If you got here you probably already decided to start your own business, so CONGRATS! Now we want to help you make this process easier and more productive for you, so you can achieve all of the objectives you’ve defined for making your project grow.
If you already have an idea and the motivation to start, you’re probably ready to start. But not so fast! Your business’ success will depend on the planning and organization you put in from the beginning, and that’s why we recommend you to design your own business plan before getting started.
Have you already heard about the business plan? Whatever your answer is, in this article we are going to guide you through the steps so you understand what is it, what’s its objective, how it is built and what advantage can it bring to your business during the whole process. Don't you worry! It may seem a little bit complex but we promise you it is easier than you think, and the best thing is that it's going to help you achieve all of the objectives you’ve defined for your business. We’ll give you some clues so that you begin to familiarize yourself with the subject: objectives, goals, strategies, organizational structure, target, competitors, resources, solutions… these and many others, let’s discover them together!
At the end of this article you will be able to:
- Identify the key elements of a business plan
- Identify in the easiest way the path to follow to initiate your business
- Understand better your business structure
- Have a clearer, more detailed and more complete vision of what is it that you need to start your business
- Turn your ideas into concrete actionable plans
- Establish some solutions to solve any potential problem in the future
- And most importantly… you’ll be ready to start working on your dream!
Don’t you miss out this article: How to start your business in 6 steps. PTE PUBLICAR BLOGS INGLÉS.
Let’s start with the main question here: What exactly is a business plan?
A business plan is a formal document of a company where they establish the most important aspects to take into account in order to make it work as expected throughout an specific, actionable and successful action path defined that guides all the people involved to the achievement of common goals. It is necessary to have all of the information regarding your idea, your expectations, objectives and plans to be able to define actionable aspects that ultimately add value when starting your own business.
This document should work as an ever evolving guide for you and your team, so that everyone is always aligned regarding the actions needed to achieve the common goals, and their role in making it happen.
Why should you design a business plan?
You may now probably have an idea on the importance of this document. However, we want to leave a reminder before moving forward, so you are clear about why is it so important to have a Business Plan for your project:
- It will work as a roadmap for you and your teamwork.
- It will give you a clear image of the market and the competition.
- It will help you understand the overall coherence of the project.
- It will give you an idea on the resources and actions needed to make your project real.
- It will make it easier for you to communicate your idea to all of the stakeholders: partners, customers, and other people who may be also interested.
- It will allow you to build a clearer vision for the future of your project.
Now we can continue… What are the key elements on a business plan?
Every business plan must have at least the following elements in order to help the project work well and grow:
- Product or service description
- Market analysis
- Competition analysis
- Organizational structure
- Marketing Plan
- Sales Plan
Does it sound familiar to you? Let’s dig deeper into each of these elements so you can better understand what do we mean.
There are some who say that everything is already invented… but can be nothing further from reality! There’s always some new, easier or better way to make things happen, and you probably already found one of those opportunities out there. So, what’s that gap you found in the market? How is your solution the right one to solve it? What’s the better approach you can take to solve that opportunity based on your product or service idea?
It is mandatory that you have all of the answers to these questions, as this is the basis from which you should develop your strategies so that everything makes sense and fits well according to your idea.
Product or service description
Once you’ve defined the opportunity you have to analyze with detail the characteristics of your product or service. How is your solution the best way to approach the opportunity identified? What makes your product or service attractive so that people choose it over the rest to approach their needs? What do you have to take into account to be able to place your product in the market?
This is a key element to your business development. You need to know who do you wanna reach with your product or service in order to align all of your strategies and get to those people desired, in the right moment and with the right solution for each of them. Maybe the right people for your product are men between 25-55 years old, living in your same city, interested in cooking, reading or writing. Take the time to know your ideal customers, who they are, what they do, what are their interests, where can you contact them… It is by knowing this information that you will be able to design and implement effective strategies that will allow you to reach them and attract them to your business.
A useful tool for discovering your ideal target is Google. You can look for the companies that offer products or services related to your solutions. Pay attention to who they are talking to, which language they use, which graphic pieces, who they are trying to reach through their communication efforts. And of course, if you want to be more precise, you can always use surveys or interviews to better get to know your customers and more accurately define their profiles.
