While writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task, with some planning and careful consideration, you can write a business plan that impresses even the most seasoned business professional. We’ve put together some helpful hints on what to include in your plan, to go along with the tips the Summer Company business plan template gives you.
It’s all in the details.
Once you have your fantastic idea, it’s time to think of the details! Start with the big picture (dream big), then funnel that big idea down to figure out the details. The big idea is the most important part of developing your business, but when it comes to communicating the idea, it’s the details that really count. For each section of the business plan, think of all the little details. There’s never too much information, but there’s often too little. Remember that while you know your business inside and out, an outsider does not have that luxury. When someone reads your business plan, you want them to be able to understand your business fully.
Imagine a day-in-the-life of your business.
Close your eyes and image that your business is currently running. Think of what a typical day in your business, from start to finish, looks like. Getting an idea of your day-to-day operations will help you figure out some of the details of your business. This exercise will also help you determine some Start Up costs you may not have thought of. You may realize you need a notebook, or a filing system, to make your office work. Pretend you have to describe your business operations to someone who’s never heard of it – how will you tell them what you do on a daily basis?
Put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers.
Who is going to buy your product/service? It’s one of the most important questions you are going to answer in your business plan. Once you determine your target customer, it’s easier to advertise and market to them because you know what they do and where they go. While your product/service might be valuable to more than one person, think of your ideal customer. This is someone who is the perfect fit for your product/service. Now, describe them and their lifestyle. How old are they? What do they like to do in their free time (golf, watch tv, hike, volunteer?). Do they have kids? Are they the type of person who does DIYs or do they prefer to hire someone? While all these questions seem specific, they can help you develop a strong understanding of who your target is. A fun way to do this is to think of your target as one person, and to give them a name – “Sally” or “Matt” for example, and begin to describe what life is like.
Get people excited!
You have your big, great idea, and you’ve started to really think about the details on how your business will operate – the very important behind-the-scenes work. But how will you tell people about it? And how will you get them excited about it? Whether it be with posters, a radio ad, or a booth at the farmers’ market, determine the best ways to market your product/service. Think of all the places where it makes sense to advertise your product (this is so much easier once you determine who your target customer is – because you know where they like to go).
Money, Money, Money.
$1500 to start up your business is amazing! The money will help get your business going on the path to success. In order to receive the full funding, it’s important to research what items actually cost. Think of all the small things it takes to run a business. Do you need a receipt book? A printer for your office? Other office supplies for your business? The $1500 also includes your advertising costs and any major equipment you need. Don’t forget to budget $60 to register your business name.
Think of everything (including the risks).
Part of running a business is thinking of the risks associated with your product/service. While hopefully, nothing will go wrong, it’s important to think of what you will do if something does. If you’re cutting grass, what happens if a rock cracks a window? If you’re painting walls, what if paint drips on a customer’s couch? By thinking of the risks early, it allows you to have a plan set up in case something does go wrong. For certain businesses (especially ones that involve heavy machinery and food), insurance may be required. It’s important to evaluate your risks to learn how to prevent possible issues.