How to Create a Super Simple Recipe for Business Planning: Part One
Most of us have an idea or two about what we would love to do, but many of us don’t know where to start. Personally, I am a fan of planning out all things that take away my two most precious resources: time and money. Many of us look at business plan templates online and cringe! I’ve seen business plans that were not detailed enough to explain why I wanted to be in business or how I will operate it. I’ve seen extensive business plans that almost asked for your blood type and mother’s maiden name! C’mon people, let’s be clear! There are several out-of-date templates that don’t cater to our digitized lifestyles. Because I couldn’t find the right plan for me, I decided to create my own.
The problem with creating your own business is to know where to start. I had no clue how to complete a forecast for 5 years or more. What is a forecast anyway, right? [Pssst! It’s a financial estimate expected to happen during specific times in the future] I wanted something to define what I offer, why I offer it and how I offer it without an intensive 30-page novel. I needed to define how I will improve or enhance my goals and objectives in my plan for accountability and to measure how my business is doing with those goals in mind so, I created and implemented my own outline and sections.
When building an active business plan, you’ll need to answer these basic questions at minimum:
- Are you the only one who owns this business or do you have a business partner? Or several?
- What are you selling (products) or providing (services)?
- Why are you selling your product? Why are you providing this service? How will it help people?
- Who will purchase what you offer?
- Where will customers make their purchase?
- How often will customers purchase your product or services?
- How will this person find you?
- How will you find them (as in your target market)?
- How will you get the products you need in order to start your business?
- How much will these products cost?
- How will you get your products to customers?
- How will you record your income and expenses?
- How much income do you realistically want to make?
It may be easier to answer these questions as if someone asked them in a casual conversation. Some questions may be harder than others but most are very easy to answer verbally before you write them. I find that breaking large amounts of information into sections are helpful and retainable for people.
Let’s Get Started!
Split the business plan into three sections:
THE VISION | THE HUSTLE. | THE SUCCESS.
This section summarizes the ingredients you’ll need to prepare such an amazing business plan! This is where you answer the what, why, who, where, and how questions that need detailed answers for your vision. Don’t worry it is much easier than what you think! We will do an example together for products and one for services in Part Two of this series. Also in this section, you will research your competitors and explore your brand identity which defines the “voice and tone” you want your customers to hear, feel and perceive when they think of your business.
This section explains how you will implement strategy into the planning process for your successful business. It includes goals and objectives, strategies, and action plans. It is the most important step of the recipe! Here you set the goals you want to achieve such as 50 sales within the first quarter. You will also invent strategies on how to meet those goals such as paid advertising through Facebook and offline marketing. Be sure to make realistic goals and be patient with yourself.
This section summarizes the final product of your business operations; the results of the hustle. It determines how you will operate and manage your business successfully. Success is accomplished whether or not you’ve reached your goals. Regardless of the outcome, you’ll learn something new along the way. For example, you may have discovered how you could’ve implemented a strategy better or how well a strategy worked when implementing action plans. It’s all a learning process!