Over the past couple of years I have met a good number of women with new businesses but the biggest thing most of them had in common was a lack of a business plan.
They have a business idea and were putting themselves out there by attending networking events but few of them had a business plan, a marketing plan, knew who their target market was, had any form of online presence and any concept of what business would entail.
They naturally had great, big dreams and were excited to dive in to realize those dreams.
According to the Government of Canada website “In 2013, the total number of SME births was 78,430, compared with 83,240 deaths, which resulted in a net decrease of 4,810 businesses.”
That means that more businesses failed than were started in 2013. That’s pretty scary!
There could be any number of reasons that some of them failed but according to a 2015 Financial Post article: “three in five SBOs started without any kind of business plan.”
I get it! We get laid off and have dreams, bills to pay, maybe a family to care for so we rush in. I am just as guilty! I get so excited about my projects that I dive in head first then have to step back to plan once I’ve hit a wall.
If you want to succeed you should take that step back to plan too.
Your business plan may take a while to create but it is a wealth of information to guide you through the waters of entrepreneurship.
So what sort of information goes in to a business plan?
- The under workings of your business.
- The opportunity.
- The logistics.
- Now this one is all about finances.
This includes the business form (eg sole-proprietorship, partnership and so on), who will manage the company, what other service providers you use (eg accountant, designer, etc…) and how all of those involved are able to support the business into success.
What are you offering and how does it serve people? Who are the people you are trying to help?
Who are your competition and how are you different?
This is a big section. The research here should be extensive on both your target market and your competition. Don’t stop until you feel you are clear in these areas. These sections will allow you to see clearly whether or not your business meets enough of a demand to succeed.
Where will you work? Who will you need to help you? Do you need larger facilities? Special equipment?
This one is probably the hardest!
Some people will be able to create a business model with enough knowledge and research to predict sales and others will have no clue.
This section is mainly important if you are requesting a grant or loan. It is good to have some concept of monetization for your business though.
Unless you are requesting funding you won’t necessarily need or have all of this information right away. A business plan isn’t a final document, it should grow and change with you and your business.
Leave in room for set backs and breaks to reclaim your sanity!
But even as you conduct the research you will likely find a lot of really helpful information.
Do the planning and be one of the businesses that makes it in to success instead of bottoming out.
Just to help you out I’ve attached a link below to download my business plan outline. You can create a simpler one if you aren’t looking for funding or don’t have all the information you need to complete this one yet.