Before starting any business, you need to research and write a thorough business plan. A business plan is beneficial for many reasons. For one, it lets you outline exactly what your business will be and how you can make it successful. It’s also useful for getting funding from banks and investors.
A business plan isn’t just about what your business does. It also covers things like where your company will be, whom you’ll market to, and how you plan to start making a profit. You’ll need to carry out some detailed research, but it’ll pay off. Here are ten things you need in your startup business plan.
1. Business Overview
First of all, you’ll need to sum up what exactly your business is for. Simply identifying yourself as a store, for instance, isn’t enough. You need to identify what makes your business worth creating or investing in.
Outline what your business is offering, who’s looking for it, and how you’ll meet their needs. For example, maybe you’re a streaming service offering documentaries online. Maybe you’re trying to deliver athletic sporting goods to locals. Write a basic overview to catch people’s attention before launching into the fine details.
2. Company Location
Your location is one of the most important aspects of your business plan. You need to identify where you’ll be located, the size of your premises, and your local reach.
It’s important to do some research into locations before you set your flag down. For instance, starting a mechanic shop in an area where four are already operating wouldn’t be smart. Finding an area where many people need your service will help your business take off fast.
Price can also be a factor. If all you need is an office, you could start out somewhere small then expand as you make a profit.
3. Your Unique Selling Point
For your company to be successful, you need a USP or unique selling point. This is the aspect of your business that makes you stand out ahead of your competitors. Your entire brand, tagline, and business model may be based around this USP.
This can be any number of things. Maybe you’re the first company to take a certain service online. Maybe you’re the only one in the local area. Maybe you’re a bar with a revolving dance floor or a cafe with live music. Whichever way, identify why your business is worth getting excited about instead of being another generic company in the industry.
4. Target Market
It’s also crucial to identify a target market. Some companies aim themselves at a specific demographic. For instance, you could be a nutrition company which creates healthy baby food for parents. Maybe you’re a cosmetics store aimed at young women.
Your target market doesn’t have to be super specific- some companies aim their products and services at a wider range of people. However, by targeting a smaller subculture and becoming the number one business in that niche, you’ll increase your chances of standing out and making money.
5. Your Competitors
Knowing your competition will help you enormously. Every business needs to take a detailed look at their competitors. Identify what they’re doing right so you can satisfy your own customers. More importantly, look for what they’re doing wrong so you can offer something better.
Researching every business in your desired industry will help. You can look for gaps in the market and fill them in with your own company.
Also, remember that dissatisfied customers often turn to new businesses. If your rivals aren’t doing customer service well or ignoring customer feedback, you could pick up some loyal customers by offering what they’re missing.
6. Financial Projections
Naturally one of the main things you need to consider is how your business is going to generate profit. Your business plan should detail how exactly you plan to start bringing in money. You’ll need to calculate how much money you have to spend, what your expenses will be, and how you’ll make it back.
Research is important here. If you can find out how much businesses in your industry can generally make per-sale you can predict how much you’ll make. You should also take into account how much you expect your business to grow and how much your profits will grow with them.
Showing some financial awareness will help you start bringing in money fast. It’s also something that will appeal to investors.
7. Potential Risks
Identifying the potential risks to your business is vital for success. According to the Small Business Association, around 30% of small businesses fail in the first year. Around 50% fail within the first five years.
Possible risks can include things like cyber attacks, internet downtime, and poor financial management. By identifying the things that might impact your business and coming up with a risk management plan, you can keep your business safe.
You may need to look into things like insurance and professional security to keep your business safe. Whichever way, make sure you take all risks into account.
8. Your Team
It’s also important to outline who will be working for your company. Maybe your startup plan consists of a small team who will manage various operations. Perhaps you’re planning to launch a full-scale workforce with multiple departments.
Take into account how you’re going to find the right talent and how much you plan to pay. This is an important part of getting your startup up and running.
You’ll need to invest some money to get your business going. As such, you need to know how much you need and where the money will come from.
Figure out how much money you need for your startup expenses. Then detail how you plan to get it. You may take out a bank loan, reach out to investors or even fund it yourself. Having a business plan which identifies how much you need and what the rewards will be will also help you get funding.
10. Business Goals
Every successful business has goals. Even if your startup starts out modest, plan out where you plan to be in a year and in five years. Maybe you want to start making an overall profit within the first 6 months. Maybe you plan to expand your business to a new location within a year. Maybe you want to grow your brand and branch out into other projects after five.
Setting out short-term and long-term targets is a huge part of your business plan. This helps to identify the potential your business has and how you plan to achieve your goals.
A successful business plan will require a lot of research and a good idea. But if you put the time in and identify these ten things, you’ll set yourself up for success. A detailed startup business plan will help you appeal to funders. It’ll also help you work out how your business will thrive from the get-go.
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