When you embark on the career path of owning and operating a small business, you will soon discover that there are a number of steps involved in achieving success. One key component of starting a small business is creating a successful business plan. A business plan is a small businesses blueprint to creating a profitable business. It contains all of the criteria that you need to make a business a success. It is basically a blueprint to creating the business and making sure it becomes profitable. Below are key elements one should include in their business plan that will help a small business get on the right track to success.
1. The business plan is designed to outline the type of business you will be operating and how it will generate sales. The mission statement should explain the small business values and objectives. You have to be able to effectively explain how your product or service will fill customers’ needs and wants. You need to have an understanding of your target audience. This includes the type of demographic you will be targeting. You should do some market research that includes relevant statistics. As well, you need to explain how the product or service will be created and what suppliers will be needed.
2. The business plan should outline your marketing strategies. You have to have a plan on how you will attract and retain loyal customers. You must have advertising plans such as where and how you will promote your product or service. That is, what advertising medium you will use such as the internet, newspapers, magazines, television, radio…etc. It is important that you have short and long term objectives and have a plan to meet the objectives. As well, your marketing strategies should be easy to modify in the event one strategy fails. Regularly updating your business plan will ensure you are meeting all of your marketing and promotion goals.
3. Any business, including a small business, needs stable financing. You will have a number of start-up expenses and you will need financing to keep your small business operating until you start making a profit. You have to determine the best finance that meets your needs. Most businesses acquire a loan so you have to make sure you can make the monthly repayments and that you can afford the interest rates. When acquiring a small business loan, you have to detail how you will generate revenue in a cost effective way.
4. Understanding your competition and developing strategies to compete with other businesses is essential to running a successful small business. For example, are there many other businesses in your area that sell similar products or services? Or, are you filling a specific niche market? Your business plan must detail how you plan to gain a competitive edge over other businesses. Basically, you will detail why and how you will be successful and that your product or service is viable.
Without a sound business plan, starting a small business can be a stressful and difficult experience. Creating an effective business plan will allow you to create a step-by-step process that will be easy to follow and help unsure your small business starts out on the right foot and grows to be a profitable business for years.