Every entrepreneur starts with an idea. Once that idea starts to take shape it becomes a mission, a vision, and eventually, a business. In order to go from an idea to a viable, profitable business, you need a business plan.
A business plan is a blueprint that guides the direction of your business. It includes product and service descriptions, pricing information, competitor analysis, and your going-to-market strategy. Without a business plan, it’s easy to lose sight of your mission and vision. Without a business plan, it’s harder to track progress toward your goals. Without a business plan, it’s harder to make some of the critical decisions that you will inevitably face.
We’ve included a list of some components of a business plan that we think are among the most important pieces to improve your chances of building a successful business in today’s market.
What is happening in the market? What could happen in your industry? What do you see coming in the future? COVID-19 changed many ways we do business today; has your industry changed, evolved, or been impacted as a result? Of course, no one can see into the future or plan for every possible eventuality, but looking ahead with what you know of the industry and analyzing where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going will help you have a better idea of how to enter the market.
Many business plans stop at planned customer demographics and target markets. While it’s great to know the target market, drilling down deeper and creating far more detailed personas for your products and services is even better at helping you understand the pain points, benefits, and go-to-market strategies for your business. Personas are semi-fictional biographies of customers (or non-customers) that will interact with your business. Moving beyond basic demographics, look to detailed psychographics that include interests, behaviors, social media usage, technology adoption, and more to help define your customers. We know they will evolve and change over time as you learn more about them, but diving into your target market and going the next step into the personas can be a real game-changer.
If you build it, people will not necessarily come. Google will not find your website just because you built it. In order to have people follow you on social media, enter your physical location, purchase from your e-commerce store, find you on Google, or buy from you, they have to be able to find you. This means marketing. After examining your target customer personas, you should have a good idea of where your customers spend their time online, in person, and how they receive marketing messages. You’ll learn from experience what works, but having a plan to get the word out on your business is essential in planning the financial components for your marketing budget and the messaging components for your marketing creative.
Having a sound financial outline in your business plan is essential for securing investors, loans, or lines of credit from financial institutions. It can also help attract potential buyers, partners, and vendors or convince potential employees to join your startup. Your financial plan should include the ways your company will generate revenue, how you came up with your financial projections, startup and running costs, and uses for any funds, including loans or lines of credit.
ABCO Group specializes in providing expertise, resources, and investments to our business partners. Our goal is to provide you with all of the tools necessary to grow your business, while allowing you to focus on your favorite parts of it. To learn more about our work and how we can benefit your business, visit our website.