Tag Archives for " One Page Business Plan "

4 Reasons To Buy My Business Plan Templates

Since I launched my Business Plan Templates, I’ve had lots of amazing feedback.

However, I’ve also had a few people question why they should pay for them, when a simple internet search will produce countless results of free templates which can easily be downloaded.

This may have crossed your mind, and it’s a valid question. Here are 4 reasons to buy my Business Plan Templates.

1. My Business Plan Templates Save You Time

As someone who has worked with Leaders and Entrepreneurs for close to two decades, I know exactly what you do, what you need and what your constraints are.

And one of your biggest constraints? Time.

There aren’t enough hours in the day to complete everything on your To-Do list.

2. My Business Plan Templates Are Designed For Your Convenience

With my Business Templates, sitting down to write your Business Plan isn’t the onerous task you’ve undertaken in the past.

They are laid out for you in such a way that you can get going quickly, and are never at a loss when it comes to what you need to fill in.

The prompts act as a helpful guide; it’s like having your hand held through each stage of the process.

3. My Business Plan Templates Cater For Your Needs

They really do. 

If you’re a Small Business Owner who either doesn’t have much time to devote to planning, or is writing a Business Plan for the very first time, the One Page Business Plan Template is a great place to start.

With it, you’ll get a basic plan covering the essentials you need to run a Small Business, in a concise format.

For medium-sized businesses and start-ups, your very size and the nature of your activities dictates that you delve into more details when planning.

For both, I recommend the Full Business Plan Template. As it covers all the areas relevant to achieving ambitious goals, especially if raising funds in on the horizon in the short to medium-term.

 

4. My Business Plan Templates Are Tried and Tested

Don’t just take my word for it!

Hear what Fay Wallis of Bright Sky Career Coaching had to say:

“When I first set up my business I was confident in my ability to provide a good service to my clients but I knew absolutely nothing about running a business.”

“After muddling through my first year, I realised I needed a proper business plan. Having researched business plan templates for weeks, Adanna’s One Page Business Plan was the perfect solution. It enabled me to properly consider how to move my business forward, with helpful prompts to get me thinking. I’m happy to say that I’m no longer muddling through, due to having a clear plan of action via my Business Plan.”

So what are you waiting for?

How I can Help

Here is everything you need to know about my Business Templates and I’ve included a summary below, and details of how to purchase.

The One Page Business Plan Template

It’s short and concise, while containing all the essential elements you need in a Business Plan.

And in addition, it contains helpful prompts which will guide you along the process.

You can buy and download your copy of the One Page Business Plan Template here.

The Full Business Plan Template

This is a comprehensive template which contains all the sections and details you would find in a typical Business Plan such as the Product & Service Range, Target Audience, Market Analysis, Milestones & Metrics, and Financials.

Similar to the first template, it also has helpful prompts to guide you as you complete it and produce your Business Plan.

You can buy and download your copy of the Full Business Plan Template here.

And If You Need Even More Than The Templates Offer…

My Business Planning Service is designed to support:

  • People who want a Business Plan, but prefer to have a solution that is even more customised than the Templates
  • Departments or organisations that are unable to commit the time or resources to do the planning themselves.

Contact me to discuss, so we can arrange to get started on yours.

Why You Should Re-visit Your Business Plan

You understand why you need a Business Plan.

Not only did you have plans in your departments and organisation as a whole, they were used to track what the Senior Leadership Team wanted to achieve up until the end of Q1 2020…

…then the pandemic happened, and life as we knew it changed significantly.

Many businesses suffered, with some driven to the brink. For others the shutdown and restrictions on movement meant they could not keep up under the strain and unfortunately, they had to close their doors for good.

Still, other businesses found they have either had to pivot or quickly adapt their operating models and offerings to survive. Perhaps your organisation is in this category?

And as 2021 kicks off in earnest, it seems restrictions are set to continue in one form or another for the next few months at least.

With so much change that is fast-moving and new government policies announced at very short notice, it’s easy to wonder if it’s worth bothering to spend any time planning.

And while I sympathise with the sentiment, the truth is that planning ahead is now more crucial than ever. Here are 3 reasons why you should re-visit your Business Plan.

1. Re-visit Your Business Plan to Take Stock

The Number One reason why you should re-visit your Business Plan is to review how your organisation performed during the last year. (Note that this could also be the last quarter or half-year, but a year tends to be the most common time period captured in Business Plans).

