Have you ever looked at what you are doing and thought about why those steps are necessary? Do you come up with an idea to do things better, but never dared venture into making these dreams a reality? Then you are in the basket with so many other entrepreneurs, bursting with thoughts and hopes they are too scared to reach for.
I was in the very same place too! I was crippled by the ideas of financial projections, legalities of starting a business - and the startup venture as a whole. However, what I discovered is that all you need to do is take the first step. After all, you miss all the chances you do not take - so why not just take them? And the first step towards the job you have always dreamed about is a business plan. Today, I share what I have learned about creating a business plan for your dream job and how it can make your entrepreneurial life much more comfortable.
A business plan is an essential building block of your business
I have come to realize that setting up a good business plan is just like creating a foundation of a house - just for your business. It is the basis on top of which you can build everything else. But it can also serve as a blueprint, a guide towards what you want to achieve - and a model that you can change if there is something not working right.
This is why you will want to be careful with your business plan. I have found that I am often tempted to just throw onto paper everything that pops in my mind. However, I discovered that being more reserved with planning your business will often help. You will want to put only the primary, general ideas there. Sometimes, even a one-page business plan will do the trick! What is the main reason for this?
Ensure your business plan is flexible
If you think that you cannot start a business with only one page, you would be wrong! What's more, doing it this way will offer you impeccable flexibility, which is quite essential these days. This means that, once you have a short business plan, changing things around can be relatively easy. All you need to do is take an hour each week, go through your plan, and touch upon it in a way that suits your current agenda.
By doing so, you can accommodate any new business trends and quickly respond to changes that are happening in the business world. Take the most recent shake-up for an example - the COVID-19 crisis. The virus pushed a huge part of the workhouse into working remotely. Only those with a highly flexible business plan were able to accommodate this problem and come out on top.
Now imagine that you have a 50-page long document detailing every step of your business. Then, imagine having to revisit it each week. You would need to go through the whole thing, then consider it as a whole and change things around. After that, you will want to pour over smaller details and adjust those for precision. Even the thought of it is making me tired - let alone doing it on a weekly basis!
So what should I put in my business plan?
It can be quite easy to talk about making your business plan short. However, when it comes to actually putting this to practice, does it come up short? What should go into a business plan (and what should stay out) while still keeping it highly successful? This is what I have discovered.
Usually, a business plan is supposed to start with the summary of your business - an elevator pitch, if you may. This way, you can hook the readers in - which you want to do with a business plan for potential investors and shareholders. Therefore, the end of the business plan should be the financial statements. But what goes in the middle?
Well, this will mostly depend on your business. The plan you create will not be the same as the plan I create because our ideas - and therefore, our businesses - will not be the same. This is why I highly encourage you to research your niche and apply some ideas that you run into. However, some of the most general things I've seen in business plans are:
- Your plans, goals, and projections for a certain time period. This includes your sales, the market share, the revenue, and profit you will reap.
- If you include the first item, then you also need to have a way to reach these goals. Write it down in your business plan along with the data that will back this up. This is the part you will most likely change if things just do not go your way.
- You can also include some background information about your team or your business as a whole. These can, for example, be lists of board members, employees - or people you would like to hire.
- The model of your business should also be in your plan somewhere. These are the projections you have about your financial needs and the expectations of profit you might have.
- Some people will also include an "exit strategy" into their business plan. This is the plan for selling your ownership, and can often give you clarity when you target exit companies - however, pessimistic it may sound.
See how your potential employees measure up to your business plan
There is one more thing that creating a business plan will help you do, and this is to screen potential employees. One of the things you might want to put in your business plan is your brand - the way you will present your company to the market. When interviewing new people for the office, you will want to hire those whose goals and visions align with yours. Otherwise, you can cause discord and discontent throughout the office. This is another way in which a business plan can easily help shape up your startup and turn it into a well-oiled machine.