After your idea is done, the next step is to create a business plan. What is a business plan? A business plan is just that, a plan on how to execute a business! You need it for the nitty and gritty of your business. If you rush into business without a concrete plan, you could be courting disaster. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to go. With that being said, planning too much without concrete action is also undesirable. Same like the idea, you don’t need to have the perfect business plan, because it does not exist.
You should at least have a rough outline. For example, the idea is to sell this certain product. The business plan would be the strategies to sell it. Where to sell it? How to sell it? Who to sell it to? And not to mention your goals as well. Starting out, your business plan does not need to be elaborate. You will definitely have to improve on it as you go along, so do not worry! It can just be a one-page document. But you need to write down at least the following:
– Overview (What am I building?)
This should be a brief description of your company/project.
– Target Audience (Who will I serve?)
The type of people you are targeting to sell your product. These groups of people should ideally have a strong need for your product. For example, you are selling vacuum cleaners. Who will your target audience be? Housewives that need to clean their houses, perhaps.
– Vision (What is the promise I am making to my customers/clients and to myself?)
A vision is a vivid mental image of what you want your business to be at some point in the future, based on your goals and aspirations. Having a vision will give your business a clear focus, and can stop you heading in the wrong direction. A vision statement should communicate your long-term business goals, and it should reflect your view of the world and your business’s place in it.
– Steps (What are my objectives, strategies and action plans (steps) to achieve my goals? Eg. Marketing, Recruitment etc.)
These would be your concrete strategy to achieve your goals. If your goal is to hit x amount of sales in your first year, you must detail exactly how you are going to do it. How would you get word of your product out? What kind of platforms would you use to sell your product? Retail? E-Commerce? How would you spend your budget? Manpower? Marketing? These are pertinent questions you must ask yourself in the business plan.
Now that you have written down all of these, you have a business plan! Remember. It is extremely important that you have one. If you do decide to pitch to potential investors, it is crucial to them that you have an executable plan. To decide if you need an investor, you have to look at your budget. How much money do you need to spend to set up the company, develop the product, bring it to market. If you find yourself lacking in funds, you either need to adjust your business plan, or bring on investors.