Today’s article is about, you guessed it, do I really need a business plan and why do I need one? Many people who start a business never take the time to write out a business plan. And that is a big mistake in my opinion.
A business plan can greatly increase your chances of success. And I’m assuming that you want your business to be a success, am I right?
The following are some reasons why every business needs to put a business plan into writing.
- It helps to map out your future
If you have decided you are ready to start a business, your first step should be to write out your plans for what you want to do with the business and where you see the business going in the future. You have probably heard the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” That is very true when it comes to your business. The more planning you do in the beginning, the greater success you will see in the future.
If you decide to take your home business to the next level, a business plan can help you secure financing. A financial institution will want to see, in writing, the reasons that they should loan you money. Simply walking in and telling them why you know you’ll be a success isn’t good enough. However, if you can hand your lender a document that states your business idea, your business goals, a list of steps you plan to take in order to reach your goals, as well as your estimated earnings, you will be seen as a professional and the lender will take you more seriously.
Determines your Action Plan
Your plan will also help you determine your action plan. Your action plan consists of the steps you plan on taking in order to achieve your goals. This is another task that people usually sidestep. Instead of “just kind of knowing” or “having the ideas in your head”, you should take the time to put them on paper. The reason this part of the business plan is so important is that it literally walks you from point A to point B. While your business plan, in general, serves as a map, your action plan is the “turn-by-turn directions.”
Having a business plan to present to your spouse or partner can also help them to realize your business idea is more than just a passing amusement. This can really help you, especially if they are skeptical. They can see that you are serious and will become more helpful and more encouraging. Having the support of your spouse or partner can really motivate you and help you find success. And that’s what you want your business to be, successful!
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Creating a one-page business plan is the topic of this article. Many small business owners get overwhelmed when it comes to the necessity of writing their business plans. It doesn’t have to be hard you just need to do it.
Unless you are looking for major financial funding from a bank or other loan institutions, a simple business plan that includes answers to the following questions will be perfect for your small business purposes.
The Simple Business Plan
1. Where am I now with my business?
2. Where do I want to be with my business? If you see your deadlines in front of you as you work your business, you’ll be more likely to meet them. Break this answer down into a timeline to make it easier, using 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or whatever times work for your particular business.
If you are looking for a way to get a bit more detailed with your plan or you foresee needing it to request funding later, you may want to devote more time and attention. You can still easily do this by devoting no more than one page to each section of your business plan.
Creating A Detailed Business Plan
Page 1 – Overview
Include your vision for your company (possibilities), the purpose of creating your company (why you started your business), and the mission of your company (plans for achieving).
Page 2 – Business Information
Here is where you would include information about yourself including name, business name, and entity, address, and phone number.
You’ll also want to summarize your business objectives on this page. List your goals and how you plan to reach them. Including what you’ll do to create a profit and what tools and resources you plan to use to do so.
Page 3 – Market & Customers
Answer the following questions in this section of your plan.
Your target market – Who are they? Where are they? How many?
What do you need to know about them?
Why do they need your service?
Is the market growing?
Give specifics about growth and spending habits. Do as much research on your market as you can and put it in this section, including any barriers or hard to overcome issues.
Page 4 – Competition
Who are your competitors? What makes you different and the same as those competitors? How are you competing with them? With price, quality, etc? How will your market feel about you compared to your competitors?
Page 5 – Marketing
This is a bit like your competition section because you’ll want to discuss how you will market your business products or services. What makes your business unique?
No matter which method you use to create your business plan, be sure you are answering each of the questions to make it efficient for its purpose. Whether it’s for you or someone else, the ultimate goal of a business plan is to keep you on track and focused, and working toward growth.
As your business grows don’t forget to update your plan to grow with it as well.
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Your Business Plans Effect on Marketing is our topic of discussion today. Some people say you don’t need a business plan, some say you do need one. So, what is the real answer to this question?
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan serves as the guidebook to your business. Your business plan should communicate what your business is, how you plan on growing it, and what steps you are going to take to achieve your success. See? Easy answer! But, when you work online, your business plan might not look like a traditional marketing plan.
Your business plan also has a huge effect on your marketing efforts. Your business plan can help you decide what type of marketing will add value to your business and which types of marketing will simply be time wasters.
By writing out your business ideas and goals, you can determine your target market. Your target market is the group of people that you want to promote your products or services to. Determining your target market is the first step in planning your marketing efforts. See, this is the right answer!!
Having a business plan, and knowing who your target market is, will lead you to create your marketing plan. A marketing plan is similar to a business plan in the sense that it acts as a guide and helps you stay focused.
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a written plan of action that communicates how you are going to market your business. There are many ways to market your business, such as flyers, paid ads (newspapers, magazines, online), business cards, speaking in front of groups, becoming a guest on a radio show or television program, pay-per-click campaigns, direct mail, and more.
Your business and marketing plans serve as tools in deciding which marketing ideas will work best with your business and your particular brand. It can be easy to try too many different marketing approaches. Whenever you feel confused about your marketing efforts, take some time to re-read your business plan. This can help you decide if the new marketing idea will actually reach your target market and if it is worth trying.
A Few Ways to Market Your Business
Developing relationships with other business owners that offer complementary products is a great way to market your business. When you know which direction you plan to grow your business, you can start scouting out possible future business partners.
So, for instance, if you have created your own line of organizational handbags and would like to start offering diaper bags, you can start researching the top baby-focused websites and see if they would be interested in helping you promote your diaper bags. Doing your research is critical to figuring out who would be best to help you and your business.
Your marketing plan should also include information on how you plan on keeping your customers after the initial purchase. Some ideas include customer-only sales, backend sales opportunities, customer-only freebies, etc.
Now, what would you include in your marketing plan?
