Does the thought of sitting down to do a business plan seem like a daunting task that will take you days or weeks to put together? Do you think your passion is your plan and will pave your road to success? Most business experts agree that you need to have some type of business plan in place for a business to succeed.
When people are self-funding or bootstrapping they don’t feel the need to put a plan together since it’s not required as it would be if you were looking for investors. But having a business plan can increase your chances of staying in business 2.5 times compared to those that don’t. Unfortunately poor planning or no planning is the demise of many businesses.
I ran across an article on LinkedIn by Kim Kaselionis titled “Who Uses A One Page Business Plan”. I’m a “less is more” person by nature, so this really grabbed my attention. I read through the post and then googled 1-page business plans. I sifted through a few and found one that seemed like a great place to start.
I’ll admit when we started our business we didn’t have an actual plan in place: we weren’t 100% sure where our clients would come from or what avenue was going to work best for marketing. Once we decided to put a plan in place it helped sort out questions we had such as:
- What problem do we solve?
- What type of Sales & Marketing can we add to what we’re currently using?
- What will our team members do? What are their strengths or weaknesses?
- What are our long term goals?
If a project seems too big it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of how you’ll tackle it. Even starting with the idea of a business plan seemed like a task I did not want to take on, but it’s not something anyone else can do for you. Armed with my 1-page plan template, I approached writing the plan like I do my workouts: If I tell myself I need to work out for 45 minutes I won’t even start; but if I say I’m only going to do 20 minutes, by the end of the 20 I’m ready to go for 20 more. I started with my simple plan and added and edited as I went along.
It was simple but effective. It outlined what I was doing, why I was doing it, and helped me outline how to increase our sales & marketing efforts. We had these areas loosely in place already, but seeing them in print helped me reorganize some priorities and put my hundreds of sticky notes in an outlined format that I can actually follow. I used the following outline as my guide:
- The problem we solve.
- The solution.
- How do we make money.
- Why are we different.
- Sales & Marketing.
- Our Team.
- Projects & Milestones.
- Status/Time line.
Creating a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. What it will do is lay out the foundation for your business, and allow for changes along the way. It will not only guide you through the beginning stages of starting and growing your business, but will lay out your goals and objectives with a roadmap on how to get there.
In this day and age we tend to make things more difficult and complicated than they need to be. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by things that seem larger than they really are. If you break it down; whether it’s your business plan, your workload or your workout; into smaller more manageable pieces, it will be easier to get started. Put it in ink…organize your thoughts, set your goals and get ready for success.
Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re looking for information on working with a Virtual Assistant, or you are a Virtual Assistant looking to join a growing company, give her a call today at (440) 973-7005.