by Dr. Cindy Briggs
There are many different views when it comes to writing a business plan. Some advisors will tell you that you can’t get anywhere without a business plan, while others say that business plans are “outdated” and “unneeded”.
I fall somewhere between these two opinions. I do think the way we used to do business plans is outdated and unneeded. We put so much pressure on entrepreneurs to have the PEFECT business plan– that we would put on a shelf and never really use.
On the other side, I don’t agree with the “unneeded” part either. I do believe a business plan can help us be proactive in our business. We can look at key components and also determine where our business fits in a bigger landscape.
When I work with business clients, usually the business plan is scary to them. It can seem so intimidating. For many years, I was more of a consultant and I would write business plans for people. Several years ago I stopped doing this because I found it was better to have individuals really invested in the plan— which meant having them write it.
If you are in the stage of thinking of starting a business, or maybe you started one but never really drafted a plan, let’s discuss the elements you will want in any plan. (This is going to be a 10,000 foot overview)
- Mission Statement/ Vision Statement: This can be fairly simple but you want to answer the questions, “why do you exist” and “what matters to you and your business”.
- Marketplace: Who are your competitors and what does the industry look like as a whole. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start a business just because there is competition– but explain how you will be different.
- Product/Service: Here you will explain in detail the type of product/service you will offer and remember to address how your product/service will help solve the customers problem.
- Marketing Plan: In this section you will discuss how you sell you product/service.
- Organization: Here you will explain about your company. Who works there? What skills do they bring? How was your organization founded?
- Financial: You want to give a good idea of they money you have already made, and the potential for income. This section is specifically important if you are looking for investors.
Yes, these are the major parts of a business plan– but there is a bit more involved. Again, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but you may want some more details.
I help people a couple of ways with their business plan needs. First, I have an ebook that will walk you through the steps with some more detail. It is written in a way that anyone can do it! (You don’t have to have the MBA to understand each step 😉
Additionally, I have an online course that will give you more one-on-one attention with your business plan. YOU still write it, but I am there to give feedback on each section. Help you with revisions, and keep you on a timeline to get it complete. Think of it as a business coach for this specific project.
I want you to remember something that is so vital in this process… this should be FUN! You are moving forward on a dream. You are deciding that you can be an entrepreneur! Don’t let this step (or any of the future steps) make you feel like you can’t do it. I want you to think about all the people in the world who are entrepreneurs…. I can almost guarantee that most of them had moments of doubt and/or fear.
If you would like to learn more about the ways we can help you, please reach out at www.cindybriggsphd.com. Our mission is to help entrepreneurs and communities THRIVE.