When you are an entrepreneur, there are many things that you have to think about. One of those things is creating a business plan and setting goals that will help you stay focused on the important things as you grow your business.
But what is the best way to create a business plan that will help you reach your goals?
The Small Business Association has some ideas on how to create a business plan that will work for your business. This list shows the components that you should include in a business plan.
- Executive Summary– Your executive summary is one of the most important parts of your business plan. It offers a snapshot of your business that shows your company profile and goals to others who are interested in your business. You should think of the executive summary as your chance to summarize your business agenda in a small paragraph that will draw the attention of B2B partners and customers.
- Company Description– Your story should illustrate what you do, and it gives you a chance to market your products or services to the world. It also focuses on your niche area, and how you fit in the market, you chose for your business. You should give a lot of thought to this section as it may be what gets people to do business with you in the future. The key is to try to match your services with what your target audience is looking for.
- Organization/Management– This is where you should talk about your infrastructure of your business and how your organization is laid out. You could also include in this section how your business works and whether you have top, middle, and lower management or other corporate systems to organize your business.
- Market Analysis– Your market analysis should be based on sound research of your business industry, and it should include details about your business that appeal to your target audience. Be sure to include in this section anything that might attract investors as well. Investors like to see profits, and you should prognosticate future earnings and revenue based on current trends.
- Funding Request– This section should also be written with possible investors in mind. When you want to increase your chances for funding, you should try to think like your investors and consider what they will want to see in your business to attract them to your business.
- Financial Projections– If you are trying to project your financial projections for the future, it’s best to look at the past 12 months and use these figures to estimate your next six month or twelve month earnings.
Make Your Business Stand Out
Another critical component of your business plan that Small Business Association mentions is to make your business stand out. This is perhaps the most important element when you are trying to brand your business. Creating a customized plan of activities that emphasize the uniqueness of your brand is important.
Make it Yours
These are some great ideas that you can use from the Small Business Association and others to create your business plan. But you need always to remember that the most important thing is to make your business plan unique. Think of your goals and where you want to be in a few years with your business.
Consider what you want to do with your business and what priorities are the most important to you. Write these down with specific goals that you want to achieve.
Make it Simple
In the final analysis, you can take the advice of SBA, Business News Daily, and others to create your business plan. But you just need to focus on how you want to do it and do it your way, as Frank Sinatra once said. You should try to make your business plan reflect on the unique goals and plans of your business. Don’t try to copy what others have done but use them as a bit of inspiration of what you may want to do.
You can just start by making a list of your priorities within your business and then expand the list by adding individuals tasks and goals that will help you achieve them.
Take Time to Plan and Be Flexible
You should schedule some time to update your business plan regularly and keep in mind that it will be a work in progress that is open to change as you grow your business.
Due to the unpredictability factor in being an entrepreneur, it is important to remember that things can change and you must be ready to adapt to these changes.
Business News Daily has some information on creating your business plan along with a preformatted business plan template that you can use to create your business plans. Using templates, you can easily create a plan of activities that will fit your needs and that others will be able to read quickly.
Create a White Paper
Have you ever thought about creating a white paper for your business plan? While the two are not the same type of document, you could include much of your business plan within your white paper. A white paper is a professional document that highlights the most important aspects of your company and brand. You usually use it to communicate with your B2B partners or potential customers or business partners.
It is done in a particular format so you should study the technical requirements of a white paper before attempting to create a white paper for your business.
Remember though that a white paper is not your plan of activities exactly. It is a problem and solution report about a particular problem in which you propose a solution for the problem. In this report, you can illustrate step-by-step how your business can provide a solution for the issue and get B2B partners to buy your products or services or invest in your business.
It is more focused than your general business plan, but it includes much information about your business and what it stands for as well. So it is an excellent opportunity to show off your wares to your business partners or prospects.
How to Set Goals
An entrepreneur without goals is like a ship without a sail. You will be tossed around in the wind. You should set definite goals that include both long-range and short-range goals. Base these goals on what is most important to you.
Of course making money is a top priority since you have to stay in business. But also think about the type of work you want to do and the projects that you intend to be involved with, setting deadlines of completion for all of them.
Make your goals challenging enough to help you achieve more than your last goal while making it something that you can reach within a reasonable time.
Little by little, you’ll achieve each goal, and then you will make new goals to accomplish. Entrepreneurship is a continual journey for which there is no final destination. But you do need a map to get there. That is your business plan and goals.