In order to make a successful business plan for your startup, you will need to know what the competition is doing. This blog post will cover some of the basics that can help you get started. Making a successful business plan for your startup can be difficult. With so many steps and processes, it can be hard to know where to start. But with the right preparation and research before you begin, developing your own business plan doesn't have to be too daunting of an endeavor. Whether you need help planning for marketing or finance, this blog has some great tips on how to make sure that all aspects of your company are taken care of in advance!
1 Who is your target market?
Before you begin a business plan, it's important to identify your target market. Without this information, it'll be difficult to know what approach to take in marketing and product design. Try using the "5 Ws - Who, What, Where, When and Why -to help get started."
For example: "Who are we targeting?" "What are they interested in?" "Where do they live?" "When are they most likely to purchase or use our products?" "Why will this market choose us over the competition?"
By answering each of these questions, you'll be able to get started with an understanding of your target audience. This is crucial information that will help with every aspect of your business plan.
2. Who is your perfect customer?
Once you've identified who your target market will be, it's important to take the next step of figuring out what the characteristics of your perfect customer are. By creating a profile of what your ideal client looks like on paper, you'll be able to come up with ideas on how to design marketing campaigns that appeal specifically to them. This will ensure that your products will look appealing and that they'll be more likely to purchase them!
3. How do you want people to perceive your brand?
Take some time to think about how you would want people who see or hear about your company to initially perceive it. This can help with everything from naming a company or product right down to choosing the colors that you want to use in your marketing materials.
4. Why does your company exist?
It's great to know who your target market is and what they're looking for, but it can be even more helpful if you know why you're trying to sell them on your product or service. Without this information, it'll be difficult to create a successful business plan that includes answers to questions like: "What problem are we trying to solve with our product?" "How will this help people?" "Why do we think/know people will buy this?" Having a good answer to these questions can make all the difference in whether or not people find value in what you have to offer!
5. Create Marketing Strategy
To make a successful business plan, you should establish how to get your product in front of the people who need it. Without marketing objectives and strategies for getting exposure, it'll be hard to explain in your business plan how exactly you're going to accomplish this!
Here are some tips to develop a marketing strategy for your business:
- Have a clear understanding of your target audience. Who are they? What do they want? Where can you find them?
- Develop a budget for marketing. How much money will you spend, and on what platforms? Will this change as your company grows or does it depend on the current state of the market at the time that you're entering it?
- Create a content calendar to help plan out promotional strategies. This is especially helpful if you need to know how long certain campaigns should run or when new posts or advertisements should go up!
- Choose social media platforms that are either appropriate for your business (i.e., Instagram might not be best for an insurance company) or where there is already demand (i.e., more people use Twitter than Snapchat, so it's better for marketing to the masses).
6. Build a strong Brand
Designing a logo and choosing colors can have an effect on all aspects of your company - whether it's website design, packaging, business cards, or anything else! Before making final decisions on color schemes and fonts, take some time to think about how they reflect who you are as a business and choose something that represents your brand well. Here are a few of the most important things to consider when deciding on logo and color schemes:
- Keep it consistent. It's important that any new materials match all of your existing identity pieces, so think about how you can pull these elements together for a cohesive feel across all platforms!
- Make it timeless. This is especially important if you want to use your business as a long-term source of income or if your company will be around for years down the line! A classic logo with clean lines and edges will look just as good years from now as it does today.
- Get feedback from others. Have some people whose opinions you trust to take a look at both your logo and color choices to get different perspectives. Remember that you need to be able to explain the reasoning behind your decisions in your business plan, so this can help when it comes to explaining things like font size or color meanings!
7. Calculate Startup Costs
Even if you're planning on starting a company with very little money, chances are you're going to have to put some of your own funds into startup costs - whether it's purchasing office supplies or paying for attorney fees. To make a successful business plan, it's important not only to know how much these kinds of expenses will cost but also what percentage must be covered by you personally!
Here are some tips for estimating startup costs:
- Make a list of everything you'll for your company right now and for the first few months.
- Decide if you want to use a loan for your startup costs or not. If so, be sure to include interest rates and how much of your business will have to repay the lender each month!
- Measure all of these startup expenses against your projected annual revenue. How long do you think it'll take before you start turning a profit? Knowing this information can help ensure that your business plan has room for growth.
8. Write down your goals, objectives, and strategies
Your business plan should include your goals as a company, what you aim to accomplish, and how you're going to get there! Whether it's increasing market share or doubling the number of customers who shop with you on a monthly basis, be sure to explain:
- How will these things help achieve your vision for the future of the business? What does this mean for both current and potential employees? How will they benefit from all of this success?
