When you decide it’s time to start-up your own company and write your business plan, take into consideration these 6 simple steps that will help you clarify and simplify the entire process:
Step 1. Start by evaluating yourself: who you are, what do you like/dislike, what are your abilities and skills and what resources you posses that can be invested in your future business. What skills you need to improve? How? Do you know what being an entrepreneur means? Are you ready to invest your time and energy in your business idea? Before you starting working on your business plan you need to answer all these questions.
Step 2. Decide what type of business you want and what type of product or service you will offer.
Step 3. Do your research. Gather as much information as possible about the business you intend to launch. Determine who are your target customers and try and find out as many things as possible about them. Approach them directly and see what are their real needs and expectations.
Determine who your main competitors are, analyze and pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, find out what are the legal regulations you will have to follow. Try and avoid using assumptions. Rather, use accurate first-hand information to make sure you’re not caught off-guard later on.
Step 4. Determine how much money you will need to ensure your company takes off and what are the initial operational costs. Analyze what your financial input will be and how much money you will have to borrow.
Do a thorough research regarding potential funding opportunities: family, friends, angel investors, venture capitalists, business partners. If you’re having difficulties or you need inspiration visit our Finance section.
Also, create a risk management plan: ask yourself “What could go wrong?” and find solutions for each scenario.
Step 5. Set realistic objectives for the sales forecasts, revenue forecasts and the general development of your company. Make sure you’ve got everything covered and that all the factors that can influence your business are taken into account: economic situation, market trends, competition level, inflation, etc.
To have an overview of all these aspects create a SWOT analysis of your business. You can find more details in the article The role of a SWOT analysis when planning your business.
Make sure your objectives are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. To be able to determine how these objectives need to be formulated, you should check out the article What are SMART objectives.
Set up specific activities that will ensure you are able to reach each and every goal you set out to accomplish. Prioritize them depending on their importance and their impact. Evaluate what resources you need to accomplish each objective.
Step 6. Create a well-written business plan that includes all the data you’ve gathered during the first five stages. Ask a friend or a family member to read the business plan and offer his opinion and feedback.
You could use the business plan to obtain funding from an angel investor or a venture capitalist or you could keep it for internal use, to help you better manage your business. If you’re interested, be sure to check out our Mini Business Plan template.
For more tips on how to write a business plan, visit the Business Plans section.
We hope you found these steps useful and we wish you good luck in writing your business plan!