Do you have a business plan?

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Perhaps you started a business plan when the idea for your business first came to you but did you finish it? Is it just in your head? Here is a guide to help get the ideas out of your head and into a plan that will make your business grow.

Planning is important as it gives you a road map with targets to keep you focused and accountable. To stick to your plans, you must ensure that you write them down and put actions in place to achieve them. Writing a one-page business plan outlines your business at it’s simplest and helps to clarify the why, what and how essentials of your business.

So where do you start? If you are struggling to get something down on paper, use our seven step SEED Plan (a Simple Explanation of Entity Direction) as a guide to clarify the core elements of your business.

Your SEED Plan

1. Overview

The big idea – What are you selling? Is it a product? A service? What is your purpose? Why are you starting the business?

Demand – What need does your business fill? How will your business help people? What is the customer problem?

Unique – What makes your business unique? Why will people come to you?

Business structure – will you be a sole trader, a partnership, a company? List your management team members, roles, responsibilities, ownership interest. What does each member bring to this venture?

2. Money

Startup cost – Outline the money needed to get the business up and running plus whatever will be necessary to keep it going once it’s started. Include at least a basic one-year projection of costs.

Pricing – What are the pricing, fee, or leasing structures of your products or services?

Invoicing and methods of payment – How will you get paid?

3. Marketing

Business name – What is your business name?

Target market – Who will be your customers?

Location – Where will you sell your product or service?

Promotion – How will customers learn about your business? How will you reach them?

Brand – What image do you want to project? How do you want customers to see you?

4. People Power

Who and what do we need to help make our business work? Staff, suppliers, finance, insurance, licencing, design, accounting and tax etc. What skills do you have? What help and support do you need to be successful?

5. Resources

Identify the specific resources you have available and those needed – training, equipment, products, funding

6. Risks

What are the inherent and potential problems or risks associated with your business?

7. Goals

Strategic planning – outline major business objectives and explain how and when they will be achieved.

Short-term goals – List three things you want your business to achieve in the next 12 months. Why do you want these goals? Break each of your goals down with a list of three actions to help you achieve your goals? Allocate regular time in your weekly/monthly schedule to do the nine tasks you have set for yourself. How will you measure success?

Long-term goals – List two things you want your business to achieve in the next 3 years? Why do you want these goals? Break each of your goals down with a list of three actions to help you achieve your goals? How will you measure success?

Although this is not a long business plan, it is a valuable tool to develop clarity and focus. It may take a while to carefully consider all areas and once complete, it should be reviewed on a regular basis. You may tweak and update the contents as your business grows and changes but the core elements of the plan should stay the same. The thought of creating a plan should not be enough to keep you from starting a business. Contact Black Mouse for further assistance with planting the seeds to help your business grow. We help you think strategically about the image you present to current and potential clients.

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About Caroline

Caroline is a specialist in business creation, growth and change management. Her aim is to empower start-ups and small businesses to drive growth through the development of business ideas, product and service development, strategy and system planning as well as business branding and promotion.

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