Once you define your target, you need to understand the general context of that market and identify your customer’s needs inside of that specific group. You must understand how your products or services respond to their specific needs. Discover your market size, analyze how big it is, how much it grows and how quickly. This will allow you to see more clearly the size of your opportunity and align your actions based on your discoverings regarding the market. Besides, it is vital for you to discover which could be those entry barriers you could face in the way and how to prepare to overcome them.
Do you already know who your competition is? If not, start now. You need to know how they are doing it, why it works the way they do, and if you could do it even better than them. Recognize what is it that makes your business unique and how it differentiates from the competitors. Understand their strengths and weaknesses to stand out from them.
Are you thinking about having a partner, or doing it by yourself? It’s vital to define the roles needed since the beginning of your project. Who are you going to welcome to your team? What are going to be their functions? Who’s gonna do what? You will probably prefer do start by your own, but it is important to identify if maybe in the future you will need some help from other people who may have more experience in some specific areas needed to keep developing your business. Remember that it is crucial knowing how to work in teams and how to effectively lead others to make your company work as best as possible. Here we will recommend you to be realistic, analyze which functions you are able to meet and which other may be better to let off in other people’s hands.
By this point you already know the opportunity, your ideal target, the products or services that will allow your customers meet their needs, and you have the information from the market. Now it is time to define how you are going to reach your customers so they know you and feel attracted to acquire your products or services. Here is essential that you identify in which channels they tend to make transactions similar as the ones they would be doing with you. Do they go to a physical store? Do they search in google at first? Do they look for help in blogs or recommendations from friends and family? All of this information will give you a clue on how and where to reach them. This way you will be able to define and execute the ideal marketing strategies to find them and bring them to your business.
Did you already define your ideal pricing strategy? Are you willing to offer some discounts, promotions or incentives in order to boost your sales? Through which channels will you be selling your products or services? In this part you will need to define all of these key points to better understand and establish how your sales process is going to work so that your overall strategy works well and sales start rising as you expect it.
So far you already gathered a lot of valuable information that will guide you to continue designing your strategy. At this point you will know if you may need some machinery, workforce, software, printed or digital material, etc. to implement everything you have planned. Be cautious on defining the resources you will need and remember to include them on your budget plan.
You may also be interested in this article: 4 platforms to have your own online store: https://www.cosmeticosalpormayor.com/blogs/creciendo-con-tu-negocio-de-cosmeticos/porque-tener-tu-propia-tienda-online
If you don’t wish to fail in the attempt, you have to be very careful and responsible with the planning of your expenses. Many people get excited and start spending a lot of money early on and then run out of money in the middle of the process. Don’t let this happen to you! Since day 0 start paying attention to the different expenses that may arise and make a detailed monthly plan for the first year of your business.
Once you have it clear, make a sales estimation, we know it can be a little difficult to predict but with some possible scenarios you may be able to see the sales level you’ll need to reach in order to cover up the expenses you're considering.
Is there anything in particular that may arise in the market that may put at risk your business? Make a list of the possible contingencies that may develop along your business process so you can find a way to mitigate their risks and come up with ideas to overcome them.
Now, you already know the key elements you should take into consideration when starting your business. Now you may be probably wondering, where do I start first?
We know it is a lot of information, but we’re also sure that when taken in consideration and well organized, it can definitely help you meet your business objectives as you will be able to better understand and organize everything needed to carry out the project. So get now to work! Take pencil and paper and start writing down all of the ideas that make up your business. You can brainstorm, it doesn't need to be something structured. Just let ideas flow, everything you imagine and expect from your dreamed business and don-t let anything escape away from you!
Once you have this brainstorm, start to organize the ideas, classify them and give them a place inside the business plan we just saw in here. As you start doing it, more ideas will start coming up and you can add them along the process. Remember to share your plan with other people who may give you a different perspective, to make sure you're taking into account all of the important stuff.
What 's next?
Once you start implementing your business plan, remember to keep constantly checking it and updating it. Usually these business plans tend to be forgotten and this may lead to loose the company focus. This is why we recommend to keep updating it as required through time.
Now you’re ready to start working on making your dream come true!