Whatever your business, creating a business plan is essential at the start, to focus your attention on the optimum business direction. It is easy to get distracted in the early stages, before anything is straightened out, and when there are a lot of options, a trap that some people fall into is analysis paralysis – where there are too many decisions to make so you end up doing nothing at all.
Photo credit: taking your business to the next level
but in this post I want to share the items to consider to form your first business plan for an SME – a small to medium sized business.
1. Executive summary. This is a short paragraph on the overall business – sum up your offer and your plans. It may be helpful to write this part last on your business plan.
2. The market. What are you selling or what service are you providing? What solution are you offering? Who is your target market? What is your current competition?
3. Operations. How are you actually going to do what you aim to do? Cover marketing, sales, logistics and evaluation so you can measure your success. Also consider management and staffing of the business.
4. Financial plan. What are your startup costs? What money do you have? What do you need? Do you need equipment? For example, JLA supplies laundry equipment to hotels, care homes, spas etc – and equipment costs like these should be factored in. Produce financial forecasts for the next three years and consider ‘what if’ scenarios (for example if your sales are lower than projected).
5. The future. Decide on several key objectives as your goals to hit. Outline exactly when you want to read these targets and create a step by step action plan for them.
What is your dream business? I’d love to know – share in the comments!