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WAHM > Business Ideas > Writing a business plan that works

Getting Started Tutorial - Step 3: Writing a business plan that works

This is the part of the starting a business that intimidates many, myself included, however it is absolutely necessary.

The good news is that you don’t have to create a ‘formal’ business plan unless you’re seeking a business loan.

This business plan is just for you.

Why you need a business plan.

A Business Plan Will:

  • Provide you a financial blueprint for your business
  • Help you have a concrete plan for your money. What your budget will be and where your money will go.
  • Gives you a flow chart of all aspects of your business from marketing to accounting so that all your bases are covered.
  • Defines your target market and your marketing plan. How are you going to connect with them?
  • Documents your goals and your plans to attain them.
  • Acts as your business roadmap

In short, your business plan is just that, it’s a plan. It’s your recipe for success. Unlike a recipe however your business plan is just a guideline. You can change the ingredients anytime you see fit.

How do you begin writing a business plan?

Here’s what you need to know:

1. What is your business description? Begin writing a letter to someone, maybe your mom or a friend, about your business. What would you tell them you do? How would you describe it? Once you get your letter written, if it is longer than a paragraph, narrow it down. Keep working on your business description until you can succinctly tell someone in 30 seconds exactly what your business does.

2. Employee/Management plan. When many people start out in business, they’re a one person operation. That’s perfectly acceptable. Write down exactly what your job responsibilities will be. As you’re making that list, take note on the responsibilities that you feel aren’t your strong points. For some it may be copywriting, for others it may be accounting tasks. Separate these tasks from the list as potential future employees or contract employees. Once you’ve reached a certain level of success, it may make sense to hire someone to handle the tasks that you either don’t like or aren’t as skilled in so that you can focus on your strengths.

3. Legal considerations. Here you will answer the following questions:

  • What legal structure will you have for your business? Sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or Limited Liability Company?
  • What type of business licenses do you need to legally operate your business?
  • What are your insurance needs? Include insurance on physical buildings, errors and omissions insurance for consulting and coaching businesses, liability, homeowners, health, etc.
  • How will you keep a record of your expenses for tax reporting?
4. Products/Services.

Here is where you will plan your initial products or services offerings. For example, if you are opening a business as a bookkeeper then how will you charge?

How will you receive payment? Will you offer multiple services like bookkeeping, payroll services, and collections?

5. Operations. How is your business going to function? Do you need a computer? A website? What will your hours of operation be? What are your financial goals? What are your expenses? List each aspect of your business operations, goals, and needs and then go into as much detail as possible.

6. Sales and marketing. Start this section by detailing your target market. Next, describe how you plan on reaching this person and selling your products or services. There are many options here and tons of information about marketing tools you can use right here on the Internet Based Moms website. You may also want to detail how much of your time you plan on spending on marketing related tasks each day, week, or month.

7. Budget. How much money are you starting with? What do you need to buy? A detailed budget is essential for success.

That’s it. You’re business plan is complete. For ease of use you can create an executive summary, which will contain a brief summary paragraph about the seven sections you just detailed.

Use your business plan to keep your business on track. As you reach your goals or your goals change, take the time to revise your plan. This can be something that you do every month, every six months or annually, it’s up to you!

Next in our tutorial: --> Getting Started: The Legal Stuff You Need to Know.

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