Often people want to put the cart before the horse when it comes to starting a business only to regret their premature decisions later! Writing a business plan breathes life into your business and acts as a road map to your future.
If you are just starting out in your boutique or retail business and you have put off the idea of writing a business plan I have some good news for you! You already have the business plan in your head, you’ve come up with the hard part, now you just need to get it on paper!
Why is this important? It makes your business REAL… putting something down on paper helps you make it a reality! Your business plan should include your goals, plans, processes, partners, and strategies. Imagine if you actually took the time to write all of this out, read it, present it, and answer questions about it; you would certainly find any potential problems in your idea! That is the whole goal of a business plan. Consider this proof of your mission as more of an “opportunity document” or a “sourcing platform”.
A business plan is a work in progress. It’s not written in stone and you will see it should evolve with your business! Identify how you plan to conduct your business, who you plan to serve, what you will sell, and why your offering is different from your competitors. Identifying what problems you are solving for your customers will breathe life into your business. Without solving a problem for someone, you will have no customers!
The number one problem business owners face is being prideful in their business idea and thinking it is perfect, or concerned that others may copy it. If you invest thousands of dollars into your business without consulting anyone you will be missing something in your process. No business owner has ever started a business without any adjustments or changes along the way, often this ends up costing the business owner thousands of dollars in the end. Imagine if these changes could have been avoided and that business owner didn’t find themselves making up for mistakes or paying back debt invested into a system that wasn’t viable?
How should you get started? Write down the following:
- What market will you serve?
- Who is your customer?
- Examine other examples of businesses doing something similar – what do they do well and what could they do differently?
- What kind of investment is needed to get up and running?
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- What is the income potential for your business?
- What are your revenue streams?
- What are your short terms and long term goals?
Once you have this information on paper in a summary give this document to your banker, investors, accountant, friends, or family and ask them to give you honest feedback. This feedback will help you identify issues or problems that might arise within your business. Consider this free advice or an unemotional set of eyes on your business. They can see things you aren’t seeing since you have been living in the idea of this business for a long time. These new “eyes” can save you thousands of dollars and open your mind up to potential issues you may have in the future.
In this road map to success consider these “warning or caution lights” that will give you as the business owner time to adjust and make a new plan before you proceed!
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