If you’re thinking of starting a business you should know how to write a business plan. It is usually observed that despite having a great start up idea most businesses are not successful. According to common statistics within first five years of operation 90% businesses fail and of the remaining 10% only one of out of 10 business last past the first five years.
So what makes some businesses fail while others prosper. There may be several reasons. Including. But not limited to –
- Poor customer service.
- Poor logistics and cost management and
- Inadequate product.
But the major reason is the lack of a business plan. Business plans help define goals and achieve them if you take out time to set concrete but achievable goals and chart a plant to success. It can help you realize your dreams and make your business flourish. I have compiled an all inclusive list of areas that need to be considered while writing a business plan. These will help you in define your goal and the path your business needs to take to achieve them.
Step 1 : Define your vision.
When you start a business you have a clear goal in mind you know exactly what you wish to achieve with your business. However after some time the clarity of your vision will become blurred and you’ll forget some of your brilliant ideas. Will help you to find it and moreover.
It will help your staff identify with the mission all daily activities of the business can then be aligned with your vision for the business this should be the first step of writing a business plan.
Step 2 : Set your goals and objectives for the business.
Never assume that your goals need to be small to accommodate your limitations. Think big!
Clearly define your
“Short term goals the ones that you wish to achieve within 12 months.”
“Mid term goals that will take between 2-3 years.”
“A long term goals consider all aspects such as the revenue you wish to generate. Number of out let you want, number of customers you need in your database the target population and age groups as well as the amount of passive income that needs to be generated in future.”
Step 3 : Define your unique selling proposition.
What is it about you that is different from the crowd your Unique Selling Point (USP) will make you more attractive to potential customers I was your product or service differ from others in the market it could be anything from additional services to personalized customer service you could even offer them better after sales warranty and support. While writing a business plan you just need to highlight the extras that your customers are getting from you to make your business stand out.
Step 4 : Know your market.
It often happens that you have a brilliant idea but someone else has already started a business with a similar plan. This is a very common occurrence, but you should not let this start. How many petrol stations are there? Several businesses that provide the same service and still survive as the market place is huge and they can sustain multiple businesses. But for this you should know your market like the back of your hand. Research and find out how many competitors you have, what services they offer, what are the current and future trends of the industry. Know the larger picture are there certain benchmarks that can be used to gauge your business performance such a gross turnover profit margins etc.. Once you know the inner workings of the market you can manipulate them in your favor. This is an important part of learning how to write a business plan.
Step 5 : Know your customer.
This goes without saying, customers are the most important part of any business and you should know the customers your business caters to. Today customers are spoiled for choice and they have thousands of options for every product. So if you want them to buy your product you should know what your ideal customer one this is the reason why you need to define your target populations and research their habits while writing a business plan. Understanding the motivation behind customers action can make your business successful.
You can focus on the areas that grab your customer’s interest and stop wasting energy on the rest. Put yourself in their shoes and then think what would make him choose you each time right down the ideas and implement them.
Step 6 : Research the demand for your business.
You must have studied the demand and supply curve. Even if you have it stands to logic that there should ample demand for your product. Find out the demand before investing in a new business. The basic rule is the demand should be more than supply. If this holds true for your market your business will thrive but if the demand is less than the supply your business will eventually die out.
So do your homework and gather as much information as you can. You can do a secondary research right from your home over the internet or your public library or you can even visit government offices for this information, but by far the best option is primary research for you directly intract with your target audience to know their preferences that how ready they are to buy your product. So hit the road in note down all the interesting ideas you get to increase the demand. Be smart and invest your life savings only after ascertaining that there is a demand for your product.
Step 7 : Set your marketing goals.
So you have finished the research and define your business vision the next step in writing a business plan is setting up marketing goals. These for those goals that define how your product –
- Would look like?
- What it will cost?
- How you’ll distribute it?
- And the ways in which you can promote it.
Most businesses do plan this but they neglect the most important areas. You should set up measurable marketing goals that will help achieve your primary business objectives.
- Questions like the number of products you sell.
- What will be your product development strategy?
- Your price margin.
- Delivery methods and promotion plans should be duly considered.
When you ask yourself these questions they will help define the goals for marketing your business.
Step 8 : Define your marketing strategy.
Now that you have your marketing goals you need a plan to achieve them –
- How many products you’ll need to produce and sell it at what profit margin so as to get your desired revenue.
- What will be your system of delivery and your coverage area.
- What will be the strategies to promote your business.
The media that you will use you be very specific as these will translate action and your ultimate success or failure. Plan for every eventuality while writing a business plan. This is a very vital step writing a business plan soul quake yourself with it so that you can easily navigate through each point.
Step 9 : Take action.
And of course without action all else is waste. This is the most important part of writing a business plan you can plant all you want, but unless you do the actual work and bring customers to your store front you won’t earn anything. Even if you find that according to the business plan. Your idea isn’t viable don’t give up, there are thousands of other ideas out there and you can alternately find one that suits you. If you wish to be wealthy, healthy, and happy there is a business waiting for you. To grab your business plan will provide the direction and focus but you will need to take the first step.
Writing a business plan isn’t difficult, if you know what you should focus on. Now have an idea of what is important and how you should tackle the task of writing a business plan and you are now better equipped to start A Successful Business.Start your research today, jot down all those brilliant ideas, set your goals, define a path and don’t let anyone stop you. Now you know how to write a business plan and the manager for success in your hands make the best of it.
Credit – Young Entrepreneurs Forum