You’re excited about your idea for a business. You’ve got a fantastic product or service, and you just want to get rolling with it. The last thing you want to do is take a bunch of time putting together a business plan. If you skip it, though, you can probably forget about that great business idea – it’s not likely to work out.
Writing a business plan is the step that many budding entrepreneurs dread, forget or ignore. Sometimes, they just don’t think it’s necessary. Everything they need to know is in their head already. However, that sort of thinking is a recipe for disaster. A business plan is a crucial step in turning your business from concept to reality – from an idea to something concrete. A business without a business plan is a business that is planning to fail.
Last week, we talked about learning to believe in your business idea and committing to its success. At Fryed Egg Productions, we know true commitment to the success of any project has to begin with a plan. For businesses, that simply has to mean a business plan.
Thinking through your business
Creating a business plan forces you and your partners to approach your business with true focus and to think through your concept in detail. It forces you to have discipline and to spell out the challenges that lie ahead and how you plan to tackle them. It puts your goals in writing, and it brings accountability to everybody else involved. Without that, you’re just gambling. A business plan provides you with safeguards and helps you to mitigate the risk of your project. It also will strengthen your confidence in the project because you will be able to see with new clarity how you are going to succeed. You will see what you have overlooked, the gaps in your thinking. You will better understand what is involved and what you have to work out. In addition – and not at all incidentally – a robust, insightful business plan will be necessary for you to acquire any outside financing to help your business get off the ground.
Use available resources
Writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task at the outset, but there is no reason it needs to be a confusing slog. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry – there is an abundance of resources to turn to for help. For instance, it’s easy to find a template online to borrow and adapt for your business plan. You also have options in your community. Local incubators exist to help entrepreneurs pursue their passion projects, and other business-minded organizations often will offer resources. One of the most prominent is SCORE, a national network of volunteer, expert business mentors who provide free services and guidance, including in the business plan process. Don’t try to create your business plan in a vacuum. Find people who have been there and done that and tap into their knowledge and experiences, learn from what they have been through and seen. If you do, your business will not be starting from scratch, but will be built on the foundation of previous businesses and all their ups and downs, failures and successes.
No two business plans will be the same, but there are key areas to cover in your business plan. For those writing a traditional business plan, the Small Business Administration recommends the following:
– Executive summary: A brief description of your business and why it will be successful.
– Company description: A detailed explanation of the company, including specifics such as the customers you will be serving and what makes your business special.
– Market analysis: A look at your industry (including competitors) and target market, as well as how your company can thrive in those conditions.
– Organization and management: The structure of your company and the leadership team.
– Service or product line: A detailed explanation of the service or product you will sell.
– Marketing and sales: How you will attract and keep customers.
– Funding request: If you’re seeking funding, this section will cover your funding needs and requirements.
– Financial projections: Create a prospective financial outlook.
At Fryed Egg, we help new and emerging organizations find their footing and discover who they are. If you want to see if Fryed Egg is the right agency for your marketing needs, contact us at (813) 478-0494 or [email protected] or visit www.fryedegg.com.