A business plan is a necessary basic strategy to run and grow your business. This plan can be a simple strategy or be very detailed, depending on how your mind works and you how detailed you need to be for yourself.
There are many different styles of business plans including all the way from a one page outline style plan to a very long plan with several pages for each section. You can include simple steps in outline form, or all the way to including charts and graphs for growth projections.
Whatever style or level of complexity you choose, your plan should include the following elements (in section 1)
• your mission: why does your business exist?
• your vision: where is your business going? What impact will it make on the world?
• your values: what do you stand for?
• a business profile: what are your products and services?
In section 2 you want to create one-year goals and three-year goals. Your goals should include strategies for each of the following areas:
Management and Administration. Will you need to hire any employees or team members? An assistant or business manager? Include a job description and goals for each team member.
Outsourcing. Will you do everything yourself or will you “outsource” the work? The more work you outsource, the more time you have to be creative and do the work you love and started your business to do. Outsourcing projects include web design, social media expert, copywriting, bookkeeping and others.
Customer Service. What kind of service are you committed to? How will you achieve it?
Business Planning. How often will you review your plan (monthly, quarterly, twice a year)? How will you reassess your goals if necessary?
Bookkeeping and Accounting. How will you keep track of your income, expenses, profit and losses, payroll?
Other Professional Services. Will you need a lawyer to help you incorporate or draw up nonprofit documents? Will you need a human resources manager to set up an employment program?
Technology. Who will manage your database? How will you ensure your technology always remains cutting edge?
Products and Services. This is where you create a detailed plan for the products and services you have decided will be in your product funnel. What will you create and in what order will they be created? What is your pricing plan for each produce? Will you repurpose the product (use an original product for something else?
Marketing. What is your plan to market and sell your products? This section is critical. Without a strategy for marketing your products you won’t sell them.
Website/Blog. Will you have a website that you use as a storefront? How many pages will it have and what is the purpose and content for each page? Will it be just a blog where you write about a particular topic and monetize it by using paid advertising? Will you review other people’s products and get paid a commission (affiliate marketing)?
Joint Ventures. What is your plan to create marketing partnerships with other people in your area of business? Who do you want to partner with and how many partnerships do you wish to have?
Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing is where you sell other people’s products and services. What kind of products do you want to sell? Who’s products will you promote? How many? How will you find them?
Social Media. What is your plan to create visibility on the internet? Will you have a Facebook page, post videos on YouTube, be on Twitter and Pinterest? Who will manage these sites for you? How often will you post on these sites?
The financial section of your plan should include:
Income Projections. This part can be scary, however, it can be fun too. Set your desired monthly income then break it down by product sales. Once you decide on what you want your income to be, you can figure out how many products you need to sell to meet the goal. Hopefully you will have priced your products before you get to this section so this will be easier to accomplish.
Expenses. Last but not least by any means are your expenses. How much will it cost to run your business? Will your website cost you money? Will you have an autoresponder, use a shopping cart or other service that has monthly charges? Remember that many services are free to use and you need to do your homework. It’s is possible to run an internet business for under $30 a month.
Now that you have a good idea of what needs to be included in your business plan, you should decide on what style of plan will suit your business best. If you are going to use your business plan to find investors and otherwise raise money, you will need a fairly detailed plan with a lot of information.
If you are going to have a simple, straightforward internet business that does not require investors, then a simple plan meant to keep you on track will work just fine.
What is in your business plan that I might have missed?
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