Great Business plan "Quick Start"

Let’s start with the basics: What is a Business Plan? 
While you might have a great idea for a business of your own, chances are there are simply too many factors to keep track of in your head.


That’s why it’s important to write them down and, hence, to formalize your business goals and methods for building the business. This will orient you as you develop the first stages of your business and will allow you to convey your plan to others plainly and simply. The need to clearly share your plan with others very important because, even if you are a sole proprietor (single-person business owner), you may still need to talk to banks, financial advisors, lawyers, or potential investors about your business.


A well-written and comprehensive business plan will give them the information they need and inspire them to trust you and, hopefully, invest in you as well. Who Needs a Business Plan? This is a trick question because everyone needs a business plan, no matter which field or industry you wish to enter. A new startup company needs a business plan.


An established business that’s looking to expand needs a business plan. If you are in the world of business and strive to be successful, a business plan is always essential. “There are so many options when it comes to starting a business, including the size, location, and, of course, the reason for existence,” note the experts at Entrepreneur Magazine in their book entitled “Write Your Business Plan. “You'll be able to determine all of these and so many more aspects of business with the help of your business plan. It forces you to think through all of the areas that form the main concept to the smallest details.


This way, you don’t find yourself remembering at the last minute that your website still isn't developed or that you still have most of your inventory in a warehouse and no way to ship it.” You will find that, as a business owner, the business plan that you create in the beginning is helpful throughout the extent of your organization’s operations.


Your plan will grow and develop as your company grows and develops. Remember that a business plan lays out goals and the methods for achieving them; you will continually modify your business plan as your company realizes its goals and as priorities change.


Why Write a Business Plan?
First and foremost, research has shown that prospective business owners are
two-and-a-half times more likely to actually go into business if they take the time to write a business plan. With only that statistic in mind, you can easily discern that writing a plan is time well spent if you’re serious about reaching your entrepreneurial goals. Why is this statistic true?
Those who take the time to write business plans have proven that they are willing to take the extra steps necessary to get their business off to a good start. Business plans are used for a variety of reasons, but one of their main purposes is to show potential investors your business’ overall goals and strategies. Investors like to see all of your research in one neat and tidy document.


They like knowing that you’ve done ample research and have the ability to follow through with that research. Many business owners will tell you that writing a business plan was an essential step during the initial stages of business development because it helped to organize their thoughts before meeting with investors and making major business decisions.
A well-written business plan acts as a template to guide decisions and conceptualization through a checklist of important items.


When addressing these items mentally it can be easy to overlook developmental concerns such as marketing strategy and operational finances, start-up costs, business management, and organization.


Thinking through all of these individual details during the development and conceptualization phase of your plan will take the larger concepts and focus them into specific areas of interest.


Writing a business plan is a proven positive guide for getting your business off the ground and taking it from the drawing board to the boardroom. It’s even required by many investors. When Should I Write My Business Plan?
Every time you think about your potential business and jot down details you wish to recall at a later time, you’re contributing to your eventual business plan. As a matter of fact, you may already have much of it written though it’s not yet in “plan” form.


Now, as you get ready to do things such as look for partners or investors, find a location (if needed), choose a business entity, and hire managers or employees, it’s time to collect all those notes and formalize your plan. Tim Berry of Entrepreneur describes a business plan as a work in progress and notes that, even though you may need to show it to others eventually, it is first for YOU and no one else.


Do it because it helps you divide and manage big goals into practical steps,” he explains. “Instead of looking at it as a document, think of your business plan as a place on your computer where you collect ideas, useful stories, lists and numbers.
It's a place where you keep track of the market, your milestones, goals and projections.


1 That said, if you’re seeking a less ethereal answer as to when to put your collection into a well-written document, experts say that you should do it when you’re ready to take those ideas and make them real; when you’re willing to invest money and time in all those things you wrote down on the tablet by your bed or in the “notes” section of your iPhone. It’s that simple. You can also use your business plan to watch how your business progresses throughout the first weeks, months and years.


This establishment of goals acts as a baseline to which you will compare your actual results. If you project that your company will have certain profits by the end of a quarter or that you will have so many employees, you can check those things against your business plan.
This demonstrates the dynamic nature of business goals and statements of goals.


As goals are met and new challenges appear, business owners, managers, and decision makers must be both proactive and responsive to changing conditions.


