The short answer is yes. In my opinion, every business needs a business plan. It doesn’t have to be long and complicated, but it needs to exist in a written form. It’s not good enough to have a half-formed idea, you need to get it written down. Clemson University entrepreneurship professor William B. Gartner points out, that with a business plan “You’re two and a half times more likely to get into business, that’s powerful.” Why else would you want a business plan? Let’s take a look.
A business plan is a roadmap for your success. It shows strengths, weaknesses and the potential for your business to do well. This is especially important if there are multiple people involved in the business. How do you know your partner’s idea of success is the same as yours? How can you tell if you all are moving in the same direction? The business plan gives you focus and clarity. It shows you where you want to go and gives a path to get there. Just remember, with business, detours are the rule rather than the exception so be ready for them.
If you are looking for any kind of funding you must have a business plan. I recommend being conservative with your numbers if funding is a goal of your plan. The people loaning out money have been around the block a few times and will know if your calculations are realistic or not. I have helped many businesses that thought they had billion dollar ideas, but the entire market they were entering was barely a tenth of that. Keep the end reader in mind. Would you loan money based off unrealistic numbers?
Understanding Your Market
You really can’t go into business if you don’t know the market. Who is going to buy? Why are they buying from you? How do you stack up against your competitors? These questions are essential and a business plan helps bring them out and sets you up for success.
Over the next few days, I am going to guide you through a business plan. The traditional plan, which is what I will teach, is good for most businesses and is what you want when you plan to get financing. If you need something quick and dirty, use the traditional plan as a basic sketch. Remeber, the more time you spend on your plan the less time you are putting your business on the market. A plan is important but don’t let it be the excuse for not starting.
There are several versions of this quote floating around and finding an original source ended being a lesson in futility but I like this version best. A goal without a plan is just a wish. If you want something but don’t have a plan to get it you are just wishing you had it, which is fine, but rarely gets you what you want. If you truly want to go after something come up with a plan. As you set your goals and plans use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to help you along.
- Specific – Being too general with your goals makes them harder to achieve. Make sure you break giant goals up into more specific goals.
- Measurable – If it’s not measured it’s not managed. Measuring is the only way to be sure you are making progress.
- Achievable – Do you have the resources to do it? If not you need to rethink your goal.
- Relevant – Does it apply to you and your life? Is it part of your overall ambitions and needs?
- Timely – Can it be done in a reasonable time frame. Longer-term goals are harder to accomplish, consider breaking the timeline down into smaller time frame goals.
There you have it. Out with the easily breakable New Years Resolution and in with the S.M.A.R.T. goals for a better year.
Once you have decided on what Direct Sales (DS) business you want to be a part of you need to set up your business structure. I always tell people new to the DS world to make sure they run their business like a business or they are just having an expensive party. Here are the steps I recommend to get your business off the ground.
All the time I see small businesses pop into view with gusto then fade away with barely a peep. Why? Usually, it’s because they are driven by passion and not much else. Contrary to what people like to believe, passion is not enough. Here are 10 reasons I have seen that make small business a struggle. With proper planning and coaching none of these need to stop your passion.
We are talking about small businesses this week at My Business Adviser. This is the area I have the most experience and help to give. We will start with an infographic giving a snapshot of the state of small businesses in the US.
It’s never too late to get started on this. Which ones have you done?
Business advice is great….but do you want more? How about twice weekly videos? How about a live chat each week to answer your questions? In depth training about small business and marketing topics delivered to you and access to an award winning business coach….. for $30 a month? Yep. Of course you are welcome to go to a marketing firm and get the same information (cheapest one in Logan is $300/hr). Kind of interested? Here is a free video to get you started. Feel free to chime in below ifyou have any questions about this service. Feel free to tell EVERYONE….we are going to change small business marketing and help YOU increase your effectiveness in the market! https://youtu.be/3XEBPjZMkgE