So, you have a business idea. Perfect! Now you want to put it into action. But how? You need a plan. A business plan. This is especially true if you will be seeking investors to get your idea off the ground. Most investors want to see that you have a plan (a good one) before they’ll invest. A business plan is how you will present your idea formally. You may decide you want to work on it yourself or get someone professional. If you decide to work on it yourself, here are a few tips to get you going.
1. Be clear about what the business is offering.
Whatever product or service you decide to offer, be clear and consistent. After reading your business plan, a reader shouldn’t be left unclear about what it is that your business is offering. Remember, you are marketing your product/service. If you aren’t able to successfully convey what that is, you won’t be able to market it successfully.
2. Plan your business structure
Make sure to think about and include how you’ll be structuring your business. You don’t want fumble around, getting by on a whim. Think about whether your business will be mobile or not, online or not, etc. It’s best to employ the use of a business model to do this. It will also be a plus to attracting potential investors as they will feel more confident you won’t just be making it up as you go. Remember, no investor is looking to lose money due to bad planning.
3. Identify your target market
You should have an idea of whom will be most likely to want or need your product/service. Once you have identified whom you will market to, you’ll have a clearer picture on the how to reach them. For example, if you are selling cell phone cases, your target market is likely to be adolescents and young adults. You must, therefore, position yourself to be seen by this group, ie, social media or hang out spots.
4. Come up with a marketing strategy.
No matter how great the product/service being offered, if no one knows your offering it, you’ll go nowhere. You will need to plan a way to advertise and market the business. There are multitudes of avenues, from traditional advertising to come up with your own creative route. Whichever you decide to go with, make sure you have put some real thought in it. You can adjust it as you go along and your needs or variables change.
5. Assess your competition and identify your competitive advantage
The things that will most set your business apart from others offering the same product/service, are what provides you with a competitive edge. Whether that is a unique product/service, or simply the way it is offered, if you are able to identify it and use it to your advantage from the beginning, you’re already moving ahead. To include this in your business plan is to provide the reader (and yourself) with the information and to highlight how you will be using this advantage to your success.