If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or own an existing business, December is a great time to write a business plan or, if you have one, to dust it off and revisit your plan. You may ask why December?
Because December is National Write a Business Plan Month.
The old saying, “if you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there?” applies to travel as well as business plans. Without a plan, the business death rate is more than twice as high as businesses that have well thought out and written plans. And think about this – investors and banks won’t loan you money if you can’t support the need for capital with a rationale that makes sense.
Does the plan have to be very long, complicated and intimidating? The answer is an emphatic NO! But it does have to be well thought out, and incorporate the following:
Company Description, market analysis, service or product line, marketing and sales, financial projections, and funding request.
Another way to look at this is to answer the following questions:
- What is the customer’s problem?
- What is your solution?
- What is your business model? (How will you make money)
- Who is your customer and how many of them are there? (Target market)
- What is your competitive advantage?
- Who are your management team members?
- What are your financial projections?
- What funding do you require?
You can make your business plan stand out among the reams of business plans if you incorporate the following:
- Be clear about what you have to offer. What are you really selling? What is your market niche?
- Understand what makes your business unique. What needs does your product or service fulfill?
- Understand your competitors, which areas they focus on, which areas they ignore, and your potential opportunities.
- In other words, what benefits do you offer customers, what differentiates you from the others, and how will your business stand out in the crowd?
Whether it’s a brand new business or an effort to put new vitality in an existing business, December is a great time to initiate a plan to achieve success, or greater success in 2015. Your investment in time will pay big dividends.
SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, can provide expert advice (FREE!) to help you create a “great” business plan. With more than 70 mentors in Greater Phoenix SCORE can help you execute your plan to maximize your success.
- Click here to download free business plan templates from SCORE.
- Start writing your plan, filling out all applicable information
- Click here to schedule an appointment with a SCORE mentor to have your plan reviewed for free.
About the Author:
George Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.