So you have decided that you would like to start a business? While the first step towards starting a business can be very exciting, it is important to make a successful and clear plan that you can use going forward into your new venture. There are many important parts when it comes to developing a business plan, and there are also many mistakes that are often made. We have compiled four of the top DO’S and DON’TS when it comes to making your first business plan.
- Understand your USP:
Your USP is your Unique Selling Point and it is crucial to understand what yours is from the beginning of your new business journey. The harsh truth is that no matter what product or service you hope to offer, or what industry you hope to become successful in, there will be competitors. It is incredibly important to understand what sets you apart from the rest.
There are questions you can ask yourself to provide inspiration for this question:
- What will I do that is different from my direct competitors?
- How will I provide value and a memorable experience for my customers?
- Understand market demand:
Simply deciding to start a business, and having the determination to see it succeed is no longer enough to achieve success in 2017. You need to make sure that customers are going to want to buy your product or hire your service. In order to do this, you need to conduct extensive market research or hire a successful company to help you achieve this.
- Understand your ideal customers:
In the above point of understanding market demand, it is also important to understand what your ideal customer looks like. Age? Sex? Job? Demographic location? What are their hobbies? How will you reach them? This is important when it comes to deciding on how you will communicate with your target audience, and deciding which methods will be the most successful.
- Conduct a competitive analysis:
Conducting a competitive analysis is important for understand the direct competitors, and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Doing this will help you to develop strategies when it comes to marketing. It will also help to a strong brand idea.
- Write you plan before you are clear on your business idea:
Before you spend the time and effort involved in creating a business plan, it is important to really understand and be clear on your business idea.
There are many things to think about:
- Will I offer a product or service?
- Will I be based at a location or online only?
- What costs would be involved in getting this started?
- How will I make my business stand out?
Being clear on your business idea before you set out to write the business plan will help you write it more effectively. If you can’t easily what problem your company solves, you aren’t yet ready to write the plan. It would be a good plan to spend more time developing your idea.
- Fail to neglect your numbers:
It is important to calculate and be completely honest with yourself about just how much money you will need to successfully achieve your business. Failing to make calculations for growth and profit potential in the beginning could hinder the success of your business and lead to a not-so-positive response from potential investors or the bank.
- Rush the process:
It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the process of develop a comprehensive business plan, but this shouldn’t persuade you to rush the business plan. Even if you go for the method of developing a shorter, more modern, business plan like on Lean Stack you shouldn’t rush the content that you put into it. This document will be a critical reference through the entire process of starting your business, so it is important to get it right and take the time that you need to really get it to where it needs to be.
- Forget to understand your values and mission:
It is important to be very clear in the beginning about the mission of your business; this concept goes hand-in-hand with the idea of your business; how will you solve a customer’s problem? Will that be the main mission of your business? Your values relate to how you be conducting yourself in business now leading in to the future. Many successful companies, like Airbnb, developed strong values at the inception of business, and continue to follow these values as they lead into the future.
There are many ways you can develop your business plan online; some ideas include LawDepot – for a more traditional plan, and Lean Stack – for a more modern and concise plan. Whatever plan you decide to make, there is an abundance of resources available online to help you succeed.