Creating a business plan is one of the best fundamental things you can do to promote success in your business. A business plan will help you stick to, well, your plan for your business. It also helps you think about things you haven’t thought about before and things you should know for your business.
I’ve started several businesses and they’ve all failed because I didn’t have a business plan in place. Once I decided to take this latest business seriously, I filled out a free business plan sheet and it’s been one of the best fundamental things I could do for myself and my business.
It’ll help you hone in on your ideal client and get you thinking about the products, verbiage and places to market. Which, in turn, means more revenue in your pocket. It also helps you think about places you’ve never thought to market to before.
Not only will you know your ideal client inside and out, but you’ll have a deep understanding of purpose in your business. If your purpose is to make money in your business, chances are it’s not going to make it off the ground. How do I know that? Because that’s what happened with all of my failed businesses. My focus was on my own gain and not the gain that others would receive from my business. If you’re marketing to a client, you want to make sure the focus is on them because they’ll feel like you’re really investing in who they are and bettering their life.
A business plan will also get you thinking about the future of your business. When you’re creating or building a business, you generally focus on how to lift that business off of the ground. You’re not focused on what you want to be in 5 years or how to handle employees at that point. With a business plan, you’ll be forced (in a good way) to think about how you manage your business and how you would manage other employees. You’ll be more inclined to create systems in place so employees or a virtual assistant could swoop in and help you instead of putting them through rigorous training (which is exhausting for both parties).
As you can see, a business plan is great for many reasons. I want you to plan for your future and the future of your business, grab a paper and pencil or open up a google doc and write down everything that comes to mind in the following questions. Remember, everything you write down is invaluable and is a living document. Just because you wrote it down doesn’t mean you can't change it. If your purpose for running this business shifts or you find your clientele wants something different, then allow it to flow and shift depending on your needs and the needs of your clients.
Blog and Brand Outline
This is one of the more in-depth sections you’ll have to go through when it comes to creating a small business plan. Your brand isn’t just your logo. It’s how you walk, talk and breathe. It’s you. For some reason, it’s hard to write down who you are on paper; at least it is for me. Think about big questions like who you are and what you stand for. What’s something you want to deeply accomplish with this business? That’ll be your driving force behind it all.
You need to be consistent when you’re online. Your ideal audience will thank you. Otherwise, they’ll have a hard time keeping up with you and end up losing interest. Which is something nobody wants! Let’s help you create blog standards. What will you be posting about? What categories will they be in?
Products and Monetization
Are you selling physical products? Or digital downloads? Do you provide services? Write down everything that you can think of to monetize your blog or website. You might even branch into writing e-books or creating and selling courses depending on your specific niche. Think about ways that you might want to monetize in your future, as well.
Next, analyze your market. Market analysis is figuring out who your biggest competitor would be, who they sell to and their offerings. Your job is to figure out who you want your market to be and to provide your audience with the best information out there. You should always be promoting value over quantity. Be sure you’re giving your audience the most value so they don’t have to look anywhere else for it!
Promotion on Social Media
How are you going to promote and market yourself on social media? What social media site are you going to utilize for your business? Create a consistent posting schedule so your audience knows what and when to expect posts.
Remember: running a business isn’t necessarily cheap but it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Starting your own small business is meant to give you the freedom you deserve and crave. It’s not meant to make you feel trapped in small business loans. If you’re a brick and mortar startup, chances are you’ll have to take out a business loan. But, if you’re an online business, it doesn’t have to be expensive at all. Check out this blog post for more information.
When it comes to online businesses, you’ll always be growing and learning. I don’t think there’s ever a point where you can stop and say, “I’ve arrived. I know all there is to know” because technology is ever expanding and helping us reach, teach and grow our following. Be sure that you don’t fall behind in the learning curve. Stay ahead and don’t hesitate to invest in furthering your education in your business. Have you been dying to take classes or invest in a business coach? Do it. You’ll take the information you learned and put it right back into your business.
Now that you've mapped out everything about your business, you're ready to take it full time! You've figured everything out. You know who your audience is, how to write to them, how to promote yourself on social media and how much it'll take for you to get this business up and going. My friend, you're ready. Take that leap of faith and join some of the most supportive people you will ever meet. You just gained a new family – a family of entrepreneurs. We welcome you with open arms and we're popping the bubbly already!