How Long Should My Business Plan Be?
Overall, business plans should be direct and concise. They should be straightforward, well-organized, and not convoluted. You will find that it’s easier to present a well-written business plan to investors and others, and as an organizational tool it will be easier to revisit if it’s well-written. Here are a few tips to making your business plan as effective as possible. Consider using shorter sentences.


Long sentences don’t necessarily impress. Generally, anyone other than you who might be reading your plan probably won’t read every word. They’ll skim.
Skimming is easier with short, concise sentences. If your sentences are too long or complicated, the reader might miss key concepts.


Avoid using acronyms, jargon or other words that are only familiar to those in your field . If you feel that you need these terms in your plan, explain them briefly.
You can’t always assume that your readers know what you know. If you’re presenting the plan face-to-face, offer to respond to questions at the end of the presentation of your business plan to clear up any ambiguities, or periodically break up your presentation with opportunities for questions.


For technically-complex topics, consider including a glossary of terms at the end of each section, if you deem it necessary. Use bullet points for lists. Visual organization of information will help your readers stay focused and help to emphasize the most important items for review.


Well-defined sections, a comprehensive index, and other organizational tools will help your reader easily search throughout the document to find information again and again as needed. If your business plan is conveyed digitally, consider using hyperlinks throughout the document to connect concepts or allow readers to jump to definitions of technical terms.


When using bulleted lists, avoid compiling a bare list. Using sub-bullets or explanatory paragraphs below will answer questions before they are asked and will send the message that you have considered every detail.
This is especially important when conveying goals, strategies, or product features.


Keep it short. Today’s average business plan is approximately forty pages long.
You will need approximately 20-30 pages of regular text for all the necessary sections of the business plan and then about ten pages of appendices. More about that will be addressed later, but it’s important to note that if your business plan extends to more than 40 pages long, it’s worth another review as there is probably extraneous material that can be eliminated.
Graphics are the exception.


When you add lots of graphics to your business plan, it can add length, of course.
If this happens, don’t fret. You can still use the forty-page rule; just see how it measures without the graphics. Graphics can include pictures of your product(s), possible locations, menus, floor plans, and logos.
All of these can be very useful and readers often find them interesting.


Charts can do the same thing.
Consider bar graphs or pie charts that enhance the content. Flowcharts, maps of workflow, and any other relevant visual aids should be used. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more applicable. Using neat and well-formed graphics will inform your audience quickly and effectively and will increase the ease with which your plan is shared.


Choose your font wisely.


Perhaps this goes without saying, but use a very readable font that is a normal standard. You can change the font for your headings or for graphics, but a best practice is to stick to only two different fonts for your entire document. Keep it simple; keep it readable. Perhaps this also goes without saying as well, but use spellcheck and proofread before you print your final draft. If grammar and punctuation aren’t your strong point, have a friend or colleague review your plan.


Make sure to double-check your numbers, too.
This is something that an outside proofreader can’t check; it’s your responsibility! You wouldn’t want to be embarrassed when your figures don’t add up. A small oversight can have disastrous ramifications for your presentation and, therefore, your loan. Hopefully, we’ve addressed some of your initial questions and concerns about business plans. It’s important that you feel confident about writing your business plan before you get started.
Make sure you are organized as you go into the construction portion of your plan; build an outline and stick to it.


2: Do Your Homework (Due Diligence) Before you (finally) get started writing your own business plan, there’s some homework to do.
This is the part of the construction process in which you tackle research and exploration. Once you have collected all pertinent information, you can begin to outline your goals and objectives. Here are some important points to research as you do your homework.


Research Your Potential Markets Start to think about and analyze who is actually going to use the products and/or services that you will be offering.
This shouldn’t be a “guesstimation”. You should actually hit the proverbial pavement and conduct real interviews, collect data, and ask questions of people to whom you will be selling.

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One of the most important questions you must ask yourself when you begin to formulate your business ideas is whether or not there is a market for your product or service in your area. Hopefully, the answer to this question is “yes”.


If you truly believe there may not be a market for your product in your area, but you’re still passionate about opening your business, you might need to consider relocating. But first, take some time to think outside the box, because usually with a little creativity there is a market for just about anything. It just needs to be presented in the right way and you might need to market your products or service differently.


Alternately, if you were set on opening a bricks-and-mortar location but think that perhaps it won’t succeed, you could opt to change your business model to an e-commerce-based design.


