I recommend creating a business plan because it’ll protect you in the future.
Here are the fundamental characteristics or elements of an in-depth business plan. Let’s get started…
This is the section dedicated to letting the reader know what your business is about. You should focus on an overview of your company and why you think it’s a great niche to be involved in. This is a summary, so quickly outline what makes your business different and you should aim at capturing the attention quickly. Here are a few things to focus on:
- Income projections
- Quick marketing experience
- Operating costs
Here, you will discuss your projections further in your niche. You want to outline things like how much of the market will be attracted to your product and if you had 100% of the market, what will you profit? Discuss things like market size, location, and age group. You might also want to consider average income of that group relevant to your product so you can project income from your audience.
In this section, you’ll want to dig deeper so you can find out as much about your audience. By understanding your audience, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about your business. For example, find out the following:
- EXACT age group
- EXACT location by percentage
- The income level of the group
- Other interests and how they relate to your product
- Future potential (growth, age group, etc.)
This is the MOST important element of your business plan because you want to research your competition. Doing this is great for you to better understand your competition and it’s also good to outline when getting funding. Every financial institution wants to know about your competition because the higher the number, the more risk in your business. In this section, you should focus on the following:
- Major players in your niche
- Experience of competitors
- Average income
- Market share
- Reputation and reviews
- Product and services they carry
I’ve just listed a few and every niche will have its own competition and effecting factors. Take your time in this section so you can outline EXACTLY what’s important in reference to your competition. The more information, the better for you and your funding source.
Marketing & Sales
There are so many ways you can market your product and/or service so it’s important to know what your plan is going forward. Obviously, much of it will depend on your monthly budget, however, the Internet has made it very easy to start with pennies. For example, here are some questions to ask yourself when getting started…
- Will I use social media?
- What is my budget?
- Will I be using PPC?
- Will I hire an agency?
- Will I marketing offline? (newspaper, postal, flyer, etc.)
- Many more.
Asking yourself these questions will allow you to focus on what matters and research every avenue available to you. By doing research, you can explore your budget further and make adjustments. Next, you’ll be able to check out where your competition is marketing so utilize the same methods to optimize results. Keep an eye on the marketing methods available to you and how often your competition uses them. If they have been using a marketing strategy for some time, you know it’s definitely producing results for them so should think about utilizing it yourself.