The first step to hitting your targets in 2021 is having a clear understanding of:

  • Current status
  • What worked well in the last time period
  • What can be improved on (and how).

Don’t worry if your organisation abandoned its Business Plan amidst the melee of the pandemic. I can confirm yours wasn’t an isolated case! Countless others were thrown off-course by the sudden shock of dealing with and reacting to such unique circumstances, but the point of this review is to take stock and re-group.

2. Re-visit Your Business Plan to Focus on New Priorities

Considering the year we had in 2020, it’s a given that the state of play in your organisation has changed.

From the sudden move to 100% remote work for your teams to decisions about resourcing and headcount, it’s impossible to have reached year-end without being impacted significantly.

And with that impact, your priorities must have changed.

Re-visiting your Business Plan will give you the opportunity to identify new priorities and re-focus. Not just on priorities deemed important, but on those that are truly relevant for your people, processes, technology and customer base in the current climate.

3. Re-visit Your Business Plan to Allow for Contingencies

It has taken us 10 months to get our heads round what can only be described as once-in-a-lifetime events.

So by now you must have some level of experience, and a good grasp of the areas in your organisation where you need to build in more slack.

Re-visiting your Business Plan is crucial to update your contingency plans. And as you now know, this isn’t simply to cover the usual areas as you’ve done in previous years.

Examples of things to consider are:

  • If yet another lockdown is announced – or if the current one lasts longer than expected – what are the logistics for delivering your products and services to your customers? And do you have a backup?
  • Your remote teams find themselves unable to log on to the VPN on a Monday morning. In spite of rigorous efforts to resolve, the problem persists for more than a day! What contingency can be developed around such issues?
  • Are there alternative or additional income streams to research and develop, to ensure your bottom line is not negatively impacted in the event of another protracted lockdown?

How I Can Help

If you need help with Business Planning in your department or organisation, I provide a Business Planning Service.

It’s designed to support organisations that for some reason, are unable to commit the time or resources to do the planning they know they need.

Contact me about my Business Planning Service, and we can arrange to get started on yours as soon as possible.

4 Myths About Business Planning

There are several myths out there in the general consciousness about the relevance and importance of Business Planning. They range from debates about business size, to questions about the amount of time it takes (and whether it is worth it).

The aim of this blog post is to debunk some of these, so here are 4 myths about Business Planning:

1. Business Planning Isn’t Necessary For Solo Entrepreneurs

One of these thoughts may have crossed your mind:

“I run a small business. Do I really need to bother with a Business Plan?”

Or,

“There’s only me! I’m a one-(wo)man band, so I don’t really need one.”

But you’d be wrong.

A Business Plan applies to businesses of all sizes and sectors.

While it’s true that smaller operations may not need to go into the same level of detail as their larger counterparts, the concept of planning, researching the market, ensuring your offering is what your target audience wants and needs, and working through the various strategies for pricing, marketing and sales are universally required, and are essential regardless of whether you’re running a multinational organisation, a medium-sized business, or a solo enterprise.

2. Business Planning Takes Too Much Time

In many businesses the thinking is that, because Business Planning requires a time commitment, it is an optional extra that can be dropped off the To-Do List in favour of powering ahead with other tasks which are deemed more important…

…but nothing could be further from the truth.

A Business Plan is a crucial part of your activities, and carries a higher priority than most. How else will you clarify your intentions, as well as your mission, objectives and success measures?

You do need to invest some time on it upfront, but a suggestion is to consider that investment as saving you time and money in future. Failing to plan can have serious consequences, and you save yourself all sorts of hassle by planning ahead.

Besides, remember that if you are really struggling to find the time to do it yourself, you can always outsource it.

For example, I provide a Business Plan writing service which is for people who know it’s crucial for their business success but for whatever reason, can’t get round to doing it themselves. Contact me here to find out more about my Business Planning service.

3. Things Always Change, so Business Planning Isn’t Worth It

It’s true that things change.

As the saying goes, the only constant in life is change.

At certain times more than others, it can seem like the economic realities and state of the market are evolving faster than ever, and your products and services need to adapt at a similar speed (case in point: 2020).

But the fact that things change doesn’t negate the benefits of planning ahead.

Where a lot sits outside your control – such as a global pandemic, public health emergency and unprecedented lockdown restrictions – there is so much you still have the ability to anticipate, plan for and implement.

