When starting a business, you should always have a good business plan. Otherwise, no investor will want to back you up on your venture, and even then, you will likely fail.
After all, a business plan is essentially your strategy on how you can make your business succeed. It outlines details like your goals, your action plan, your target demographic, etc. It’s a vital blueprint for your proposed endeavor.
That said, the best business plan doesn’t have to be written by an expert. You just need to follow a few rules.
Identify Your Objectives
You can’t make any meaningful progress without first understanding what your goals are. Thus, in the initial part of your business plan, follow the SMART way of setting goals:
- Specific—you must clearly define what you want to accomplish and what your target market will be.
- Measurable—you must set targets and milestones for tracking your progress.
- Attainable—you must set a realistic and practical goal.
- Relevant—you must set a goal that’s in line with your business model.
- Time-based—you must specify a period for when the goal can be achieved.
When you’ve done this, you can easily make an action plan for fulfilling your goals, and you can quickly refer to your objectives if you find a better alternative for your methods.
Consider Different Business Platforms
Speaking of alternatives, nothing ever goes exactly as planned. That’s why you always need to keep your options open. When one of them is difficult to implement, to obtain, or to follow through, you have another path to take. Also, itemizing options allow you to contrast them and weigh each of their pros and cons.
Suppose you’re thinking of putting up your own clothing business and are considering renting a physical store or using an online selling platform. From that scenario, you can infer that you can potentially reach more customers using the latter over the former as you’re not limited geographically. You also don’t have to spend a lot on labor since you won’t need people to run a physical store.
A good way of notating options in your business plan is by using a comparison table, which typically has spaces on the top row and the leftmost column dedicated for two sets of variables: your options and your preferences. Then it’s a simple matter of placing a check or a cross in each of the cells perpendicular to your variables, indicating if an option meets a preference.
Keep It Short and Concise
As you make your business plan, remember the KISS principle: keep it short and simple. The best business plans are straight to the point.
No one wants to read walls of text. Cut out all the fluff. Those only distract readers from your point. Practice deconstructing your business plan into one statement. While it’s better to use diagrams and images, you can keep it succinct with the right verbiage.
If you find this step hard, you can try writing a draft first where you can be as verbose as possible. You can then revise your draft, identifying the parts where the wording is unclear or repetitive or where something doesn’t need to be mentioned anymore.
Check out these 4 free business plans templates and examples that will help you to work on your own plan.
With these three rules in mind, you can now begin writing your own business plan. There are many templates available only if you’re concerned with formatting and structure, but these three form the core of any plan. Learn them by heart, and your future endeavors will become more likely to launch and succeed.