Sunday, May 24, 2015

Step by Step Guide to Creating an Effective Small Business Plan

Having a good small business plan will ensure that your journey to success is much smoother. All successful business owners know that having an organized, well thought plan is essential to see the results they expect. Even if the business plan doesn't give the results that you would have thought in the beginning, you can tweak and change different areas of your process to perfect it.
I thought I would go through a step by step guide to what you need for an effective small business plan. Many people try and start a business without any true expectations for the future other then 'oh this is going to work'. You have to know exactly what "should" happen so that the surprises are less. In most cases surprises in business aren't positive.

You must have a plan for many different areas of starting a small business. How are you going to fund the start up fees? How do you expect to sell your product/service? How do you expect to pay your employees? How are you going to promote your company effectively? Most importantly and what most business owners don't think about is where do you want your business to be in 5...10...20 years?
Creating the right small business plan is all about creating effective systems. A system is something that you can use over and over again in different situations to receive expected results. You at least have some idea of what's going to happen if you have the right systems in place.
The first step to your business plan is knowing exactly how much money it's going to take to start your company. None of this has to be a professionally written up small business plan that costs thousands and thousands of dollars hiring an "expert". Take out a piece of paper and write down your plan. The main thing is that you know exactly how you are going to fulfill your dream of being a successful small business owner.
So what are your opening expenses? Here are some questions you need to answer to find out your estimated dollar amount:
  • How much money does your product or service cost you?
  • How much money will you charge for your service/product?
  • How much money do you require to live for two years with no profit coming in from your business (safety precaution)?
  • How much will it cost for your employees for 2 years?
  • What are your legal fees?
  • What are your CPA fees?
  • How much will getting a physical location cost you (if needed)?
Every business is going to be different so think about anything that you need to spend money on to get it running. The next step you must consider is how are you going to get this start up money. Are you going to go to a bank for a loan? Are you considering finding a partner that can cover the costs with the agreement you can buy out the company later down the road? Do you want to talk with a wealthy family member about your business? Anyway you choose to get the money doesn't matter.
Having a thorough small business plan is going to help you get that start up money though. As long as you can show the lenders how you plan on getting a return on their investment, you will be set. It doesn't matter if you have horrible credit or don't know anybody that will lend you large amounts of money. You can always find a way. Think outside the box!
Alright the next step should be the simplest for you. You want to write down your complete sales funnel for how you plan to sell your product or service. Go through every step you expect a customer to go through to reach your bank account. What are you selling exactly? How are you packaging the items? Are you providing multiple services and products? What do you expect to be your number one seller? What's your specialty?
Once you have all these areas done, you have to know how you are going to promote your business and keep the business coming in. This seems to be the biggest problem most business owners have. You know everything there is to know about your products/services, but you know nothing about marketing. That's expected too. Marketing is an expertise in itself.
If you've read much of my blog, you know how I preach about smart marketing. Smart marketing is all about spending your hard earned dollar and getting more then you spent in return. In other words, big return on investment (ROI). Every market will be different and different marketing tactics will work in each of them. You have a huge list of options too.
  • Newspapers, Yellow Pages, Radio, Television Ads
  • Fliers, postcards, promotion coupons
  • Referral programs
  • Internet marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Holding seminars and special events
  • Business to business referral programs
These are just to name a few of the options you have. You can never go wrong working with other local businesses. It's beneficial for both businesses and can be something that explodes your business quickly. It should definitely be part of every small business plan.
No matter which direction you take your marketing in, remember to always be able to track your marketing method. You always want to know how effective each method is for your business. Don't spray and pray! In other words, don't just buy what that marketing salesman is selling you if they can't show you how many customers you are getting in return.
Creating your small business plan with all of these areas covered is a great start to having a successful business. You can go in deeper and deeper to have an even more effective plan and you should, but this is a great start for anyone. Once you have the plan, you just have to follow it step by step. It makes your job so much easier. You have too much to worry about already. There is no reason to have to constantly be wondering...'what am I going to do now?' You need to know what you're doing beforehand.
For more help with your small business plan and methods to improve your business ten fold, grab your free copy the Five Step Formula For Explosive Growth by an expert business consultant []. I show you how to turn your business into a never ending profit center with less work. You can also find more information about improving your business throughout my blog, Not Your Everyday Small Business Advice [].
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