And don’t forget: A Business Plan is not set in stone. It is a “living” document which is meant to be reviewed at regular intervals so yes, you need to keep updating it to reflect changing realities both internally and externally to your business.

Needing to review and update your Business Plan doesn’t make it irrelevant or unnecessary. If you’re still unsure, the reasons why you need a Business Plan are explained here.

4. Business Planning Only Works If You Are Good With Numbers

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a mathematical genius, or whether you hated maths at school!

None of that precludes you from having a successful business, and doing the necessary planning to get you there.

There’s no sugarcoating it: If you don’t keep an eye on the numbers in your business, what you’re doing is more of a hobby. Plus, you may not even have that in a few months’ time!

While terminology such as “Sales Forecast” and “Projected Cash Flow” may be discouraging, it is helpful to stop and think what the words mean.

For example, “Projected Cash Flow” is simply a summary of how much cash you need to run your business from day to day. In other words, it’s the amount of cash you need to have readily available each month to cover your expenses such as payments to yourself, staff and suppliers, as well as costs for software, rent, utilities, transport and so on.

For your Sales Forecast, start by working out the minimum amount of sales you need to make to cover your costs. So how much revenue do you need to generate to break even, how many units do you need to sell to cover your costs, overheads and expenses?

It is also useful to anticipate how much sales you will make. I like to use a two-scenario approach:

A best-case scenario, where you make the maximum amount of sales if everything goes according to plan.

A worst-case scenario where you consider various factors which may come into play to stop you achieving your targets, but are still positioned to generate sufficient revenue.

That way you will be prepared, even when life’s obstacles come your way.

How I Can Help

If you need help with your Business Planning, I have designed some tools that can help:

The first is a One Page Business Plan Template.

It’s short and concise, while containing all the essential elements you need in a Business Plan.

And in addition, it contains helpful prompts which will guide you along the process.

You can buy and download your copy of the One Page Business Plan Template here.

The second is a comprehensive Business Plan Template, which contains all the sections and details you would find in a typical Business Plan such as the Product & Service Range, Target Audience, Market Analysis, Milestones & Metrics, and Financials.

Similar to the first template above, it also has helpful prompts to guide you as you complete it and produce your Business Plan. You can buy and download your copy of the Business Plan Template here.

And finally, I provide a Business Planning Service. If you would like to produce your Business Plan but can’t commit the time to do it yourself, you don’t have to worry! Contact me about my Business Planning Service, and we can arrange to get started on yours as soon as possible.

Why You Need a Business Plan

It’s a common mistake to make.

Many people skip writing a Business Plan, because they consider it to be too much of a hassle.

But if you run your own business, are looking to start one, or are in charge of a significant section of a corporate organisation such as a department, group of departments or region, it is worth making that investment of time and effort upfront.

If you’re still procrastinating about getting yours done, here are 4 reasons why you need a Business Plan:

1. A Business Plan Clarifies Your Intentions

Many businesses waste time and money pursuing vanity projects that have no alignment with their actual goals and targets.

It’s easy to drift and get distracted by shiny objects when your business intentions aren’t clear.

The sections in a Business Plan about “Mission” and “Objectives” will help focus (or if necessary, re-focus) your mind on the purpose of your business, and what it has set out to achieve.

For example, if your business is a tech start-up you’ll clarify exactly what you aim to achieve in the coming weeks and months.

You will refer to it regularly to make sure that everything you do – your marketing, sales and growth strategy, PR and social media – matches up with what you’ve set your business up to do, and the people you want to reach. It will serve as an effective way of keeping you on track.

2. A Business Plan Prompts You To Carefully Consider What Your Customers Need

Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs tend to be adventurous and creative; always pushing boundaries and aiming to achieve more.

Left to your own devices, you could easily dream up a warehouse full of cutting-edge products and services. But…

…is anyone out there asking for them?

Does anyone need them?

Do your products and services recognise and directly address key pain points of the demographic you are looking to reach?

A well-written Business Plan prompts you to ask (and answer) important questions about existing and impending customer demand, and how your products and services will meet them.

3. A Business Plan Helps You Zero In On Your Target Market

A good Business Plan will have a section on your target market.

And apart from the obvious bit about who your products or services are designed for, it will prompt you to analyse and detail crucial aspects such as the current state of the market, how it could change, upcoming trends and any gaps in the market that are just waiting to be filled.

So, is the market thriving?

Are your products and services the sort of things that people would spend money on?

