Every business needs a business plan. It can be short and sweet, - doesn't need to be 3 inches thick. Writing a business plan clarifies your thinking and gives you a blueprint for your day-to-day decisions. So let's do it!
If you need funding for your business you will be required to write a comprehensive business plan. Sounds intimidating, doesn't it? It doesn't have to be.
The purpose of a business plan is to spotlight your great business idea, your early results, and your promising future. These are the things you are passionate about. You just need to put them into words. You can do this.
Think about your business, or the business idea that you have, and answer these questions:
What are your products or services?
Who will buy them, and why will they buy them?
How will they get them?
What is unique about what you offer?
Who are your competitors or potential competitors? Why are you likely to succeed against these competitors?
How much money is needed to start and/or run your business? How much can you personally invest?
That's it. Really. Your answers to these questions are the basis for that comprehensive plan the bankers will want, but equally important, the answers form your plan for setting your priorities and for making day-to-day decisions for your business.
Your plan doesn't need to be set in stone. It should be a living document that you update and modify as your business develops. Just keep going back to the questions listed above and focus your answers. And never stop talking to customers and potential customers. They will tell you all you need to know about your products or services.
When it comes time to write that more comprehensive plan in order to get funding you will need at least 2-3 years of financial results for your business.
If you're just starting out, don't be informal about the money. Get Quickbooks or Quicken and track all of your sales and costs right from day one. Don't mix your personal finances up with your business. Keep them separate.
If you've been in business for a while and you've been casual about the numbers, you really need to set up a business accounting system, not only for the tax authorities, but so that you can see how your business is really doing. Get the help of an accountant if you just can't do it yourself. You don't have to be a numbers guru to be successful in business if you have the right backup help. And you'll never get funding without accurate financial statements.
If you have your own business, or if you are just starting one, you have a strategy in your head about where it will take you. Your strategy will become much clearer, more realistic, and more achievable once you've done your business plan and organized your business finances.
If it still seems intimidating and way too time-consuming (you have a business to run, after all), contact us. We can help you. Just go to the Contact button on this website.