Building Your Business Plan in 7 Easy Steps

So, you have been thinking about quitting your 9-5 to start working for yourself. Well, I have got great news, it can be done but like most things in life it won't be easy. Choosing to venture on a path of entrepreneurship is dedication, hard work and above all else, discipline. Starting your own business is decision fueled by passion, a bold choice made against constant uncertainty and doubt but fueled by a need to live the life you want to live. I’m a creative, I love being able to have a hand in creating something that not only makes a difference but reflects my personality. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be working for someone else forever. So I took the time to elevate my skills, follow my passion and build a business plan to guide me through the process. Now I work for myself full time doing what I love.

Deciding to start a business is exciting but when you actually start and get your business off the ground, it's like you get this burst of energy, and you feel like you have found your purpose in life. However, this raises a very important question, how do you start a business and make a living off it? I can answer that question in two words PLANNING and PATIENCE. Remember this is a major step to take in your life so naturally there are levels, tiers to financial independence. Now, I am not saying that you wake up one morning find something you are passionate about and just go and quit your job, that would be insane and honestly pretty reckless. Everything that you are about to partake in is apart of the process, and from this point onward you have to be willing to put in the work and create a strong blueprint for success. Before we touch base on those important steps to writing your business plan first off,

WHAT EXACTLY IS A BUSINESS PLAN?

According to The Balance Small Business, 'a business plan is a document outlining the operational and financial objectives while containing a detailed plan and budget to reach those objectives.' In other words, a business plan is a written document which provides a concise outline of what you plan to do as a business and how exactly you plan to do it. It is the often the foundation on which any successful business is built.

Once you have written your business plan, you can share your plan with your family, banks and even investors. Having a business plan is especially important when you are searching for financing for your business as people usually take you more seriously with a business plan in hand. Your business is as unique as you are, without further ado here are the steps you can take to build your very own business plan...

STEP #1 : Figure out where your passion lies...

This is the part where we dive deep into ourselves, it's time for self-reflection. You wake up everyday to go to a job, to follow the same routine, a routine that you dread more than anything else. So what would you be doing otherwise? What makes you happy? Finding out what motivates you, makes you smile, makes you feel good? What is the one thing you could wake up every single day to do that would never feel like work? Once you are able to pinpoint that one thing and it is something you want to share with the world, you have just found the biggest and most important part of your entrepreneurship journey.

STEP #2: Decide what you are selling...

Now, this doesn't just apply to those who have a business idea centered in selling physical products but rather anyone who has decided to start their own business. Here, it is a matter of putting a name to your idea. In other words, this is the stage in the process where you need to pinpoint what exactly your business will cater to. Are you selling a product or service? The biggest thing to remember at this stage and honestly for the entirety of this journey is that the idea of business revolves around meeting and fulfilling a need in society. So, you must make sure that your product or service is capable of meeting the needs of the market.

For example, consider the impact of the mobile phone, accounting services, even the internet, each of these have one thing in common, they all meet a need in our lives, in the lives of those in our communities and that my budding entrepreneurs is what your business is supposed to do, what is needs to do to be considered a viable venture. When writing down your business idea ensure that it one that is capable of being a solution to a problem.

STEP #3: Carry out industry research...

No one likes going into a new experience without some knowledge of what they are getting themselves into, the same applies with your new business. Yes, starting a business can be super exciting especially if this is your first business but with every new experience comes a new challenge so industry research is about to be your new bestfriend. Knowing all the latest trends, customer or client demands, even the feelings and opinions of the public towards businesses in your arena gives you a 'foot-up' so to speak. You will now have the information you need to make strategic decisions for you business and a guide on what to avoid and what to work on in your own business. Having significant knowledge of your industry is the key to business success and to writing your business plan.

STEP #4: Find your target audience...

Who is your perfect customer? Who do you want to buy your products or services? Figuring out your target audience is a key step in building your ideal business plan because it helps in literally every aspect of your business. From marketing to branding knowing your target audience is very important. I guess that's why it's essentially called market research.

It's about answering really important question about your audience like 'who do you want to buy your product or service?' The best way for you to conduct market research is to ask the right people their opinion on your products or services. These are the people that are going to be purchasing your product so their opinions are going to be super helpful at this point. So find out more from the people you would actually want to be a customer. In all honesty, finding your ideal target audience can be difficult but to make it that much easier for you guys, I would recommend choosing a group of people who you really want to work with before your start; maybe college students, busy moms or female business owners. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re unsure who your target audience is, I encourage you to choose a group of people you would like to work with: perhaps it’s new moms with young children, maybe it’s women business owners who make over 6 figures, it’s important to start somewhere with knowing who you would want to serve. Major tip, try not to market to everyone. Something that you need to you are doing when getting your market research done is to narrow down your niche, it will be easier to grow your business that way.

STEP #5: Who are your competitors?
Yeah, I know this must seem super weird- spying on your competition? What!!. As surprising as it seems, it is really important that you know who exactly in your market, who is selling what your are. When you are starting out, knowing who you competitors are helps you to determine whether your products or services are in demand thus validating your idea. It also is a great way to learn how to make what you are selling stand out from your competitors, how to present your idea differently. Most importantly you can really ascertain what people are willing to pay you for and what you should focus less on or just forget altogether.

STEP # 6: Determine how you will be generating income...
Ok so this part is where things get serious? You start your business to follow your passions but you also start your business to achieve financial independence. This is why pinpointing exactly how you will be generating income from your business is something you need to focus on. Are you going to be offering 1-on-1 services, group coaching? Will you be offering one specific type of product or several products within a theme? I believe that when you are a first time business owner having that one thing that generates income within your business is vital and once you do find it you should definitely expand on it. If you have other ideas you would love to pursue, write them down, add them as part of your business plan and save them for later.

Which brings us to our next step...

STEP #7: Make your Business Plan Adaptable...

If this pandemic has shown us anything, it is that we need to adapt to change. Whether it is world change or market change, your business plan needs to have room for adjustment. Things happen in life that are beyond our control but as a business owner these happenings are things we must expect so we can remain on the right track or make sudden changes to our business of necessary. Reviewing your business plan a few times each year is a great way to ensure you're business is still on track with what was initially planned. Also, if you do opt to make adjustments to your business plan be sure to update your investors and anyone who may have had a copy.

With these seven steps, you are now equipped to build a business plan capable of shocking investors and proving how serious you are about this venture. If your decision to start a business just based on that fact that your friends or family all have businesses of their own, remember someone else's success in business may not be yours. Stay true to yourself and to your purpose and do what makes YOU happy. Stay consistent with your business, you won't regret it. I believe in you all trust me you can do this!

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