Or, are things in a bit of a decline, and are budgets on products and services such as yours starting to get cut? (Note that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It just means that you can prepare and adjust your business model accordingly).

Are there any changes afoot? Any upcoming regulations that will have an impact on how you operate or interact with your customer base?

A good example was the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which took effect in all European Union countries in May 2018, and required all businesses to implement new data protection and privacy processes complying with the new regulations by the deadline.

The work involved to do that was significant, and businesses had to incorporate this into their plans and budget  in the lead-up to that date.

Researching and knowing such aspects will help you position your proposition in the best possible way, and make the most of any gaps in the market that are not served by your competitors.

4. A Business Plan Forces You To Plan For The Money

This is the section of Business Plans people struggle with the most!

​It’s also THE most important part. 

How else will you know how much you should aim to make as a minimum to cover your costs each month, and how much cash you must have in the bank to keep your business running as a result?

Ignore the finances, and you could soon end up in dire straits.

Do You Have a Business Plan?

And don’t forget that a Business Plan is a living document; it’s never “done”.

As time goes on you may gain more clarity on different elements and you can adjust them to be more specific, or to reflect changes in your business or the general landscape.

Also, it’s something you need to review regularly, since your Business Plan is meant to guide you and help you track your business activities and key metrics throughout the year (I recommend a quarterly review).

With respect to small and medium-sized businesses in particular, I did a straw poll and was interested to find the majority did not use a Business Plan for their planning and forecasting.

Is that the same for you?

What To Do Next About Your Business Plan

If you need help with your Business Planning, I have designed some tools that can help:

The first is a One Page Business Plan Template.

It’s short and concise, while containing all the essential elements you need in a Business Plan.

And in addition, it contains helpful prompts which will guide you along the process.

You can buy and download your copy of the One Page Business Plan Template here.

The second is a comprehensive Business Plan Template, which contains all the sections and details you would find in a typical Business Plan such as the Product & Service Range, Target Audience, Market Analysis, Milestones & Metrics, and Financials.

Similar to the first template above, it also has helpful prompts to guide you as you complete it and produce your Business Plan. You can buy and download your copy of the Business Plan Template here.

And finally, I provide a done-for-you Business Planning Service.

If you would like to produce your Business Plan but can’t commit the time to do it yourself, you don’t have to worry! Contact me about my Business Planning Service, and we can arrange to get started on yours as soon as possible.

7 Things You Need To Do Before You Write a Business Plan

Producing a Business Plan – or getting it done for you – is a big decision.

(And if you are in any doubt as to why you need one, read this blog post which explains Why You Need a Business Plan).

However, it can be frustrating if you understand how important it is and have made the call to get it done, but find yourself woefully unequipped for the task ahead.

Doing the planning in your business requires commitment, and is an investment of your time. To make sure you have everything you need to start and complete the task, here are the 7 things you need to do before you write a Business Plan.

1. Know Your Business

I know this sounds patronising.

After all, who knows your business better than you?

I assure you it isn’t meant to be.

The point I’m making is that, as well as being able to give an overview of your business, you must be able to articulate aspects such as the central idea behind it, your mission and objectives, and who your main competitors are.

You must know have the fundamental and foundational information about your business at your fingertips.

2. Study The Market

What is the current state of the market you operate in?

Is it primed for growth?

Is it fairly stable, or is it in decline?

Are there any notable underlying trends?

What is the demand in the market, and how do your products or services meet that demand?

What’s your Unique Selling Proposition, and are there any gaps in the market which you intend to fill?

As you prepare to write your Business Plan, you need to do some preliminary research about the state of the market you will operate in, so you can ensure you are best placed to do so.

3. Identify Your Target Audience

Which segment of the market have you designed your products and services for?

As an example, are you targeting men or women? Or, are your products and services suited to both genders?

If your target audience is women, are you focused on career women, or stay-at-home mothers?

Are your products and services geared towards people within a certain age range?

Are they based in cities, suburban or rural areas?

Are they early adopters or technophobes?

What are their problems, and which of these will you solve with your products and services?

These are some of the questions which must frame your offering. And answering them is crucial, because sometimes it’s easy to forget that our products and services are not necessarily meant to meet OUR needs.

Your products and services have to meet the needs of your target audience. Always remember that your success is dependent on solving their problems.

4. Think About Your Pricing, Marketing and Sales Strategies

Take the time to think about your pricing strategy.

