Do You Have a Plan?
Posted Monday, November 8, 2004
Writing a business plan for a home based business is every bit as important as writing a business plan for a conventional outside the home business. The lack of a concrete plan can be linked to many businesses failing before they realize their goals.
There are numerous software programs available online for creating business plans or you may want to consult an attorney or accountant. However, if you intend on doing it yourself there are some general guidelines for you to follow.
So Just What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a document that you create to determine what type of business you intend to run and how it will become profitable. You can think of it as a recipe to ensure your profitability. A business plan should be a list of strategies (ingredients) you use to become a successful home business owner.
Writing out your Business Plan.
Get yourself a loose-leaf binder or notebook, a pencil, and get to work. You will find that you will be writing and erasing a lot of information as you start to think about your business plan. The actual number of pages is up to you, but you want to be as thorough as possible when writing your plan. Most business plans run anywhere between 15-20 pages. Remember this is your business and you want to make it successful, so keep writing until you get tired, and then write another page! You don’t need to finish it all in one day, but if you are on a roll then keep going, those answers may not be there tomorrow.
General Guidelines for Writing a Business Plan.
Listed below are some general guidelines to use when putting your business plan down to paper. These guidelines are by no means a definitive list, just suggestions for getting you started with writing a business plan for your home business. Note: If you are trying to raise money from investors or trying to secure a loan through a bank, your business plan will differ from writing a business plan for a self funded business.
You will write about what your business is all about. Your products and/or service and how it relates to the marketplace.
Play the name game:
Obviously you will need to pick a name for your business, if you have not already done so, the name should be relevant to what product or service you are promoting. Use search engines to do a check for similar products and services, so you do not duplicate the domain name of another online/offline business. Your name should be brand-able with your product or service.
This should describe what your business stands for. What about your business is unique in comparison to your competition. How does your product and/or service help your customers.
Goals with Vision:
Here you need to clearly define your goals for the success of your business. Make short and long term goals. Set time frames and set goals with vision, how do you want your business to look in 5 years, 10 years, etc.
Clearly define whom your clients and competition will be. You will need to look at foreseeable changes in your chosen industry in the future, whether it be with new technology or new opportunities to grow your business. Research and networking is the key to finding out how your business may change, if at all.
Probably the most important page in your business plan! Here is where you will write about your sales and marketing strategies for building your successful home business. You will have to create a marketing plan that includes online and offline promotion strategies for building your client base.
A few home businesses operate without a budget, however when you get that visa statement at the end of the month and find out your broke, then you will have a problem. Clearly a budget is just good business practice and makes sense. You will need to break it down to what’s coming in and what’s going out. Some important information that should be included in your financial plan are: Advertising costs on a monthly basis. Cost analysis to produce your product and/or service. Cost of getting your product and/or service to your customers. Expected cash flow to be received (sales during that period) Dates of expected pay outs. You need to make sure you keep up with any payments you may have such as hosting fees for your website, auto responder fees, etc.
As stated earlier, this is a general guideline to writing a business plan. Doing research and consulting with others is good way to find out what types of information you should include in your business plan. Good luck!
Copyright 2004 Dirk Wagner
About the Author
Dirk Wagner is CEO and owner of (http://team4success.biz) and the free, easy to install #1 home business toolbar with automated updates.A website dedicated to helping the home-based business entrepreneur start and succeed with there very own home-based business.