It's a new year and that means a new plan of action to take in order to elevate your career and your brand to the next level!
Business plans do not have to be boring. Be creative and honest with yourself when putting together your business plan. Remember this is for your own purpose and for you to reflect throughout the year. It is not final and you can modify it throughout the year to really have it align with what you and your brand are about.
The biggest mistake people make about a business plan is that they assume that it is written in stone and once it is complete, you have to abide by it. I strongly disagree. Below is what should be include din your business plan to start. Ask yourself questions about the categories below and answer honestly. Set goals for you and your business that are realistic - these goals can be changed through the year as you grow. Keep it simple but informative.
What is your WHY? Ask yourself what the true reason is for you to start this business. Are you following your passion? What made you decide on this particular business? What drives you? What is your mission statement? You might feel a little overwhelmed by these questions at first and that’s totally normal. The more questions you ask yourself, the better understanding you will have of your business and where you want it to go.
Where do you see yourself in 6 months and 1 year from today? When I wrote my first business plan, I put down a dollar value I wanted to make at six months and then a year. I didn't make what I wanted to in the first six months, but that didn't stop nor discourage me. I ended up changing my one year dollar figure and succeeded. Be realistic with your goals and add personal goals. This will help you to really connect with what it is you wish to achieve. Revisit this part of your business plan often and modify as you grow.
PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Obviously, in order to be a business, you need to offer something to customers. So, your business plan should also describe your products and/or services. List your products and your services and categorize them accordingly. Once you’ve outlined your products and services, you will need to describe the pricing structure for them. How much will you charge and what justifications do you have for establishing that price? You may also want to include research that indicates your customers will be willing to pay the amount you decided upon.
In order to effectively reach your customers, you need to know who they are and where to find them. This is where your market analysis comes to light and is definitely an essential piece of your business plan. How will you market your business? Will you use social media and if so, which platforms? Social media is an effective form of marketing that seems to work well with today’s’ demographic. Will you use print media and what costs are associated with this type of marketing? A marketing plan is a useful attachment for your business plan.
If you’re using your business plan to approach an investor or bank, first establish the amount you require in order to start and maintain your business. How do you expect to finance this business? Will you take out a small loan or do you have savings? Will you have a separate account to accumulate funds to be applied to your business while you still work? Finance is a huge part of any business plan. Don't go in over your head and put yourself into great expense until you have a solid plan of action. Take the first year to see what your finances will really be and use it as a test.
A business plan is not a one-time thing. Every year (every day), you and your business will change. Those changes can be good, bad, or a combination of the two - regardless, updating your business plan will keep you on track to meet your goals and help you track how your business changes.
Personally I update my business plan every 6 months or after a big change, such as a re-brand or new product launch. I update my goals and add notes about my current stats, followers and income.