Starting a small business can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things that you ever do, or it can turn into a huge nightmare if you let it. You greatly increase your chances of success by having a simple one page business plan created as your starting point.
There is an old saying that has proven itself over and over again and it is especially true in the business world. The saying goes like this “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Having a simple business plan is like having a road-map, guide or cheat sheet to help you get from where you are today to where you want to be some time in the future.
If you are planning on starting a multi-national major corporation, then you will benefit from having a full-blown 20 page business plan that outlines your companies strengths, weaknesses, market opportunities, marketing strategy, mission statement, competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, etc…
However, if it’s just you or just a couple of people working together, then a one page business plan is really all you need to get you started.
This one little step can mean the difference between starting a business that never actually achieves any real level of success or starting a business that eventually becomes hugely successful.
Why is a business plan so important?
One reason a business plan is so important, is because it allows you to be clear on exactly what your business is going to do and how it is going to go about accomplishing that objective. Clarity in setting business goals is the first step toward achieving those goals.
A business plan does not have to be complicated. In fact, the more basic it is the better. You can more easily make changes and adjustments if and as needed to a simple business plan.
Nine out of ten times things will change so quickly and so dramatically as soon as you start your business that you may need to re-create the entire business plan to re-adjust to the new situation that you face.
However, it is always better to have a good idea of what you need to do to be successful, rather than to be confused, unclear and have no real aim or focus.
Here is an example of how to write a simple business plan.
1.) Mission Statement – You should clearly define your target market – What product do you plan to create, sell, market or promote, what is going to be your niche?
2.) Target Customer – Who is your ideal customer – The better you are able to identify and understand who your “ideal customer” is, the better you will be able to connect with them in your marketing messages.
3.) Marketing Plan – What will be your marketing strategy – You should have a good idea of how you can effectively market to your potential customers. This should be an ongoing marketing strategy that is used to help continually grow the business.
4.) Financial Forecast – How much money will be needed to start your business? – If you can bootstrap your operations and just invest sweat equity, you will have a much greater chance of succeeding. Even if this is the case there are going to be bare minimum operating costs and expenses, what are they and how much are they? How soon do you plan to make a profit and how profitable do you plan to be each month? You will be more in control of your costs and expenses by being aware of this information.
5.) What are your backup options – How flexible are you able to be? if plan A doesn’t work, what will be your plan B?
6.) What are your major goals, 1,3 and 5 year goals and what are your short-term goals, for today, tomorrow, next week and next month?
The business plan should give you a “clear idea” of what you want to do and how you want to do it.
Over time as the business grows, you can continue modifying, revising and enhancing the business plan and even develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the business if needed. However, starting with a simple one page business plan will be more than enough to help you get started on the right foot.
You want to spend most of your time creating, building and growing your business and making it into a financial success as quickly as possible. Although many feel the business plan is the starting point in reality understanding the foundation of almost every successful small business is more important. Check out the article on business systems before you even begin thinking about writing your one page business plan.