Business Plan Preparation
1. Visit the United States Census Breau to research information on who your customer is and where to find them!
Hopefully you will already know who your customer is. What I mean by that is do you know if your customer is a female, male, old, young, educated, rich, poor, children, no children, etc. If you know that then the United States Census Breau website will help you know where that person is.
2. Determine how you are going to market your product before you spend one dime on the business!
One of the most forgotten pieces of business plan preparation is having a full grasp on how important a sound and effective marketing plan is to the success of your business.
3. Anticipate that your sales projections will fall short!
Although we all hope for the very best my strong recommendation is to make sure you have enough cash flow to take your business through at least one year, or more! One of my most successful businesses took almost three years to realize a profit. I am very glad now that I didn't pull the plug on it!
4. Understand who you are and whether you have what it takes to run a small business from the ground up!
Take a really hard look at yourself and determine if you not only have the knowledge but the fortitude to take a small business through the start up process. It may seem like fun right now but you will have gut wrenching times ahead! Trust me!
Your business plan preparation will make actually writing your plan much easier as well as ensuring that you are presenting the most accurate information possible. Everything from researching your competition to pulling numbers from the USA Census Bureau will speed up the process once you implement your business planning software.
Business plan preparation is not as difficult as you want to think; however, it is critical that you don't take any shortcuts. For instance don't just pull things out of the air that you believe to be true. Check and double check to make sure. Like a carpenter, measures twice so that they only cut once, saves money and time. Yes I know you are an expert in your field and you know better than anyone what you are talking about, but just humor me and double check your information. It could save you your life savings!
Are you going to be able to sustain yourself through…
A critical part of business plan preparation is your cash flow. Are you going to be able to sustain yourself through the start up period; however long that becomes. Your accounting methods and who you are targeting as customers will help determine some of this. As an example if you are targeting businesses as your potential customer many will expect a 30 day grace period. This will have a dramatic impact on your cash flow. Not having enough cash flow has been the death of many new business ventures.
Another part of your business plan preparation should be getting your marketing strategy together. This is an often forgotten piece of your new business venture and could spell death. So consider how you are going to reach out and draw in your customer. Are you going to use the internet with a website, a mailing campaign, direct sales, telemarketing, etc. Get this nailed down before going forward! It is a very critical piece. I made this mistake with my first business venture and I sunk like the Titanic.
Why are they going to choose your product or service?
Business plan preparation also includes knowing who your customer or customers are, and where are they located geographically. The business marketing plan piece of this will help with drawing them in, but who are they. Why are they going to choose your product or service over your competitors? Why will they return after the first sale? How far will they have to come to get your product or service? The USA Census could help a lot for locating the demographic group.
The bottom line is that when you are going about your business plan preparation, be smart about it. Take the extra time up front so that when you sit down with your small business planning software you can put together a professional business plan presentation that will help to make you successful far into the future.