By definition, a business plan is a written document that outlines three things: the owner’s philosophies, goals, and strategies. In essence, it answers these two questions: What do we hope to accomplish? How are we going to make it happen?
Author Alan Lakein said that “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” Your business plan is your map into the future. It shows both where you want to be and how you plan to get there.
As important as it is to a business’s success, many people avoid making a plan. Usually, it’s because they don’t know where to start. But making a business plan doesn’t have to be difficult.
SAGE FOUNDATION TO BUSINESS PLANNING
When it comes to creating a stellar business plan, you want to consider the four foundations of your business:
- Core Ideology
- Marketing Plan
- Operational Plan
- Financial Plan
Now let’s look at each one of these parts in greater detail.
#1: CORE IDEOLOGY: Why Are You in Business
Close your eyes and see the answers to these questions— What are the core values that you pride yourself on as a business owner? What do you want to be known for? What will your business look like 5 years in the future? Defining your core ideology is the first part of creating a solid business plan.
#2 The Marketing Plan
Now that you’ve ‘built it,’ how will you bring customers to you? Using what you’ve set in your core ideology you can begin to make decisions about how your brand yourself, how you communicate to potential clients. What makes your business different? From here, you’ll decide on pricing strategies, and promotional strategies.
#3 The Operational Plan
How will you actually run your business? Let’s take a lemonade stand as an example. The operational part of the owner’s business plan would talk about how much many lemons and sugar are needed to start, where the stand would be set up, and what other materials will be needed. It would talk about staffing and vendors. And, it would share how goods and services will be delivered to the client.
#4 The Financial Plan
Money, money, money, money. This part of the plan is where you take your idea from ‘concept’ to ‘reality.’ The numbers part of your business plan should be future focused: specifically what you plan to earn and what you will do with it. What are your sales goals? How much will you spend?
There’s really only one rule when it comes to projecting your numbers—be realistic.
One final thing to keep in mind in writing your business plan is that there isn’t any ‘wrong’ way to do it. It can be 4 pages or 40. As long as it helps you create a SUCCESSFUL and SUSTAINABLE business, your plan will be on point!
If you need help getting started, I can coach you thru your business plan.