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Setting timers is critical to achieving your business goals, don’t you think? So do you ever find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day? Do you have enough time to get everything done? When it comes to business, it sometimes seems that there could never be enough hours in the day. I feel that way often and I’m sure you do too!
Time management is a stumbling block for many business owners. Sometimes it helps to find a way to hold ourselves accountable for how much time we spend on certain things. Timers are a great way to accomplish this.
Why Should Setting Timers Be Helpful?
Timers can be used for just about anything that you feel that you may be spending too much time on. As a business owner, your time is money so you don’t want to waste a minute.
Here are some examples of why you should use them:
Some of us tend to get caught up in our emails for entirely too long. We click links, then find interesting links on those pages and end up surfing the web. Or we read newsletters that could wait until later. Setting a timer when reading our email can help us remember to cut to the important stuff and save the rest for non-business time.
The Internet is one of the best research tools anyone could ask for. But it is also home to numerous distractions. Setting a timer when researching can help us stay on track.
Networking online can help you grow your business. But it also has the potential to eat up time that could be better used getting work done. Setting aside a certain amount of time to network and not going over it allows us to make connections without causing our work to suffer.
If you are working on multiple projects, setting a timer for each one can help you dedicate the appropriate amount of time to them. Projects that involve a lot of work or have approaching deadlines may need more time than smaller or lower priority ones. You can always reset the timer if necessary and add more time.
Why Taking Breaks is Important
Breaks give us time to clear our heads and tend to non-business matters. But sometimes it’s tempting to take longer breaks when we’re working for ourselves, and that cuts into time that could be spent on business. And sometimes we get so caught up in getting our work done that we make our breaks too short to serve their purpose. Setting a timer can help us take breaks that are not too long or too short.
Managing time successfully is one of the most important things a business owner can do. Setting timers can help us avoid spending too much time on some things and not enough on others. Give it a try. You just might find that the timer is your new best friend.
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Many people have issues with goal setting due to setting limiting obstacles in their own way. Some of the most common barriers to goals setting involve fear and lack of belief in yourself enough to even set a goal, much less follow steps toward achieving them. Perhaps if you know some of the most common goal-setting obstacles you can work toward overcoming them.
Obstacles That Limit The Process
- You Don’t Want What You Think You Want
Some goals are set because other people want them for you. If you don’t really want what you say you want, it will be very difficult to set a goal for that thing. Be sure that you’ve set the goals for the right reasons and that it’s something you really want. Write down the pros and cons of any goal and know why you want to achieve that result before setting it in stone.
- You Don’t Truly Understand the Importance of Goal Setting
Many people think goal setting is just hocus pocus and doesn’t really work. If you don’t really understand the power behind appropriate goal setting, it can be hard to take the time out of your day to truly set a goal. To understand the importance of goal setting, read several books about success and you’ll find that the most successful people set realistic goals, and then worked that goal into their schedule every single day. Even people who experience “overnight success” didn’t really achieve everything overnight. It was many nights of following a plan that brought results.
- You’re Not Really Sure How to Set a Reasonable Goal
If you’ve actually tried to set a goal before but didn’t experience results, it’s probably because you just don’t know how to set a goal. It’s not as easy as just writing down a dream. Goals aren’t dreams. They are realistic, specific, achievable end results that you want to see. Take the time to learn the best goal-setting techniques in order to experience goal-setting success.
Fears That Control You
Many people do not bother setting goals because they have a self-limiting belief that they’ll fail anyway. Therefore, if they do not set a goal, they won’t have to be a failure. But remember that the idea of planning to succeed over planning to fail is realistic. No goal setting is a recipe for failure; goal setting is a recipe for success. When you accept that you can only achieve real success through goal setting, you’ll overcome this obstacle.
- You’re Afraid of Judgment
Sometimes people are scared to set a goal for something because they see it as outrageous. For instance, let’s say that you want to go back to college to get a Master’s degree, or you want to start your own business. You fear that if you set that goal, and other people know about the goal they’ll judge you harshly for wanting it or for some other imagined issue. If you are worried about what others think of you, it’s time to dig deep inside yourself and get over it. The truth is, what you think of yourself is more important than anything else. When you stop judging yourself, you’ll stop worrying about the judgment of others.
Believe it or not, some people are literally afraid of success. They feel too much pressure surrounding success to actually make goals to be successful. They are more comfortable in their role as someone who is not successful or who is “normal” instead of as someone who sets a goal, works toward achieving it and is seen as a success. The truth is, there will always be people who want to tear you down once you achieve some success, but the saddest thing in life is regretting not doing something. Most people regret the things they did not do, more than the things they did do – right or wrong.
Limits And Internal Battles
- You Secretly Don’t Think You’re Worth It
This is where the way you see yourself is important because if you see yourself as someone who doesn’t follow through, who doesn’t succeed, and who can’t change their life, you’ll avoid goal setting like the plague. You’re the only person on Earth who can control your actions, so you’re the only one who can set the goals for you and the only one who can make yourself feel worthwhile.
- You Don’t Really Believe It’s Possible
People avoid goal setting because they simply do not see the vision of what can be. They don’t believe. They don’t picture themselves fully at the point of success, experiencing success. Since they think it can’t happen, they don’t try. But, the truth is, you can’t know for sure about anything unless you follow the steps necessary to reach a goal. You can dream big, and reach for the stars. Trying is more important in most circles than actually making it. And, chances are that if you really try, you will make it after all.
Goal setting is imperative if you want to truly see all your dreams and visions come to fruition. It doesn’t matter if it’s business-oriented or personal – setting a realistic and achievable goal, and then working toward realizing that goal on a daily basis does work.
You just have to do the work. If you’re resisting this process I completely understand because it’s easy to do. If you need help with creating your goals, book a FREE call with me. It’s easy, just use this link FREE CALL!