I don’t know about you, but 2017 has been one heck of a year!
It has honestly seemed like I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride. Some months have seen massive growth spurts in business, while others have left me wondering if everyone had suddenly left the country and I wasn’t invited.
I’ve made a firm decision that 2018 is going to be my best year yet, and am making it a solid mission to be consistent with growth, set and smash some kick-butt goals, and gain international recognition.
Who’s with me?!
(Spoiler Alert: I’m currently designing a beautiful Smart Goals workbook for my 2018 goals that I’m totally sharing with you. Subscribe to the blog to make sure you get your copy as soon as it’s launched!)
A goal without a plan is just a wish – Unknown.
As Entrepreneurs and Business Owners, we often birth epic ideas that we’re super sure will help us see growth and profits in our businesses. We promptly start mentally spending all these “millions” we’re going to make from them and it starts getting us freakin’ excited. Oh man, what a feeling! (This blog post >> will help you brainstorm like a boss if you’re needing to develop some new growth strategies!)
Unfortunately my Friend, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but: Without a clear, concise plan as to how you’re going to execute those mega awesome ideas, you may as well wish on a star every night, park off on your butt and wait for a random old hag wielding a magic wand to come along and grant those ideas as wishes because …
It’s not going to happen. #Truthbomb.
You see, all the epic ideas and solid goals that you may set in business, and in life, are pretty useless without doing some good old-fashioned homework as to whether or not they’ll work, and then creating some solid action plans as to how you’re actually going to achieve them.
Don’t set yourself up for a ridiculously long journey that may not end well for you or your business. Get a plan. Get a business plan.
Grab your free business plan template below >>
The Importance of a good Business Plan.
Having a solid, well-researched business plan is going to make your business journey much easier. It’s that simple. It will provide you with the essential tools that you’ll need to effectively manage your business, identify the people you want to market and sell your products/ services to, and more.
Let’s plough through some key steps that a few industry experts suggest you take.
1. Determine your purpose:
According to Alan Williams, co-author of “The 31 Practices”, you need to take time to identify with your businesses core values and purpose so that you’ve got a clear starting point.
2. Build your vision:
You’ve got to have a clear vision of what it is that you actually want to accomplish as a business. Come up with 3 to 5 key strategies that’ll help you achieve that vision.
3. Clarify your business model:
Your business plan should include financial projections. “Start by answering ‘what if’s’. If I sell this product at this price, and this is how much it will cost me to get clients, how much profit will I make? When you’re done building and testing the business model, you can go back and write a business plan.” advises Alex Muller, CEO of GPShopper.
4. Work out your business name and company structure (if you’re a startup):
The way your company is structured legally will play an important role in how you’ll be able to conduct your business activities. Also, ensuring your naming is right is extremely vital as you really wouldn’t want to plaster your company’s name all over legal documents only to find out that the name has been registered to another company. That would be a costly mess to fix.
5. Road-test your business idea (if you’re a startup):
Make sure that there actually is a market for your business idea before you waste valuable time and effort on a business plan.
How to Write an Epic Business Plan.
When it comes to writing a good business plan, the process doesn’t have to be an enigma, trust me on this. Peter Hull, a contributing writer at Forbes Entrepreneurs and a serial entrepreneur who has a staggering 25+ years experience in launching successful companies, offers these 5 pearls that will help you to rock at writing an epic business plan!
1. Get rid of the fluff:
Fluff gets you nowhere and wastes space. Be as concise as possible and remove any filler language.
2. Be realistic:
You should be honest with yourself in your business plan, which is why it’s very important to consider challenges and opportunities.
3. Show you’re conservative:
Show examples as to how you’re going to be conservative in your approach and projections when writing your business plan.
4. Visuals are good:
Whenever possible, and without overdoing it, use visuals in your business plan. Graphs, charts, and images can help bring your concept to life.
5. Be creative:
Include a creative element in your business plan so that it your concept will stand out and grab someone’s attention.
Don’t forget to grab your free business plan template below >>
The Key Components of a well written Business Plan.
We’re finally at the business plan itself! Remember: Preparation Is Key, so if you’ve skimmed over the previous sections of this blog post to get here, backtrack and check them out as they will definitely help you write a better business plan.
1. Executive Summary:
This is a summary, or an overview, of your business plan highlighting all your content and goals. This should ideally be 1 – 2 pages long, but no greater than 3 or 4. Remember, get rid of the fluff!
2. Company Overview:
Here’s where you provide more information about your company, its mission, the markets you intend to serve, and what makes you different from other businesses.
3. Products and Services:
This is where you go into detail about the products/ services you plan to offer and how your product/ service will solve a problem or fill a need for your market. It should also indicate the product/ services life-cycle.
4. Market Analysis:
Before launching, it’s extremely essential that you research your target market thoroughly. Research and include items such as who your target market is, your industry, your competitors, and customer trends.
5. Market Sales and Strategy:
How do you plan on marketing your products/ services? What is your sales strategy? How do you intend on securing your slice of the market?
6. Organisations and Management:
This describes how your business will function on an ongoing basis and what the best structure will be for your business type. It will also describe the background of your managers and executives and how they will help you achieve your business goals.
7. Financial Projections:
This is always at the back of the business plan. If you’re wanting to secure funding from investors (even if they’re friends or family), they’ll love this section as it gives them something to hold your business accountable to. It will include your projected income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet and capital expenditure.
A completely optional section that shouldn’t be included in the body of your business plan, and should only be provided on an as-needed basis. It will include items such as your key managers’ curriculum vitae, product images, letters of reference, details of market studies and any other relevant legal and/or supporting documents.
If you’ve take anything away from this post (yes I know it’s a long one), I hope that it’s the important effect that precise planning can have on the success of your business.
I’m totally going to quote from Outkast’s song, Ms Jackson now (because I’m a LadyBoss G like that) because I found these lyrics to be super relevant to my last point:
You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.
While planning is a critical element in business, it goes hand-in-hand with persistence, skill and tons of hard work. Without a harmonious balance of the aforementioned, you’re totally setting yourself up for one tough ride.
And hun, before you leave? Don’t forget to grab that freebie business plan here >> to give you that extra boost.
Ciao for now,