One of my favorite quotes comes from none other than the infamous rapper Jay Z and it plainly states “I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.”
No matter what I am doing whether it is blogging or starting a new venture, I like to think of myself as a business. I am the brand and this “thing” is what I am using to represent that. Branding yourself or a business is a whole other post in itself that will be coming up very soon.
In my past two posts I have been teasing the idea of a new project that I am working on in addition to blogging and my day job. I am not ready to reveal this big venture just yet, but I am going to begin sharing little snippets along the way.
Today I am talking about the first steps of any new venture – what to include in a business plan. Now it may be tempting when you are first starting out to just jump into the fun stuff (guilty…), but there are some important logistics that need to be taken care of first. And of course, business plans will vary greatly based on your type of business and intentions with the plan itself. These are just some essential elements to get you started.
01 An Overview
Before you can get into things like budgets and marketing strategies, you first need to provide the general overview of your business. This includes your business structure, mission and purpose, location, and type of business.
02 Products & Services
Obviously your business plan needs to include the products or services that you are providing. Start by categorizing your products and services. Then include a brief description for each.
03 Sales & Marketing Plan
How are you going to reach your customers? The marketing portion of your business plan will detail your strategies for marketing your business to a potential buyer.
The sales portion of the plan includes your pricing structure and how you determined that price.
04 Market Analysis
Who are your customers? What is their age range, gender, and defining characteristics? You also need to describe the current state of your industry. What is the size of the industry, and what are the current trends? This will help you with the next section.
05 Competitive Analysis
Who are your competitors? List them out. What are their pro’s and con’s and how will you do things differently? How is your business going to stand out in the crowd?
A necessary evil of any business, the financial plan. First you need to establish the amount you require in order to start your business. Then factor in any ongoing business expenses including equipment, supplies, professional fees, etc. Next you need to look ahead. What are your projected revenues? How much do you need to bring in to break even?
A business plan can be intimidating. It takes a lot of time, research, and number crunching to put a successful plan in place. Once you finish though, you are one step closer to your goal – success!