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I never made a business plan when I started.

23 Diya SelvaSo you neglected to write a business plan when you started. It’s okay. A rushed idea or a chance meeting turned into a business and started growing right away, so you never got to sit down and create a business plan. I getcha. That’s why Day 23 of my April Blog Challenge speaks about making and maintaining, and the importance of business planing for your business.

Although, a sound plan is a must, it’s not necessary that you make it at the very beginning. If a single transaction grew your business to what it is now and you don’t see advancement from here, you can always sit down and make a plan now.

I’ve had quite a few people telling me that “Hey, Diya, I do have a business plan, but it’s all in my mind. I have a total big picture in my mind and it’s a fantastic plan”. However to run a successful business you need to clearly put down a  well documented plan on paper, describing what you are going to do, what do you plan to achieve, the risks you’re planning to take to overcome hurdles and a projection of income that should come in during the first six months, one year, two years and five years of starting the business.

Business plan Diya SelvaSo what is a business plan comprised of? A clear plan does not need to be comprehensive running into 50 pages, it could be kept simple. Unless you need to take a business loan from a bank, keep it small and simple, thus easy to understand and measure.

Treat your business like a project. Start with your business proposal including a description of what the business is going to be about. Add your unique selling point, which means what sets you apart from the rest.

After that add in your market analysis, this is mostly information about your target market, your customer demographics and your distribution methods and channels. Add your organizational structure. How large is your business going to be? How many people would be working in it and what roles will they be taking up?

Include any human resource requirements there might be, like how many people need to be hired, their roles and positions and salaries, then finally put together your financial data that comprises of your business’ net worth, a sum total of your assets, cash flow forecast, financial projections for six months, one year and two years. Make sure to include budgets for every expense.

Go over the final draft with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that every little detail in the plan is realistic and not too ambitious. Have a partner, a friend or a lawyer or accountant go through your business plan and provide feedback. Your business coach should be your sounding board, discuss with them the efficiency and integrity of your plan.

Click here to check out a few sample business plans provided by Bplans. They have a few free samples and some paid custom versions.

Once you have the document ready, revisit it periodically to check how you’re doing, if you are running as per plan or falling behind. It is normal to tweak up your business plan once you know the nitty-gritty of the running of your business. Please get in touch with me if you need a business plan done for you or you just need a solid discussion on what’s been working for you and what’s not.

When you go through your business plan periodically you will realize the importance of having it in the first place. The plan should help you with most critical decisions, to fill any gaps in your strategy in realistic terms, to avoid making mistakes about market, capital or competition. A good marketing plan also proves the viability of a business, sets better objectives and benchmarks and understands broader landscape of where you want to be in the long run.

 

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