“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin
At an early age, I was able to see opportunity where others didn’t. This led to the creation of my first successful venture when I was still in high school. To others, the opportunity I saw didn’t look like anything significant, yet my perseverance and vision produced my first success. However, that didn’t happen overnight and it definitely didn’t happen without planning.
At its core, a business plan helps a start-up showcase the validity of a business idea. It’s the best way to take a step back, look at an idea holistically, and create a road map before the work starts. It allows you to see the big picture and identify possible roadblocks before they hit. It’s about doing the leg work and understanding the viability of your ideas before you are too invested.
Before the Business Plan, Consult a Professional
A good business plan takes into account all the elements a business will need to succeed. From the value proposition of the product or service to the competitive marketplace; from the financial backing needed to the brand, culture and marketing; every detail should be considered and nurtured in one sustainable plan.
Entrepreneurs are notoriously terrible for creating thoughtful plans. Known as “doers,” they often don’t want to get bogged down in the weeks. If you are more the creative, big-picture thinker, collaborate with an expert in business start-ups to help you address and document each step of the process. However you choose to start, it’s important that these next two steps happen at the very beginning of any start-up.
Create the Idea
The first step in starting a small business plan is to do the leg work and figure out the basics. Ask yourself these two simple questions:
- What value does my idea deliver to people?
- What external resources do I need?
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it gets the ball and the idea rolling so you can proceed to the next level. If you answered “No” or “I don’t know” to either of these questions, then you are starting off on the wrong foot.
Develop the Plan
Once you have a viable idea, creating a complete and thoughtful business plan is key to not only help you move forward, but is necessary to attract investors. The “money people” want to see a complete and objective plan that outlines the risk and the reward for their investment.
A detailed and well thought out business plan will provide an organized and concise look at your idea. A solid business plan will provide direction for key elements of the business, including:
- Need Analysis
- Start-up Budget
- Financial Outlook & Break-even Analysis
- Operational Plan
- Competitive Outlook
- Risk Analysis
- Brand & Marketing Plan
Consider the business plan a roadmap for your business. But like all good maps, there will be detours and shortcuts. As you execute your business plan, be flexible enough to realize when changes are required and go back and revise your plan accordingly. Like a resume, it should be kept current and accurate at all times to take advantage of opportunities.
Roy Murad is a father, husband, business advisor, investor, advocate for new business ventures, and consummate entrepreneur. Over the course of 35 years building businesses, guiding companies and identifying strong investment opportunities, while nurturing a thriving family, Roy Murad has amassed a wealth of experience; experience, that may be of value to others who are looking to shape a balanced and successful life experience.
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