Your Business Plan is Your Path to Success

Your Business Plan is Your Path to Success

A business plan will provide you with a focused path, which ultimately saves you from spending your valuable time, money & energy on the wrong things AND maximizing your profits.

Every single ounce of time, money & energy spent on building your business should directly relate back to your plan. If not, it’s often at the root of why you aren’t reaching your desired results.

Having a business plan means you will make the most of the valuable resources that are available to you. In return you can build the business of your dreams.

Who needs a business plan?

I work with solopreneurs, medium-sized businesses, non-profits and educational groups, and a business plan is ALWAYS at the core of their success.

A business plan can seem overwhelming to create. I get it. But it will be needed in different circumstances. This will also vary between what your actual needs are.

If you need to borrow money or get investors, the use of a business plan is necessary. In order to get the funds that you will need the plan must include a business proposal that includes a detailed plan, with a strategy of how you will proceed in becoming a successful business.

If you are not looking for funding, you will not need such a detailed plan, but you will still need one in order to track your business goals and success. Although you may not need to borrow any money, you should consider your time and energy as part of your investment. This is actually more valuable then what you would have borrowed from someone else as you can never get that back.

Many solopreneuers may not feel like a “business”, so they skip over this important step. They can use their plan to focus on their fastest route to income and have time for other life priorities.

If you are looking for people to help your organization grow, your plan will also show why it is a wise investment of their time.

For example, an educational organization asked me about tactics for Twitter and Facebook in my workshop on social media strategies. They are in the middle of a rebrand and change of direction, so the solution is to focus on their business plan first.

They may not think of themselves as a “business”, but they are looking for funding sources and strategic partnerships, so a “business plan” will show their value and how their target will get a return on their investment of time and money.

To ease their planning overwhelm, their limited time should be invested in their strategic business plan first. This will guide them in their marketing plan, which is the outreach needed to meet the goals in the business plan.

Your business plan can (and should) be fluid

With your business plan you can make adjustments along the way. You can write a new plan or update your plan as needed. If you find that you are heading in the wrong direction, go back to the business planning phase and course correct. Taking a step back often moves your business forward.

Your business plan will help determine if your business is a good idea. Your business plan will grow and change as your business evolves and due to different circumstances your plans may need to be adjusted. By doing this you will also be able to determine what has worked in the past and what strategies can be used in the future.

You can use your business plan as a formula for success.

Here is a list of key elements (in a recommended order) that will be needed in order to make your online or offline business a success:

1. Business Model

A business model will give detailed information on how your business will make a profit. Many times it’s overwhelming to create your business plan because you are trying to map out MULTIPLE models at once. Focus on ONE THING—your fastest route to income—implement it, then add others over time.

2. Financial Forecast And Budget

With your financial forecast you will be able to predict how much your business is expected to make. You will also need to make a monthly budget that will give details on how much it will cost to run your business and what profit you will expect to make. I see many small businesses operating without this, running up debt on credit cards, home equity lines or cashing out investments. This is the fastest route to failure! Your forecast can be as simple as tracking things in an Excel file.

3. S.M.A.R.T. Business Goals

Your business model is the direction you are going, and this will be reached in many, many small steps. I recommend using S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and measurable in short time frame. Focus on what you can do today, this week or this month. Repeat over and over.

4. Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

A marketing analysis will be created to determine your target audience, what they are looking for and how your product or service solves their problem. This will determine what will make your business unique from other businesses and compel your target audience to buy from you instead of your competition.

5. Marketing Plan

A marketing plan will give you a timeline of when certain events in your business will take place and what marketing tactics you will use, along with a strategy to make those events a reality. The marketing tactics you select are based on your business plan and goals, so you MUST have those in place first. You’ll want to know your USP before reaching out to your target audience with marketing. Otherwise, you’ll be working hard and heading nowhere.

6. Action Plan

If you don’t IMPLEMENT the plans you make, you’ll never have success. I have seen many great ideas fail simply because people spend too much time TALKING about what they are going to do, and little time actually doing it (or hiring help!) Your action plan will determine what types of strategies you will use in order to reach your goals, as well as how you will organize and what steps you will take to make your business a success.

TAKE ACTION: Get help to figure out your custom strategy & implement the steps.

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