Let’s get serious for a minute – having a business plan seems silly right? It’s a document you spend so much time and effort working on and then maybe look at once a year, MAYBE twice if you’re feeling extra motivated and have like an extra 30 minutes to spare between social media and client work.
But it’s not silly. It’s really not. I like to think of a business plan as this guidebook, exclusively for your specific business. My business plan is the business plan for Angela Nichole Coaching. It’s an instruction manual that I can refer back to if I’m ever feeling blocked, lost or thinking – what the fuck do I do now.
It’s not always an exact guide though, its malleable, fluid – its something that evolves and changes as your business evolves and changes. If your business plan isn’t fluid – you might want to re-think your business plan.
So why do you need a business plan?
Other than it being a guidebook, reference document, roadmap for your plans for your business…a business plan can help you make sure that you’re not missing anything vital to establishing your business – especially for those of you who are new to owning a business or have not quite started yet.
Here’s a few other reasons why you need a business plan, especially when you’re first starting out.
- It’s a professional document that presents the vision of your business to others, particularly investors.
- If you seek to obtain financing through lending (bank loans, business loans, micro loans) you will be required, in many cases, to have a business plan.
- Renting office space or property for your business? Property management companies may want to view your business plan to see if you are a good financial risk.
- If you’re applying for credit from suppliers or vendors, you may also be required to show your business plan.
- Because a Business plan is fluid, and should be changing at least annually, it’s a great resource to review what has worked and what has not.
What goes into a business plan?
So many things! Things that take time, effort and a lot of detailed information about your business that you may or may not have thought about before. Lets take a look at some of the important aspects of a business plan and how it can clarify certain parts of your business!
- Executive Summary. The executive summary is going to cover the bare bones basics of your business – your company description, your services/products, your audience/clientele and the future of your business. This is a high level summary of your business.
- Company About Page. Your About Page is going to cover your Mission statement, who makes up your team – if its just you, that’s a-ok! – and the legal structure of your business. I encourage you to do your due diligence on legal business structures and the requirements in your state!
- Market Research. Avoid compare syndrome! You shouldn’t be comparing your business to others, but you should be informed about your industry. This is an important section! You’re going to cover what your industry is, who your customers are, who are the biggest companies in your market, what makes you stand out from the rest and any regulations you may need to follow for your industry.
- Products/Services. The meat of your business – its what you’re offering, how much you’re charging and other detailed information regarding your products and services.
- Marketing. How are you going to get your product/service to the people? What are your plans for growth, are you allocating funds to marketing and advertising? A seemingly simple, but often times the most consuming aspect of running a business – have a clear idea around what you want to do with marketing- it’ll help you delegate later!
- Financials. Probably the item that many business owners do out of necessity but avoid like the plague! I know I’m one. Put together a clear financial snapshot of your business. From Profit and Loss projections, Cash flow, projected balance sheets, break even analysis and any plans for repayment of monies borrowed. Don’t skip or skimp on this one, if you’re seeking business loans you will NEED to have these types of items.
- SWOT. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
- Operations. This is an optional section, but may help those who are perhaps a little less Type A. Figure out how you want your day to day to run, who do you want to work with, how do you want to hire and what kind of facilities do you want/need.
So where do you begin?
What I tell my clients is to not start with their business plan. Shocking right? It’s what we’re often told to do. But starting with your business plan can be like jumping into a giant pool with out knowing how deep it can be.
Start with grabbing my Ultimate Business Checklist- I go, step by step, over the things you need to do and get started – including writing your business plan. With a template for a solid business plan! When you follow these steps….Your business plan starts filling itself out!