Can you believe that 45% of Entrepreneurs don’t have a Business Plan written out? Gasp! I know!
When asked about their business, they’re vague, unfocused and messy. They don’t have their stories straight, or their products straight, or a clear vision for where the company is going.
Can you imagine not planning a cross country road trip? You will find yourself lost, disgruntled and far from your destination.
No direction = Disaster.
We understand the value of a Business Plan. It not only gives you a strategic plan to follow but it helps you measure your accomplishments and failures.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is an essential step by step RoadMap for any successful business . This living document generally projects 2-6 years ahead and explains present and future goals which include Branding, Marketing, Investments, and Productivity. After reading your business plan the reader should know your business goals, your reasoning for pursuing these goals, and how do you plan on reaching them. Seriously...without one of these babies… you aren’t consider an Entrepreneur. Thank goodness I put together this simple document for you!
I got you Queen!
Don’t let the list of business planning sections intimidate you. You don’t have to write the whole plan in one sitting, and you will find that each section is simpler than it looks. Your business may not require each section of this plan; you’ll be the one who determines how much to include. However, each section you write is IMPORTANT and should be completed before you invest a substantial amount of time or money in your business! If you have already..don’t fret..keep reading!
When filling out this document make sure that you write down EVERYTHING...and I do mean EVERYTHING that comes to your mind. No matter how small or silly you think it sounds. The first time you fill this out will seem like a brainstorming session...THAT’S GREAT!! The secret is to get it DOWN ..THEN get it RIGHT!...Well sort out all the fluff later.
Simply writing down your business plan will accomplish many things:
· Give you clarity around your business to ensure proper branding.
· Discover and analyze your target audience’s need and determine the best solution.
· Allow you to strategize monetization that best fits your brand.
· Help you budget for your business and not overspend.
· Guide you through future decisions on how you will promote & grow your business.
A thorough business plan will help you avoid major obstacles and will guide your decisions unlike any other document. When considering a new idea, upcoming event, customer request or suggestion, expansion, marketing opportunity, or any other operational item, you will have this plan to consult.
I recommend reading through your business plan at least once each month. This will keep you focused on your goals as well as remind you of the objectives that you should be mindful of.
You can write your business plan in any order you wish. I found it easier to start with the sections I was most excited about, which got my ideas and energy flowing.
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WORKBOOK HERE.
This is the vision you have for your business in the future. What is the highest level that you want your business to achieve? 100 employees? International? Or do you want to build it up to sell it? This should give you a clear picture of your business’s purpose.
Your mission statement is the heart of your business. This is essential what you will chant daily to keep you focused on why you are doing this and how to achieve your goals.
This is the thing that keeps you going, gets you up in the morning and makes you continue even when you don't feel like it. Your why is your purpose. You may not know your purpose at the moment but it will come to you by simply asking yourself meaningful questions.
Our core values are the things that define us and bring us back to our center where we are our most authentic self. We are talking about your morals, your principles, your guidelines…the things that make you…YOU. I like to this of my business as a person and think of 6 attributes it has..try it! Whatever 6 you come up with thats your core values.
Now that you evaluated who you are...let’s get into your future goals for your business. Don’t focus on the how...for right now just write down the goal you want to achieve. Make sure you dig deep and get all your aspirations out. If you can dream it you can achieve it! (Corny...BUT true!! lol)
List three objectives for your business: One small goal, one medium size goal, and an ENORMOUS ONE!! I call this the stair stepper goal setting progress. As you achieve your first goal you will feel accomplished and then by the time you achieve your enormous goal you will feel pretty BadAss! Make sure your objectives are S.M.A.R.T. Read my article on smart goals……….
Keys to Success
Keys (or crucial items) directly related to your business’ success. You will list three keys each for 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. Be sure to choose items that are vital for growth. Choose keys to success that will make your objectives from the previous section possible.
This section is sooooooo important!!! I can not tell you how many people have a business but they do not know who they are marketing to!!! Which means they market to everyone.. And sorry to break the bad news…. YOU ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE...and everyone isn’t for you! Define and discover who your target audience (Also called “Avatar”) is…..Who are you doing this for? Who will ideally benefit from your business? Get VERY SPECIFIC on their demographics, preferences, social habits, financial habits. The more detailed you are that more you will be able to align all your marketing attempts based on them.
4.0 Offerings + Monetization
List of products & service with prices
List materials/tools you may need.
Where will you sell your items?
Affiliates + Partnerships
Affiliates and partnerships are very useful in business. Affiliate marketing involves a merchant paying a commission to other online entities, known as affiliates, for referring new business to the merchant’s website.
List the steps of production. What are the daily tasks you need to perform to keep your business running? What are the processes for each product/article/video/book you are planning to make? This section can seem rather extensive but this is your bread and butter of your business.
Market & Avatar Analysis
This section is all about research..so be prepared. How can you create an amazing business if you aren’t sure of what’s already out there! Don’t think if it as competition because NO ONE will do your business how you will!
Leading businesses in your niche
Analyze 5 – 10 of the leading business in your niche. Record 3 – 5 key points of what the businesses do extremely well and 3 – 5 points on things you might do to grow/change these businesses if they were yours. It shouldn’t be used to make you feel good or bad about your web presence, but to see what others are doing, support their efforts, and start interacting with them, they might be interested doing business with you.
Comparable businesses in niche
Do the same thing in this section as the previous one but for the businesses comparable to yours. Comparable such as business status, niche, development, and target audience.
Social Promotion Strategy
I recommend developing a plan to work on “getting good” at one or two platforms at a time. Take a class, read, and focus until you become comfortable with each platform, then move on to focusing on new ones. This is not to say you can’t or shouldn’t be using the other ones while you learn...social media management can be overwhelming and starting gradual is recommended.
What 2-3 social media channels will you focus on?
Record the details of how you will use each account, general guidelines, scheduling, image sizes and styles, and more.
How will you build your client base?
How often will you engage your target audience? What social media posts will you use to appeal to your clients? Will you send out weekly newsletters?
What advertising methods will you use?
It seems crazy to even think of offline marketing techniques sometimes when there is so much you can do online, but even though you are promoting a digital space on the World Wide Web, there are likely still things you can do in real life to promote your brand.
Time to get creative! This section scares a lot of people and holds them back...BUT you’ve got this!
How will you fund your business?
There are AT LEAST 25 side hustles you can have to fund your business. If you don’t want to go that route you can always use inventors and fundraising. What route will you take?
Start up Budget
Itemize the things you will need to launch your business.
Consider items such as:
‣ logo and brand identity designs
‣ website hosting and domain name
‣ business cards and other promotional materials
‣ monthly Internet fees
‣ business formation expenses (LLC, sole proprietorship, etc.)
‣ new software or computer
‣ office supplies or office furniture
‣ materials and inventory to make cool stuff (DIY projects, recipes, etc.) for your audience
What are your financial goals for your business?
What does your revenue streams look like? What percentage of revenue do you want to be making from each revenue stream?
Monthly Revenue Streams & Expenses
Create a spreadsheet or table of all the revenue streams your business will have. As you get used to the process of selling your goods/services, creating effective advertisement or affiliate relationships, etc., you will start to see your revenue grow. Record your monthly income from each source. This will help you notice trends over time, get rid of ineffective partnerships, and capitalize on ideas that are working well for you.
Accomplishing goals is fun. Reaching milestones, no matter how “small,” can be the push we need to keep going during an unpleasant moment or it can be a sweet affirmation that we’re doing what we’re “supposed to be doing” with our lives.