Writing a business plan is a fundamental step in ensuring that your business has every chance to succeed. According to the general statistics, nine out of 10 businesses fail within the first five years, and 90% of the remaining 10% fail within the next five years.
Why? There may be several reasons – poor customer service, insufficient products, poor supply management and cost control. However, there are a number of businesses that do not define their goals and map out the path to success. Taking steps to define your business goals, plan where you want to go, and what you need to achieve will put you in a position to achieve greater success and your dreams.
Below is a list of aspects you should consider when writing your business plan. These steps will help you define your business objectives, reason for existence (the business) and the direction you are taking.
Step 1 – Define your vision
You may know in your head why you want to start a business and what business it is. However, your staff may not know this information, and after a while, you too will forget some details. Write down what your mission is – your purpose and vision for the company. This sets the tone for all the business and actions you take on a daily basis, working to achieve your mission and goals.
Step 2 – Set Your Goals and Objectives for Business
Think big. Don’t let your limitations influence what you think your business can achieve. Define what you mean short (less than 12 months), medium (1-3 year time frame) and long term goals (usually 3-5 years time frame). Think about topics like how much income do you want to earn? How many outlets do you have? How much passive income will it earn you in the future? How many customers do you have in your database? What is your geographic area These goals will be a combination of your personal goals for the life of the business and your life.
Step 3 – Your US
In order to stand out from the crowd, it is essential that you know and define your USP – unique selling proposition. What is it that you offer and supply that is different from other people in the market? You may be providing additional services to your core product; You may have a more personalized customer service approach; It could be your after-sales service and product warranty. What attracts your customer more than other businesses offering the same service or product? Once you know this, your customers can use it to identify you and remember you.
Step 4 – Know Your Market
Have you ever thought about a bright idea and started investigating it, only to find that another business has already begun with the same idea? This happens to many people every day, but don’t be discouraged. The market is large and can support multiple businesses offering the same service. Look at petrol stations and dry cleaners, for example. So, know the market – your market. How many competitors are there? What do they offer? What are the industry trends? What are the future trends of the industry and the projected growth / decline? Are there benchmarks that can be based on your business performance, such as profit margins, expected turnover per business? Once you have a comprehensive picture of the market you’re entering, you’ll be better equipped to handle and maximize your future business growth.
Step 5 – Know Your Customer
This is one of the most important aspects of running a business. You need to know your customer. Most likely, when there are many suppliers of products or services that are not needed and for the same item, your customer will buy into the emotion. Understanding and defining what they do is the key to success. There may be many factors common among your target audience for your business services. By exploring and discovering what these are, you can see which areas you can focus on and which areas you are not interested in. Write down the look, behavior, and wants of your ideal customer. Seeing your business with their eyes can help highlight your strengths and potential weaknesses.
Step 6 – Research the demand for your business
Before investing a lot of capital in your business, it’s important to know what the demand for your product is. Don’t leave your toddler wanting to know if there are a group of people waiting to buy your product. The simple rule is – if demand exceeds supply, the business will excel. If the supply exceeds the demand, your business will eventually die. Only a few businesses can support a saturated market, and often these organizations have a clearly defined USA. You can conduct secondary research from your home (online), library and some government offices, which will help you find the level of demand for your product or service. Primary research – talking to your target audience and collecting data yourself – may be necessary. This is a much better alternative to knowing the results than spending your savings and capital on a business that has little or no negative return in the future.
Step 7 – Set Your Marketing Goals
Having completed the market research and defined why you want to do business in the first place, you will need to set some marketing goals. These are goals that relate to your product, your price, your distribution or provision of service, and your promotions. So many organizations want to start at this end of the planning process, but they miss the most important areas. Your marketing goals will need to be measurable and help you reach your primary objectives for your business. For example – how many products will you sell? What product development strategy will you have? What are your price margins? How will you deliver your product or service to your customer? How will your customer know about you, and how will you promote your business? These are all sample questions designed to generate ideas and goals for the marketing of your business.
Step 8 – Define your marketing strategy
Having defined your marketing goals, you will need to plan in detail how you will achieve these goals. How many items will you produce, and at what price margin (that will give you your desired revenue goal)? What delivery system and what geographical area will you cover? In what areas and how will you promote your business? Will you use TV, radio, or print advertising – or all three? You can be very specific if you have to, as this is one of the major plans you will be referring to through the course of your business life, so be comfortable with it and know how to use it.
Step 9 – Take Action!
This is the MOST important step of all. Take action! All of the preparation in the world will never earn you a single dollar if you don’t actually open your doors and make the phone calls that will bring the customer to you. Even if your business planning process has highlighted that maybe this area of business isn’t for you – don’t let that stop you from finding one that is. If your ultimate dream is to be happy, healthy and wealthy, then there is a business for you. If you are doing something everyday that gets you closer to your ultimate goal, then your business plan will provide the direction and focus for the journey. So, begin taking action today, and reap the rewards that will follow.