Most of the time, people think this involves plucking a price out of the air, but there’s more to it than that!

How much does each unit cost to produce, and what margin will the market tolerate on top of that?

How does that then match your expectations for income and profit?

Then, you need to think about how to market and sell products and services.

Social media makes advertising and marketing more accessible but bear in mind that what works for a similar business may not necessarily work for yours.

So, do a bit of research, and have some intentions for how you will conduct your sales and marketing campaigns. Brainstorm some ideas about how you will price, market and sell your products and services.

5. How Will You Measure Your Success?

“Measure your success” sounds boring, I know!

But as they say, anything that is measured and watched improves.

That’s why you need to work out how to do this in advance.

If you don’t, how will you know what you’re working towards?

And more importantly, how will you know when it happens?

It doesn’t have to be complicated to assess or calculate. But you do need to key metrics in place to understand how your business is performing.

6. Plan Your Finances

This part can be easy to skip, but is probably the most important of all.

You need a certain amount of cash to run your business every month. Sum up your expenses (and don’t forget to include your salary).

What does the total come to? That’s the amount you need to have available. Not invoiced and waiting to be paid; actual cash in the bank. Anything less, and you immediately have a cash flow problem.

Many a business was successful on paper and in terms of invoiced amounts, but ended up filing for bankruptcy because it simply couldn’t meet its obligations when they were due.

Another key point to address is the length of time you think it will take to make a profit.

It’s not unusual for some businesses not to make a profit for some months, or even years. As long as you know that upfront and are prepared for it, it’s not a problem.

But if that’s the case, do you have an idea of what the losses will come to each month? How will this be funded, and how long can you sustain that?

In my experience people either don’t plan for these scenarios, or are far too optimistic with their figures. It’s better to err on the side of caution and make too much provision, than to fall short and find yourself at a loose end.

7. Don’t Be Intimidated By Your Business Plan!

And finally, don’t be intimidated!

Where I’ve recommended doing research, please don’t think it has to be onerous.

Ask your family and friends.

Use the internet.

Create a poll using SurveyMonkey or Google Polls.

Some professional bodies – such as the Institute of Directors – offer research sessions which you can access as part of their membership.

If you belong to a professional body, check to see if they can help you do some. They may have done something similar already and have some statistics you can use.

What Are the Next Steps?

If you need help with your Business Planning, I have designed some tools that can help:

The first is a One Page Business Plan Template.

It’s short and concise, while containing all the essential elements you need in a Business Plan.

And in addition, it contains helpful prompts which will guide you along the process.

You can buy and download your copy of the One Page Business Plan Template here.

The second is a comprehensive Business Plan Template, which contains all the sections and details you would find in a typical Business Plan such as the Product & Service Range, Target Audience, Market Analysis, Milestones & Metrics, and Financials.

Similar to the first template above, it also has helpful prompts to guide you as you complete it and produce your Business Plan. You can buy and download your copy of the Business Plan Template here.

And finally, I provide a done-for-you Business Planning Service.

If you would like to produce your Business Plan but can’t commit the time to do it yourself, you don’t have to worry! Contact me about my Business Planning Service, and we can arrange to get started on yours as soon as possible.

How To Write a One Page Business Plan

I did a straw poll of some small businesses recently, and it
was interesting to find that the majority did not use a Business Plan for
planning and forecasting.

It might be the same for you. Maybe you don’t have anything
formal; perhaps you jot down your goals and thoughts from month to month (or,
week to week)?

If you run your own business, or department within a
business, you may wonder if writing a Business Plan is worth the hassle. You understand
that it’s important to plan, but you’re not sure you want to spend the time
doing it.

If you’ve ever wondered what the point of a Business Plan is,
here are 4 reasons you need one today:

It sets out your business intentions

More businesses than you’d think waste time and money
pursuing white elephants that have no bearing on their goals and objectives.

With a Business Plan, you’ll get to clarify and specify what
you aim to achieve in the coming weeks and months. You can always refer to it
when the next shiny object comes along; it will serve as a good way tp keeo you
on track!

It prompts you to think carefully about your what your customers need

Entrepreneurs are by nature creative, and left to their own
devices, could easily dream up a warehouse full of cutting-edge products and
services. But…

…is anyone out there asking for them?

A well-written Business Plan poses the questions of customer
demand, and how your products and services meet that demand.

It helps you zero in on your target market

A good Business Plan poses will contain a section on your
target market.

