You need a plan for your business. So you think about writing a business plan. But the very thought makes you shudder.
The problem is that huge, complex business plans created to satisfy banks and loan officers get equated to all business plans.
Since most small town businesses aren’t looking for bank loans or venture capital, most people never bother to create a business plan of any kind. That’s no way to run a railroad.
A business plan can be as simple as one page, or as complex as makes sense for your business.
The goal is to make it something that will help you get where you really want to go with your business. Here’s my Simplified Business Plan for the Real World.
A Simplified Business Plan for the Real World
Section 1: Your Business
Talk about your business. Try answering these questions to a friend. Make note of the questions they ask and the suggestions they make.Try to get all the answers on one page, two at the most.
- Describe your business. Give a one-sentence basic explanation, followed by a one-paragraph explanation.
- Outline the market and competition. List some existing clients, and give a one-sentence description of your ideal new clients. Who else serves them?
- What makes your business unique or special? Here are 8 ways to define your niche.
- What are your business goals? Not just dollars, but also whether you want to grow, what milestones you want to achieve, what you want to change in the world.
- Why are you the right person to do this? This is related to what makes your business special, but it’s more personal. It’s about you and your abilities.
Section 2: Your Money
You don’t need your accountant for this; I promise.
- Create revenue goals for each line of business or income stream. Start with your available activity, and base your revenue goals on that. In other words, given the amount of time you have to work, how much revenue are you likely to generate? See some examples in How to figure out your revenue goals.
- Review your business goals based on the revenue projections. Is there enough time in the day or week to get where you want to go? You might need to rethink some goals or plans. When you’re ready to go, the next step is:
- Divide your revenue goals into weekly and daily activities. Write down what you need to do every day to move yourself toward your goals. Who would have thought that working toward your goals every day might work?
Section 3: Your Reminders
Remember, one of the benefits of creating the plan is building the guide posts that help you move forward.
- Make an activity reminder you’ll see every day. This could be an index card, a Post-It, or a note in your calendar that includes all your daily activity goals.
- Make big dream reminders to keep you moving. Make a mind map, a dream board, or get a physical object that reminds you of your big goals and dreams. You need reminders for both the daily actions and the big-picture.