A strong business plan greatly increases a business's chance of success and can serve as a foundation for your successful business. The most important purposes of a business plan are
1) to create an effective strategy for growth
2) to determine your future financial needs
3) to attract investors (including angel investors and lenders.
Creating a business plan can be an intimidating process. You know it's important to put a plan together to start a successful business, but you find yourself staring at a blank page wondering what to do next.
Luckily for you, there's hope. It’s never been easier to start a new business. Unless you’re seeking a mega outside investment, you can write a business plan in under an hour.
The Lean Business Plan
A lean business plan is exactly how it sounds. A simple, tangible plan that outlines your business and brings your idea to life. It’s less about creating an official document, and more about an ongoing journey of discovery as you develop a strategy for success.
Split into easily digestible sections and no longer than two pages (initially), the plan gives you a platform to learn more about the validity of your idea, the people you’re targeting, and most importantly yourself.
Define It. – What is your service or product? Include your business description.
Define the Need. – Write out the problem your service or product satisfies.
Why should anyone buy it? – What is the value your product delivers? This becomes part of your elevator pitch.
How will you distribute it? – Is it an e-commerce product? Will you sell it to stores? Create a sales team?
How will you market it? – Yes, I believe in marketing plans and strategies but use this step to figure out how you’ll sell it and to who. Write it down.
Who else is selling it? I don’t know why entrepreneurs always think their product is unique and the only one on the market. More than likely, you have a competitor. This competitor is the beginning of your new value proposition. Find them and compare yourself against them.
Can you create a niche? Is there a niche you can explore? – This is especially true for e-commerce companies. A business niche is a specialized or focused area of a broader market that businesses can serve to differentiate themselves from the competition. Whether you open a business in a unique industry or a saturated market, it is important to differentiate yourself from the competition to win over your audience.
How will you price it? – This is hard to do in ten minutes. But, this step helps you determine costs. And once you determine costs you can determine your profits.
Next Steps – Now that it’s done. What are your next steps to get from the idea to the marketplace?
Need more help? Sign up for our "How to Create A Business Plan" course at OK Finance Academy.