So apart from the obvious bit on just who your product or
service is designed for, it will prompt you to analyse and detail things like the
current state of the market, how it’s changing, trends and any gaps.

Researching and knowing these things will help you position your
proposition, and make the most of any gaps that your competitors are not
serving.

It forces you to plan for the money

This is the section of Business Plans that people struggle
with most!

It’s also THE most important part.

How else will you know how much you should aim to make as a
minimum to cover your costs, and how much cash you must have in the bank each
month to keep the business running?

Ignore the finances, and you could end up in dire straits
very soon.

 

And, don’t forget, a Business Plan is a living
document! You will get clearer on some of the elements, and you can adjust
these to be more specific or realistic as time goes on.

Most business owners and bosses I speak to agree on one
thing: having a Business Plan is crucial for goal-setting and the success that
comes with it.

When it comes to writing that plan however, I find that
actions don’t match the rhetoric!

Writing a Business Plan can appear intimidating, but it isn’t
as difficult as you might think. The fear of it can make the task into a
monster it’s not!

So, have you ever made these excuses to NOT write a Business Plan?

“I don’t have time”

A common reason used to get out of doing just about
anything!

But as the saying goes, if something is important you’ll
make time for it.

Right?

Besides, this nut doesn’t have to be cracked all in one day.
You can purpose to work on one section every 2 – 3 days and at the end of the month,
you’ll have your Business Plan!

“I’m not good with numbers”

And my response to that is, who is?

Not many of us can be described as mathematical geniuses,
but that doesn’t preclude us from running – and planning for – our successful
businesses.

While section headings in the document like “Sales Forecast”
and “Projected Cash Flow” may discourage the numerically challenged, taking the
time to stop and think about what those words actually mean will remove the dread
you feel deep in the pit of your stomach!

For example, “Projected Cash Flow” is simply a summary of
how much cash you need to run your business day-to-day, and for your Sales
Forecast, put in estimates for what you anticipate your best and worst case
scenarios will be in terms of sales (be realistic!). Also, work out the minimum
number of units you need to sell to cover your costs.

See? It’s not so scary when you break it down.

“It’s don’t want to pay someone to do it for me”

Yes, paying for a Business Planning service like ours
requires a financial commitment.

You can certainly
do it yourself, and my Business Plan template here breaks it down into manageable
chunks designed to help and guide you.

But if you can’t dedicate the time or effort needed to do it
yourself, is the cost really worth the risk of going from one day to the next
without a plan?

“It will change as time goes on, so why bother?”

A Business Plan is a living document, so yes, you will need
to keep updating it.

When you plan for months, a year or more in advance, there
are conditions and elements that you will become more aware of, things that
will happen and need to be finetuned in the plan.

That doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile exercise. I’ve written
about why it’s something you need here.

Do have a read, and let me know if you have any queries.

(If you’re still wondering what the point of having a
Business Plan is, have a quick look at this).

(I’ve put together a post explaining what the jargon in a
Business Plan means; here it
is. Start by reading that; it will help you with this part).

I know this sounds patronising. After all, who knows your
business better than you?

I can assure you it isn’t meant to be. The point I’m making
is that, as well as giving an overview of your business, you have to be able to
articulate things like the main idea behind it, your mission and objectives,
and who your main competitors are.

Think about what the market is like, and where it is going

So, what’s the current condition of the market?

Is it growing, fairly stable, or declining?

Are there any notable underlying trends?

What is the demand in the market, and how do your products
or services meet that demand?

What’s your Unique Selling Proposition, and are there any
gaps in the market which you intend to fill?

Know the audience you are selling to

Which segment of the market have you designed your products
and services for?

Women, or men, or both?

Working women, or stay-at-home mothers?

People within a certain age range?

Are they based in cities, suburban or rural areas?

Are they early adopters or technophobes?

What are their problems, and which of these will you solve
with your products and services?

These are some of the questions which will frame your
offering. And they are crucial, because sometimes it’s easy to forget that our products
and services are NOT for us.

They must meet the needs of your target market. Give the people
what they want, as they say!

Brainstorm some ideas about how you will price, market and sell your
products and services

Take some time to think about your pricing strategy.

Most of the time, people think this involves plucking a
price out of the air, but there’s more to it than that!

How much does each unit cost to produce, and what margin
will the market tolerate on top of that?

How does that then match your expectations for income and
profit?

