It is always said “If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail” Success in business comes as a result of planning. You have to have a detailed, written plan that shows what the ultimate goal is, the reason for the goal, and each milestone that must be passed in order to reach your goal.
Basically, consumers are hunkering down to limit spending, save money, conserve resources, and change the way they’ve been living. The major influence on the health of an economy is the psychological state of its consumers. When there exists a broad belief that spending beyond necessity is unwise, people will change their habits and as a result, some businesses will have to close their doors. The economy is molting into a new, leaner animal. Rather than react in desperation to avoid doom, firms should interact with the current situation with innovative and forward thinking actions.
Aside from an overall directional policy for the production, sales effort and profit goals of your product–your basic “travel guide” to business success–the most important purpose your business plan will serve, will be the basis or foundation of any financial proposals you submit. Many entrepreneurs are under the mistaken impression that a business plan is the same as a financial proposal, or that a financial proposal constitutes a business plan. This is just a misunderstanding of the uses of these two separate and different business success aids.
A recession is the optimal time to reinvent competitive advantage because the pressure of a feeble economy will separate the strong businesses from the weak ones, with the weak falling out of the game entirely. Your business will be strong if you have a plan of action based upon a little industry research, an analysis of what you have and what you want, and continuous monitoring of the results of your plan. This kind of innovation is not only a necessity right now, but it is an opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency in the way you do business.
I have to do everything I say I’m going to do in my business plan, or I’m a failure. Many Solo Entrepreneurs never start because of this myth-which leaves them feeling that the success of their future business suddenly rides on each stroke of the pen or click of the keyboard!Solo Entrepreneur Reality: Think of your business plan as a roadmap for a trip. Expect to take some detours for road construction. Be flexible enough to take some exciting, unplanned side trips. And don’t be surprised if instead of visiting Mount Rushmore, you decide to go to Yellowstone, if that turns out to meet your vacation goals better!
Later, when you’re actually working on your business plan, you can take out this “idea notebook” evaluate your ideas, rework them, refine them, and integrate them into the overall “big picture” of your business plan.The best business plans for even the smallest businesses run 25 to 30 pages or more, so you’ll need to “title” each page and arrange the different aspects of your business plan into “chapters.” The format should pretty much run as follows:Title Page Statement of Purpose Table of Contents Business Description Market Analysis Competition Business Location Management Current Financial Records Explanation of Plans For Growth Projected Profit & Loss/Operating Figures Explanation of Financing for Growth Documentation Summary of Business & Outlook for The Future Listing of Business & personal ReferencesThis is a logical organization of the information every business plan should cover. I’ll explain each of these chapters titles in greater detail, but first, let me elaborate upon the reasons for proper organization of your business plan.
Having a set of “questions to answer” about your business forces you to take an objective and critical look at your ideas. Putting it all down on paper allows you to change, erase and refine everything to function in the manner of a smoothly oiled machine. You’ll be able to spot weakness and strengthen them before they develop into major problems. Overall, you’ll be developing an operating manual for your business–a valuable tool which will keep your business on track, and guide you in the profitable management of your business.Because it’s your idea, and your business, it’s very important that YOU do the planning. This is YOUR business plan, so YOU develop it, and put it all down on paper just the way YOU want it to read. Seek out the advice of other people; talk with, listen to, and observe, other people running similar businesses; enlist the advice of your accountant and attorney–but at the bottom line, don’t ever forget it has to be YOUR BUSINESS PLAN!
Sometimes it takes a significant event or change in existing conditions for a business to create a written plan. I think it’s safe to say that the state of the economy is a significant change that should prompt business owners to alter the way they’ve been doing things. If you already have a business plan, it’s time to get it out and revise it. Make sure your plan includes answers to these questions:What do I want to accomplish?,What do I have to work with?,How have I done in the past?,What might I do in the future?,What will I do now?,How will I do it?,Is it working?