How to organize your Business Plan
This content was parsed from Chapter One of the e-Book, Beginners Marketing Class, Provision Your Ship
Some guidelines for preparing a good business plan are discussed below
Before we get into some “meat & potatoes”, we should realize the Two Main reasons a Self-directed Home Based Business person should HAVE and maintain a Business Plan.
- The United States and other Countries usually require a BUSINESS PLAN, as a requirement to qualify for generous tax Advantages.
- It gives the entrepreneur a Course to Follow, and since it is written it will always have IMPACT.
Here are some major considerations
- Define your objectives for producing the business plan.
Who is going to read the plan and what do you want them to do? The objectives can help you decide how much emphasis to put on various sections of the business plan. If the Plan is “for Your Eyes Only” and a few associates, the requirements will be different than that developed for Investors or Lenders. BUT defining your Definite Major Purpose, your Mission Statement is most important. Many call this the WHY of business…….You cannot put too much thought into this definition
- Allocate enough time and resources to thoroughly research your business plan.
A business plan is only as good as the research that went into producing it. For example, you will have to do research in order to find out more about your industry, your potential customers, your potential competitors, and your potential sales and costs. Use the Keyword searches in the Search Engines to find out where your market is and what it is they are looking for if your emphasis is in On-Line Marketing
- Show drafts of your business plan to others.
The use of The Master Mind Alliance is critical here. It can be very useful to get feedback on your draft business plan from various people, including both people associated with the business and others.
- Write your own business plan.
One common mistake made by entrepreneurs is to borrow heavily from a sample business plan and simply change the names and some of the numbers. There are two big problems with this approach.
First, the emphasis you place on various sections of the business plan must reflect what is important in your particular business.
Second, a good business plan should flow together like a good story, with the sections working together to demonstrate why the business will be successful.
- Define your objectives for producing the business plan.
Business plans which borrow too heavily from other business plans tend to be disjointed, with some sections contradicting others and some key issues left unaddressed
- Outline the key points you want to make in each section before you start writing. Review your outline to ensure that your sections are consistent with each other, that there is little duplication, and that all the key issues have been addressed.
- Make sure your financial projections are believable. For many readers, the financial section is the most important section of the business plan because it identifies your financing needs and shows the profit potential of your business. If you are currently used to earning $50,000 annually, it wouldn’t make sense to project Net Earnings of $500,000 the first Year In addition, a good financial plan will give the reader confidence that you really understand your business. So be sure to test the reasonableness of each of your assumptions. Overly optimistic assumptions or a failure to accurately reflect the full costs of operation can quickly destroy the credibility of your business plan.
- Do the Executive Summary last. The Executive Summary can be the most important section of your business plan because people will read it first and it may be the only section they read. The keys to a good executive summary are that it should be short (2 pages at most), it should highlight what is important in your plan, and it should get the reader excited about your business.
Don’t be optimistic. People reading your plan must see that you have done your research and analysis and you understand your business
Show a path to profitability The most important question for anyone investing will be “when do I see a return”
Show a strong management team and Master Mind Alliance It is the people in your team who are going to make a success of your company.
Decide at the beginning the IMPORTANCE of delegation of work, be ready and budget for “outside” help
The One Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur
Other Planning Tips
Understand your competitors and learn from them. See what they do best and understand why they do it well.
Use the well-established Search Engine Methods, Keyword analysis, Overture rankings
On the key items, you believe are vital to your success, rate each of your competitors to see who is the best and where you fit into the picture.
But always remember, your BIGGEST competitor many times, is YOU
Who are your main target customers, what are their needs, and how are you going to tell them about your products?. That’s marketing. And we will go over
An EXTENSIVE system, Tools, and methods of Marketing On-line and Off-line in this series of Volumes
Work out these two questions and you are well on your way to making sales.
There are many ways to communicate that are cheap to do from trialing your product free, to emailing your prospects.
We will cover the Secrets of Marketing within a realistic Budget further in the Volumes.
Thanks for this encouraging message! I try to follow my business plan closely but it doesn’t always yield the results I anticipate. I do tons of marketing. The problem for me is that I pay more money out (for help) than I bring in. So I become discouraged sometimes. I guess it’s all a learning process.
Thanks very much for all that you give, for your r mentoring.
We are all so much better for it.
Thank you, Amy, for your input.
I have learned the hard way to ‘purchase’ small bits of advertising and then analyze the results. Split Testing works very well