Then, you need to think about how you want to market and
sell products and services. Social media makes advertising and marketing more
accessible, but bear in mind that what works for a similar business may not
work for yours.

So, do a bit of research, and have some intentions for how
you will conduct your sales and marketing campaigns.

How will you measure your success?

“Measure your success” sounds boring, I know!

But if you don’t work out in advance how you’ll do this, how
will you know what you’re working towards?

And more importantly, how will you know when it happens?

Take some time to think through the finances

This part is easy to skip, but is probably the most important
of all.

You need a certain amount of cash to run your business every
month. Sum up your expenses (and don’t forget to include your salary).

What does the total come to?

That’s what the amount you need to have available. Not invoiced
and waiting to be paid; actual cash in the bank. Anything less, and you
immediately have a cash flow problem.

Many a business has been successful on paper and in terms of
invoiced amounts, but ended up filing for bankruptcy because it simply couldn’t
meet its obligations when they were due.

Another key point to address is the length of time you think
it will take to make a profit.

It’s not unusual for some businesses not to make a profit
for some months, or even years. As long as you know that upfront and are
prepared for it, that’s fine!

But if that’s the case, do you have an idea of what the losses
will come to each month? How will this be funded, and how long can you sustain
that?

In my experience, people either don’t plan for these
scenarios, or are far too optimistic with their figures.

P.S. Where I’ve recommended doing research, please don’t think
it has to be onerous.

Ask your family and friends. Use the internet. Create a poll
using Surveymonkey or Google Polls. Some professional bodies – such as the Institute
of Directors – offer research sessions which you can access as part of their
membership. Check with your professional body and see if they can help you do
some, maybe they’ve even done something similar already and have some
statistics they can share with you!

An effective headshot can give theviewer a sense of who you are more than words can say.

Do you know how important it is to have a Business Plan, but are still struggling to actually get it done?

You might not know this, but it is possible to start with a condensed version. This takes away that feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start, while at the same time, ensures you are planning for the next stage in your business.

It can be as concise as one page, which is why I want to introduce you to the concept of the One Page Business Plan.

I recommend your One Page Business Plan contains these sections:

Business Summary

In this section of your One Page Business Plan, give an overview of your business and the idea behind it.

Give a brief description of your ideal customer, list your products and / or services and explain briefly how your offering solves the problems that your ideal customer has.

Goals

What do you want to see happen in your business in the next period of time? (This could be a month, quarter or year. Business Plans are typically done for the year, but decide what works for you).

This is where you can list those dreams and goals at a high level.

Objectives

You’ll need to break down those goals, and get clear about what you want to achieve, and by when.

This section of your One Page Business Plan is all about breaking down the goals you listed into manageable chunks that you can work towards achieving, within realistic timeframes.

Pricing

What will you charge for your products and services?

As part of this, I would encourage you to make sure you’re covering your costs and making a profit. You’d be surprised how many businesses are not, because of miscalculations!

Also, check how your pricing compares to what your competition charges.

If too cheap, people will wonder if your offering is defective or substandard in some way.

It’s fine if your prices are on the higher end of the scale, but you have to make sure you are delivering equivalent value. Your ideal customer also has to be able – and willing – to pay for it.

Marketing & Sales Plan

Before your ideal customer can buy from you, they need to know that you exist.

So, how will they get to hear about you, what you do and what you have on offer and how you’re different from your competition?

Will you advertise, or do you have other plans to get some media exposure?

Think about the activities you will undertake to get the word into the public domain, how, and what media, and include that in your One Page Business Plan.

Milestones

Here, you need to commit to some timelines.

So, remember those objectives you listed above? Break them down even further into tasks, and for each one put down a realistic completion date.

That will make sure your plans are firmly rooted and realistic, as opposed to being pie-in-the-sky aspirations that you have no chance of achieving.

And remember…

A Business Plan is a living document. That means it’s something you should re-visit regularly and finetune.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have all the details upfront. Start with what you know for now, and refresh your plan as you get the clarity you need over time.

I would recommend refreshing your Business Plan once a quarter.

To make things even easier for you, I have produced a One Page Business Plan template, with the sections, prompts and examples you need to create one of your very own.

Click here to get it, and happy planning!

Here, you need to commit to some timelines.

So, remember those objectives you listed above? Break them down
even further into tasks, and for each one put down a realistic completion date.

That will make sure your plans are firmly rooted and realistic,
as opposed to being pie-in-the-sky aspirations that you have no chance of achieving.