Updated: Jan 6
The purpose of a business plan is to offer you a direction as you steer through your business methods on your way to achieving your goals. And Yes - you WILL achieve your goals because you will have set them! They'll be part of your business plan 👍
Now, most other blog posts you'll read about creating a 'business plan' tend to take the approach of a traditional business plan and will be along the lines of something like this:
Organisation and management
Service or product line
Marketing and sales
The traditional business plan tends to be more appropriate for a small to medium sized business with employees or where a substantial financial backing via a bank lender or investor/s is required. These business plans are more focussed, very detailed and take a very long time to write.
Any new small business owner would much rather focus their effort on a business plan that actually worked for them and didn't take up too much of their time.
The Small Business Approach to a 'Business Plan'
As a small 'work from home' sole-trader there is absolutely no need or indeed any formal requirement to create a large, detailed document that you're likely to never read ever again! So unless you're looking for outside investment (most investors will want to see a detailed plan) then I suggest you Keep It Simple!
The type of plan we want to aim to create is a high-level focus which contains key elements only. It will look something like this:
Business Overview (or Mission) - What is the purpose of your business? How do you intend to achieve your vision e.g. what products will you be selling?
Target Market & Competition - who is your target market? who are your competitors?
Objectives - What are your hopes and dreams for your new fabulous business? What do you want to achieve? List your business goals and objectives that you think you need to be successful e.g. sell x amount of product by year end.
Marketing Plan - This is your advertising and promotional plans e.g. how will you advertise your products to attract customers?
Action Plan - Briefly describe the action items needed to achieve your objectives (including timelines) e.g. by "date" my social media marketing plan will be in place and all my social media accounts will be set up.
Financials - this includes details such as how much you will charge for your products and how you calculate those prices. How much do you expect to earn?
You can download my Small Business 'Business Plan' Template which includes further information and additional examples for FREE simply by subscribing to my mailing list. You just need to update the template with your own vision, goals, objectives and action plans...
The template is based on you providing funding yourself. If however you are hoping to secure funding from a lender e.g. bank or from private investment you will need to include the following additional sections within your business plan:
Executive Summary - Write this section last and summarise all the key points within your business plan. This is your opportunity to capture the attention of lender/ potential investor/s.
Additional Financial Information - you’ll need to provide some insight into how you came up with the values in your financial projections (e.g., past performance, market research).
Use your Research
You will have gathered a lot of intel and information during your initial research stage - use this information within your business plan. If you haven't yet conducted your initial research stage.... stop whatever you're doing right now and do your RESEARCH instead! Your initial research will form the foundations of your new small business. You NEED TO KNOW who your competitors are, what they're charging, what you can do differently, what's your USP (unique selling point or proposition), how much income can you realistically expect, who will supply your raw materials... these are just a few of the things you need to look into, there is so so much to do in the research stage, it cannot and must not be overlooked.
You don't need to complete all the details of your business plan in one go, in fact it is better to complete your business plan in stages and update it as the ideas and inspiration come to you as you go through the process of setting up your new business. You should aim to have your plan completed before investing any money. Have a friend or colleague look over your plans, better still get an accountant to look over it for you, or someone independent that will tell you honestly what they think (a friend or family member may not want to hurt your feelings by telling you what they really think!)
By the time you're ready to launch you'll have a clearly defined plan and vision for your new lovely small business which you can review and update as your business grows and develops.
You can download my Small Business 'Business Plan' Template for FREE simply by subscribing to my mailing list here.
I wish you the best of luck in your new venture x