Looking for a sign to turn your hobby or side gig into a fully-operating company? Here’s one: 2020 is gone and 2021 is here – enough said! Regardless of what anyone thinks about 2020, now is the time to write that business plan and get your business off and running.
We know you’ve had an idea and/or dream that would require you to launch a new business. We also know that there are many roadblocks that present themselves alongside that idea or dream. Oftentimes, the biggest roadblocks are in our minds as we second-guess or question the likelihood of success. In our experience, the hardest part is just getting started, due to these questions and doubts. One thing is for sure, however: the idea or dream will never come to fruition if you don’t get started. So what are you waiting on? Let’s go!!!
In getting started it’s important to start with a written business plan. While no two businesses are alike, even if they offer the same goods or services, anyone hoping to run a fully-operational company must create a blueprint of sorts to map out some details of your plan. What many hopeful entrepreneurs may not know is that creating a (starter) business plan is not that hard at all. Here’s how to write your business plan in 10 easy-peasy steps:
- Executive Summary. If you plan to seek funding, it’s a good idea to show what your business-to-be is all about, through a mission or vision statement and a brief overview describing your product or service.
- Market Analysis. Here is where you show how serious you are, by assessing your target market and providing research-based details about your intended industry. What do they need, and how can you meet that need?
- Company Description. This section should provide fully-detailed information about what your company is all about, and how it will stand out — especially if your intended industry is oversaturated. You should also mention what audience your product or service speaks to. If you have previous experience with the product or service, mention it here. (No experience? Scroll to step 9 now, and thank me later.)
- Organization. List the number of employees you plan to hire, if any (and when), list who will be in charge of which departments, and list how a typical workday would flow. Here is where you want to show how organized your company will be.
- Products or Services. Get into the nitty gritty of what you would like to sell. Again, show why your product or service is unique; what sets your brand apart from the others? Don’t be shy, here. Why are you great?
- Request for Funding. Realistically ask for an amount that will get you up and running. Keep in mind operating expenses, marketing budgets and employee compensations. (Asking for one million dollars without a breakdown of allocation is probably not going to work out for you.)
- Financial Projections. Here is where you outline your financial projection for the next 3 to 5 years. You’ll want to include future expenses and revenues. This is why steps 2 and 10 are so important.
- Appendix. To show you literally mean business, use this section to include charts, letters of recommendation, and other documentation.
- Get some experience. Most people have an idea for a business, but, according to the SBA, one in 12 businesses close each year (outside of a pandemic). Many entrepreneurs have no idea of what they’re getting into. So, volunteer. Create focus groups. Operate like a business among your friends and family before opening one. This will help you to better understand your intended industry, and decide if entrepreneurship is a fit for you.
- Secure an attorney and accountant. Many feel that they should wait until they start making money before seeking the assistance and support of an attorney and accountant. This is completely false. A good attorney will at least help you establish the business properly and create contracts that will keep your business healthy and protected. At most the attorney will be your connection to other professionals and resources that will help you start strong. An accountant will help ensure that the financial side of your business (even before there are any finances) is built and managed on a strong foundation. These two team members should be secured from the outset.
It’s time to start this year off with a bang! Today is the day to get it going! Are you in? If so, commit to beginning these steps today!!!