A Business Goal Without a Plan is Just a Dream
Every business owner has a vision for their business. It’s something that gets them excited, hopeful, and expresses their desires and dreams for their organization. Getting your aspirations down on paper, and having a clear business outlook, are essential to making them a reality. Your vision and mission for the business should be aspirational and even inspirational.
Describe your Purpose
Without purpose, a business merely exists. Focus on understanding your WHY! Define your core values and use them as you research who your ideal clients are, then evaluate how these align with the business you envision having 10 years from now. Once you’ve determined your market; use it as a guide to focus on segmenting your business. By determining what your target is, or more importantly, WHO your target is, your business plan will communicate your vision to target clients because your focus will be crystal clear.
Determine your Business Goals
Every business owner starts something that they hope will make them money, but what is the real purpose of your business? If money is your only driving factor, it may be time to reevaluate your purpose as a business. Start by defining what your business does and for whom you do it. Do you provide a service? What motivates you and your employees? Dedicate some time to asking yourself the important questions every business owner should ask themselves. Get creative-- brainstorm. Write down your thoughts and what your business will look like in 10 years’ time. The business you have today may not be the business you’d like to have in the future. Focus on the future and envision what your 3, 10, and year 20 goals might be (including selling your business, transitioning to the next generation or an employee)? Once you come to a clear and succinct answer, you’re ready to create your business outlook.
Creating your Business Plan
Once you’ve gotten the who and what out of the way, you’re ready to begin your business plan. Begin by defining your company. Write down the core values and core focus. In this summary, you can give the specifics about your business. Include your official company name, your business address, the main objective of your company, and contact information for your leadership team.
Next, state clearly and concisely your business goals. You can include financials of the business, profits and losses, business costs and fees, and any numerical goals you believe will be helpful. In addition, include marketing goals and strategies like the social channels you wish to use to drive engagement. Consider how you plan to use these channels and how often you will use them. Determine how you want to advertise your brand, and what you want to advertise. By doing so, you can evaluate cost, ensure that your niche is being reached and your clients are staying engaged.
Once you have your business goals defined, it’s time to talk about your services. Remember, you’ve defined your who and your what but how will you engage them? If you are selling a product, discuss that product in depth. What does it do? How does it do it? Has it been proven to work? Include answers to any and every question a potential client might ask. This ensures that your niche clientele clearly understands your product and why it’s something for them without worrying about the “if’s” and “buts”.
If you provide a service, detail what services you provide. Why is this service beneficial to your niche clientele? How can you make their life better, easier, and more positive by working with you? Breakdown each aspect of the service and demonstrate why they can’t live without your services. It isn’t terribly hard to sell a product or service once or twice, but if you want repeat customers that rave about you, it’s vital to prove that you can and want to help them. Don’t make it all about the money. Cost is only one factor in the buying process. Often, people would rather feel heard and understood. That means that your service model should drive how you service your customers.
Keep your business plan short and simple. Get to the bottom line so that the objective is obvious to anyone who is reading it, including banks and investors. Leave no room for questions, you want your business plan to be clear and to the point. Make sure you have as much information as possible; include all the main components, give an analysis of your company and its offerings and how you wish to achieve your vision for your target market. Once you have determined all the major components, your business plan is ready to be put into action.