Many people wing it when they start a business and then wonder why they are not growing or why they are sinking. One of the reasons is that running a small business takes hard work, some planning, and a little bit of magic. If you don’t have a plan for your business, you won’t know where you went wrong and could continue to do things which are detrimental to your business. Let us look at four plans which are important for your business.
Plan 1: A business plan
This plan is made up of the bones of your business. It is a general overview of what your business is about and when you create it should be viewed as a working document you can look at every quarter and adjust should you wish to.
Here are the basic sections which you would need to have in your business plan
- Vision: This is the reason why you are in business. What do you want to create with your business?
- Mission statement: Here you will state what your company’s purpose and primary focus is. You will also highlight the core values of your business.
- Objectives: This section looks at your business’ current and future goals.
- Strategies: How are you going to get customers, how are you going to get your product or service to the customers, and how are you going to pay for it? These are some of the strategies you must consider.
- Expenses: What are the monthly payments you will need to make and what are the once-off payments you will need to make?
- Projected income: How will you make sales and how much do you expect to make?
- Start-up capital: Here you will consider how much money you need to have to get your business off the ground.
With these seven basic sections, you will have a guide which will help you when you make business decisions.
Plan 2: A marketing plan
For your business to make money you need to have clients who are willing to buy from you and this is where marketing comes into play. Marketing considers how you present your services or products to your target audience.
In your marketing plan you will need to consider the following elements
- Ideal client: Clearly define who is your target client. Don’t only consider their demographics but also consider their psychographics.
- Platforms: Here you need to consider where your clients like to hang out. Is it on social media platforms, email or websites? You need to find which ones are the most popular with your client base and be there. You may also need to consider traditional marketing platforms like pamphlets and business cards if your customers are still a bit old school.
- Budget: How much do you have to spend on your marketing? If you use digital media, you may pay less than if you use traditional media.
- Image: You need to decide on what colours, and font to use and what your logo will look like.
These four elements will put you on your way with your marketing plan.
Plan 3: A financial plan
Money makes the world go around. If you want to start a business, you will need a small amount of money or you will need to have something of value which you can barter with. It is important to plan how you will spend the income in your business. Often people forget to plan how to use their business’ finances and come unstuck when trouble hits.
For your financial plan, you need to consider the following aspects
- Income: How does your business make money? Here you will consider what you need to do to make a sale and how much money will your product or service bring in.
- Expenses: In this aspect, you will look at monthly or yearly expenses and once-off costs. If you manufacture your products yourself then you should also consider how much time it takes and what the cost of that time would be if you had to pay someone to do it.
- Savings: You should also put some money away for a rainy day. You could be saving for a new investment piece or for that rainy day which we hope never comes. But having some saving set aside will help you if you ever go through a time when your finances are tight.
Plan 4: An exit plan
When you start your business, the very last thing on your mind is how you are going to exit from it, but it is important to consider. There are multiple ways to exit from your business and some of them may not be your choice. This plan involves you no longer being involved in your business and if done right can ensure you get a good price for your business and that your business will continue to thrive after you have left.
In your exit plan you need to plan for the following scenarios
1. Being bought out by one of your partners or managers
2. Handing over your business to a friend or family member.
3. Being merged or acquired by a bigger business.
4. Liquidating your business
5. Filing for bankruptcy
When you think about these scenarios, you will benefit if you have ensured you have become redundant in your business, have written down how every process works, and have ensured your accounts are in order. These few steps will ensure you get a good price for your business when you sell it or hand it over to the next generation.
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