This provides the flexibility to sell from anywhere to everywhere and does not limit you geographically.
Of course, however, not every model can be brought online.
After you have determined that there is in fact a market for your product or service, further follow-up questions will be necessary. Seek answers about local demographics including age groups, gender, ethnicities, and economic populations.


Compile this data so you can easily access it later when you write your business plan or whenever the need arises. If researching your target demographic becomes a brick wall for you, consider one of a number of market research services available to future business owners.


For a pre-determined price, these companies will conduct market research on your behalf. These organizations are experts in market data collection and have the resources to identify the distribution of local demographics quickly and accurately. 

If their price tag is within your budget, their information can be a tremendous asset and may make the difference between a green light on a business plan or the red light that nips a prospect in the bud. It is better to know before implementation that a project will fail than to see it through to the end with nothing to show. Market research companies aren’t cheap. 

However, a wealth of free resources exists that can help you compile similar statistics. Census data, public records, chamber of commerce studies, and independent studies exist at little or no cost to those seeking information. 

Combining public or easily-obtainable information with interviews, questionnaires, and other information-gathering techniques can answer your questions (and, therefore, the questions your investors may have) and provide a foundation for your research. Regardless of your choice in market research methods, this is one of the most important pieces of research to tackle. 

You will learn invaluable information that will guide you through the rest of the business planning process, and the data gathered here can shape the entire direction of your business.


Determine Potential Market 
Size Everyone has big dreams of becoming extremely successful. 
Those dreams aren’t impossible, but in reality you may need to start small. 

As a strong foundation is built, the scaling of operations becomes possible.
As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” 

Along with analyzing your market, you need to consider your market size and number of potential customers. Information regarding that market’s spending habits, average levels of disposable income, age, employment, and ethnicity makeup is also critically important, as we mentioned previously.


Different groups of people will behave in different ways; this is science and anthropology at its simplest. 
Understanding and predicting those behaviors allows decision makers to effectively plan their business. 

You might start out thinking that you have hundreds of thousands of potential customers, but that scale could be out of your reach at the beginning. Think of it this way: you’ve invented a new line of toothpaste – a product that everyone uses, right?


So potentially, your market size could be the entire population of the world.


That seems crazy and unthinkable now, but consider popular toothpaste brands that really do market to the entire world.


They had to start somewhere, right ?
It is possible to get there, but you need to start with a smaller market size and work your way up to larger markets.


Start with toothpaste that specifically targets one group of people, like children or people with dentures. After you’ve narrowed your market,
you can start to ask yourself more specific questions about that market group:
- How many children need toothpaste in any given community?
- How many people with dentures currently live in the United States?
- How much toothpaste do people use in the course of a month or a year?
- Who else are you competing against in the toothpaste market?
- What benefits do consumers perceive about your competitor’s offerings?
How do you compete with these features?


Note: The word ‘perceive’ is used here because consumer perception is based on a multitude of factors including but not limited to experience, advertising, preference, and brand loyalty. It is important to understand that there is no difference between customer perception and their interpretation of the reality of your brand.


You may have heard the phrase “perception is everything,” but a better statement, at least relating to consumers, is “perception is reality.”


This underscores the importance of thorough market research and the power of marketing and advertising. - Is there a substitute product, or a product that people could use instead of toothpaste?


By asking yourself these questions and similar questions, you can begin to learn where you fit into your market.


Understanding Competition
Competition between different members of the same industry or market is not always as simple as which company can produce the lowest cost goods. Think back to your own experience. There must have been a time when you were willing to spend more money in the name of quality.




When you purchased your cellphone, price may not have been the only factor. Features such as speed, memory size, and ease of use may have enticed you to pay for a model that was not the cheapest.
This is indicative of a market with high product differentiation, a market in which a product or service is assessed for more than just price.


This is considered a value-impacted market Now think of the purchase of a product like coal or iron.


These are considered commodities, or products that have little differentiation between sources and for which price is the distinguishing characteristic. It is important to understand where your product falls in relation to both ends of this spectrum because products that are commoditized, or largely the same but differentiated by cost, require a totally different manner of thinking than products that are value-driven, or take into account features other than price. Into which quadrant does the product or service you are selling fall?
The answer is a mix of your informed opinion and the reactions of the people that you interview and poll. How do you compete?
The answer is with competitive edge. What sets your product apart from others on the market?
Is your toothpaste simply cheaper, or does it offer superior plaque and sensitivity protection?


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Business plan quick start.

Hope to see your review.
KhD

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