We all have good ideas for a business of some sort, especially while studying in college surrounded by so many creative minds. Some ideas may be feasible, while some are not. Even if the concept is far fetched, there is always a vast difference between good intentions and writing a business plan that leads to success. Coming up with a solid plan in college or at any point in life is quite the task but we are here to help.
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The 9 Main Steps to Writing a Successful Business Plan
Before starting a business of any kind, it is highly suggested to create a well-rounded business plan. For a lot of new business people as well as brave college students, writing a business plan can seem like the tallest mountain to climb. They are used to steer the company in the right direction in its different stages of growth. Many million dollar entrepreneurs guided themselves by using these to earning their big fortunes. Business plans play a significant aspect in companies. Even when a company has reached maturity at about 10 years of age, they still follow a business plan.
Step 1: Start With Vision
Quite often for starters, it is quite difficult to niche their idea with a business model. This is particularly true for college students since they lack the field experience to fully understand their potential as well as maximize their output. A good place to begin this journey is by looking at gaps in the market that can easily be catered for, which will sell fast and in vast quantities. So, take a breath and step down a level.
Consider these questions:
- Do people require or want the product?
- What will the price of the product be?
- Who will the product be aimed at?
- Are there any competitors? If so, how successful are they?
- What is the game plan of marketing and selling this product?
Step 2: Crafting a Business Plan
Creating a business plan is not that hard when you have sufficient experience as to how the company will operate as a whole and on a departmental level. It takes up all your time and dedication, something not everyone is willing to invest. Before writing a business plan and starting a business ask yourself: “Where will my funding come from?” and “How much do I need to set up my business?”.
It is always a good idea to decide on the budget by basically, budgeting. Create a spreadsheet with all factors and costs included. Be mindful of your overheads as well as expectations when it comes to taxes and legal fees. This is a guaranteed way to set up an accurate, thought-through and well-written business plan. Then cover these statistics in the program, itself. It is what investors like to see (as we will discuss later in this article).
Step 3: Calculating Revenue
Small companies that use no equipment and are part-time, generally cost around $10,000 to set up. While Some others may require more depending on the niche. Essentially what that means is that startup prices will vary according to the specified necessities. On average these small businesses can get a revenue of $78,000 if successful. Keep in mind that this is just an approximate value meaning that the final sum could also be higher or lower according to how much tax per annum, employee costs, and similar factors.
It is a good idea to consider this list of items that must be included in a business plan:
- Balance Sheet
- Sales Forecast
- Profit and loss statement
- Cash-flow statement
Step 4: Find Investors
It goes without saying that when someone creates a start-up business, he or she is going to lack funding at some point for something. The general consensus is to take out bank loans or seek investors. Finding a bank that can provide bank loans can be tricky because the majority of its customers in this market segment are large corporations and well-established companies. Regardless of their size banks are known for not giving out loans to unknown start-up companies since it represents a risk. Thus, finding an investor is a good alternative. These people can be: relatives, friends, venture capitalists, find stakeholders, but the ideal options are accelerators or business incubators.
Step 5: Business Plans and Investors
Investors usually spend countless hours reading through completed business plans. They look for well-written, precise documents that have a good financial understanding of what they will do with the funds to make sure the business opportunity is worth investing in. Thus, it is crucial to have a detailed document containing all the necessary financial data. In order to avoid typos and grammatical errors while saving some time to focus on the conceptual aspects, some choose to use reliable writing services for their proofreading needs. They try to find the ideal scenario that refines all key value points (this excludes the financial aspects of the business). They more so should talk about what the company has to offer and why it is going great to invest in.
Though, in business plans. It is also essential to add the financial aspects. Include bar charts and diagrams which illustrate the revenue of the business, as well as the calculated gross profit and capital that will be spent. Investors often prefer business plans with these statistics. If they do not contain them, then most investors will ultimately dismiss the program and will most likely throw it in the recycling bin.
Step 6: Include Visuals in the Business Plan
No one likes to read long text when evaluating an extended amount of papers. So make the business plan eye-catching. This also includes a logo, as well as illustrations and pictures. Visuals can win over an investor because people often remember pictures more so than text (It’s how humans first recorded information in the cavemen and ancient times).
It is a good idea to hire a professional illustrator, draw illustrations yourself, or include photos that you own the rights to. Don’t include copyrighted photographs as this makes the business look unprofessional.
Step 7: Make Sure Everything’s Legal
It is always a good idea to make sure all the required legal documents are accounted for. This is highly important in any niche, and it is a must to show it in a business plan. Investors will not support a company that intends to conduct any form of illegal activities be they intentional or unintentional. No matter how good the product or service in question these terms apply. To make sure everything is permitted, hire an attorney for legal representation of the business. They can be used as a consultant to make sure that the companies activities are all completely legal according to the host companies laws.
Not only that, but there could be multiple owners instead of just one. It is always a good idea to decide on the percentage everyone is going to get before entering the market. In other words, who gets what. Also naming the business is essential. Especially when it comes to legal issues. The name must be original and not similar to another company (otherwise legal proceedings in court could take place. The company could be sued for misrepresentation and intellectual copyright).
Step 8: Keep Things Cool, But Informative
First impressions count! To get a good response from an investor, the first page of the business plan is an essential aspect of the entire paper. Create a page with a title. This is made up of the name of the company, contact information, context page (otherwise known as a table of contents) and an executive summary. Add some information about the business.
Throughout the business plan, keep things smooth and friendly as well as informative and accurate. Such detail includes an overview of the target market. This provides information about the size of the industry, pop cultural trends, and the overall summary of potential success.
Step 9: Get The Product Out There
Including the forms of advertising used in a business plan is a good idea. Every company has a marketing team to promote the business. It is always a good idea to generate a marketing team to get the word out there. It is worth considering these aspects when developing the product or service. Keep advertising informal and friendly, but don’t go overly casual.
Create flyers. These can be placed in stores, offices and put in mailboxes. These are very good for promoting the business because most people enjoy reading leaflets, especially if the product advertised is something that relates to them. Make sure they are catchy and easy-to-read.
A lot of companies advertise online. This is called online marketing. Some companies use banner ads (via. Google Adsense) which is highly used by many organizations. This form of advertising drives customers to the company website. They are spread on sites all over the internet as well as social media.
As many companies use TV advertisement, this is an expensive form of publication but can be highly effective. The way to do it is to come up with a story that can relate to the customers.
For example, Coca-Cola uses Santa Claus. Many families with children can relate to this fictional figure because children worship this man who supposedly breaks into their house on Christmas Eve to give them gifts. So, in such case, the award is Coca-Cola. Thus, selling the idea of Coke to infants.
As McDonald’s uses Ronald McDonald the clown, he is a clown that children can relate to because children love circuses. It’s the same form of advertising.
Tips for Writing A Successful Plan
- Know the Market
- Find Out The Competition
- Use Logical Thinking: Write Reasonable Ideas in the Business Plan and when running the business
- Create A Team: This will allow the business to run smoothly
- Do not copy other products (without permission)
- Use Buzzwords to Market the Business
- Create A Slogan
- Use Gimmicks: Consumers always love gimmicks. They often sell the product or service very well
- Don’t provide customers with long documents
- Avoid overestimating the budget. Keep all budgeting precise to avoid becoming bankrupt
- If the competition business is going bust, take advantage of this