Every successful venture begins with a plan. A business plan will help you define the goals and objectives for your business and help plan a path, and a timeframe, to help you achieve those goals.
Building a business plan
Business plans should, ideally, be created prior to starting out, but they can be a useful tool at any time in the life of your business. One of the strongest benefits of a business plan is that it forces you to take a step back and look at your business in the present and future from a variety of different perspectives. When creating a business plan, make sure to consider the following:
Your business profile
This is pretty basic. It is meant to introduce your company to clients and suppliers. In this section you should include what the business is all about – the products or services you sell or provide, as well as some background information on the business. You may choose to include your company’s mission statement or team bios here, or you can create separate sections for these.
Mission statement or vision statement
You know why you started your business and what you hope to accomplish with it, and this is the place to tell this story to your clients and potential clients. While this may sound easy, crafting a mission statement might be the most challenging part of drafting your business plan.
A good mission statement should be short and to the point while including everything you need to say about your business and all your hopes and dreams for it! It should include the reason for your organization’s existence, its purpose and intentions, and overall objectives. And all of this in, ideally, two or three sentences. Business Development Coach, Kim Skermer, provides some excellent advice for creating a mission statement our ivari presents…On the go podcast episode, Unique Value Proposition, Building Your Northstar.
There are a lot of website and resources on how to write effective business goals. A quick google search of “SMART” goals will help you craft these. Simply put, SMART goals stand for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Using the SMART method of goal setting, you should include both short-term and long-term goals in your business plan. Check out our article on Setting up business goals to learn more.
Your marketing plan is the place to tell your audience how you are going to promote your business including details such as:
- What you will do i.e., advertising, sampling, product placement, digital marketing, etc.
- How often you will do it – daily, weekly, quarterly
- The cost or time involved
- The metrics/analytics you’ll track
- Your expected results – i.e., 10% increase in sales month-over-month, etc
Here is the part where you can talk about what you’re going to spend vs what you’re going to earn. Your financial section should include a cash flow forecast as well as expenses and financial projections. If you don’t have a background in finance, this section can be intimidating, but there are a lot of resources out there to help.
The executive summary is a very brief, high-level summary of everything that is in your business plan. If you choose to include an executive summary, you should write it last, but put it first in your plan.
Remember, your business plan is not a once-and-done document. If your business is thriving and growing, or if it has hit a rough patch, your goals, financials, and marketing plans may change. Set a reminder to review your business plan at least once a year, or more often depending on your goals.
This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be considered specific advice, nor is it a substitute for advice from a qualified professional. The article may contain information obtained from third-party sources. While reasonable efforts have been made at the time of publication to ensure that the contents of this article have been derived from reliable and accurate sources, including third party sources, ivari provides the information “as is” and ivari does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein.
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