- What measures are you taking to ensure that these goals are met (i.e., what safeguards do you have in place)? Be specific about any deadlines, milestones, or benchmarks so that others can see exactly where your company is headed and how far's come!
- How will you keep track of progress? Are there specific metrics that you'll be using to measure success along the way?
9. The four sections of the business plan
The first thing people read when they look at your business plan is the executive summary, so make sure to include all important information about what you do here! Not only does this section give readers an overview of how your company operates, but it also helps them understand why they should care. To come up with the perfect introduction, try using these four key elements:
- Identify your audience (e.g., potential clients, investors/banks) and who will be reading the plan (i.e., other members of staff).
- Highlight the solutions offered by your company. How do you solve problems for customers? Why are you unique? What value do you bring to the world?
- Mention any recent successes, awards, or press coverage that you've recently received.
- Make a compelling argument for why people should work with your company. What makes you different from your competitors? Why should they care about your business?
In this section, take some time to clearly define the nature of your company and what it does! For example:
"Our company is a modern hair salon in downtown San Francisco offering the latest styles and trends to help our customers look and feel their best."
Here, be sure to explain how your business meets a need in the market and how you'll make money (i.e., what's your revenue model). This section should also include details like whether or not you'll be targeting specific customers. If so, list all relevant market research that you've done to find out about their needs.
What do you plan to do differently than your competitors? List the ways in which your company will stand out from others in your field. How are you planning on capturing a larger share of the market over time? Also, include details regarding target markets and customer demographics!
Your company's financials/budgeting process
Finally, this section is where you'll need to put some serious thought into what kind of budget you'll need to make things happen! Determine how much money you'll need for salaries, inventory, marketing expenses, rent...you name it! For many startups, though, this is one of the trickiest parts of business plan creation.
- What is your business? Be very specific about the nature of your company and what it does to help customers.
- Why do people need this in their lives? Think back to why you began this venture in the first place...what problem are you looking to solve, and how will you do so successfully?
- Who is involved with these efforts? How many people help run day-to-day operations? What makes them stand out from other candidates for employment at your company? Why should investors choose to work with this team over others within the industry?
- Where will your money come from, and where will it go once it's earned (or spent)? Is there a budget outlined here that shows monthly/annual profits/losses?
- How might your company make money? Is this through services, products, etc.? What's the price point for customers down the line? Your potential investor(s) will want to know all of this information!
Finally, at the end of your business plan is a great opportunity to include reviews from satisfied customers. This gives would-be partners and investors an unbiased opinion regarding how good you are at what you do. Don't worry if you don't have reviews just yet! You may choose to list reviews that come in after the document has been presented. However, it's always great to have them included as part of your business plan before things get rolling
Business Plan Questions:
Who are your customers? What do they need and what do you offer?
What products/services does your company provide, where do these come from, and how much do they cost to produce/purchase?
Who are your competitors? How is your business unique or different from other companies?
How much will it cost to make the product and ship it to customers (or purchase the materials)? How much money do you plan on making off of each sale? Will there be a margin for profit over time as things continue to grow and develop within your industry(s)?
Financial projections/budgeting process
Where will the money come from (i.e., investors) and where will it go (i.e., expenses such as materials, salaries, marketing)?
Who will be making these investments? How much are they willing to put forth to get the business moving in the right direction?
How long do you expect it will take for your company to get back its initial investment? What is the estimated ROI (return on investment) here? What makes this investment worth it over time within the framework of your company's overall goals and initiatives?
Who is involved with running things behind closed doors, and what makes them qualified to handle everything that arises daily in terms of management decisions, sales projections, hiring processes, etc.?
What are their long-term goals? Short-term?
How might investors benefit from investing in this team over others within the same industry/company type?
Why should customers choose your company's products/services over those of another business' that offer similar services/products at a lower price point or better quality overall? How can you convince customers to purchase what you have to sell, rather than going with another business offering similar items, but for less money and hassle all around? What makes your product stand out in terms of value and distinction in comparison to other companies selling similar goods or services?
Where do you see your business headed in 5 years, 10 years, etc.? Will it be bigger and better than ever, or will it have phased out by that time?
If you need help with completing a business plan for your company, consult an expert to get started! Professionals can review your current strategy and offer feedback, suggestions, and direction in order to make this process as smooth and successful as possible. Once you're ready to share the finished product with potential investors, sit back and wait for them to come knocking at your door!
I hope this blog will help you to create a successful business plan for your startup business. Have a grit and grind day!
Thank you for reading!