Your new biz needs a plan
Sixth in an 11-part series about starting a business.
Roger Pierce, Special to QMI Agency
Starting a business is a time of high creativity. You have many exciting ideas for your business. However, at some point, it is important to get the basics on paper — to write a formal business plan.
Every business needs a business plan, whether you are running a one-person operation from home or intending to run a conglomerate.
A plan will be used to guide your efforts, to raise financing and to rally your team of advisers, employees and vendors. By writing a short plan you’ll automatically separate yourself from the majority of new business owners who don’t plan — and subsequently fail.
Because your plan is a summary of the decisions you’ve made and the actions you want to take, you shouldn’t write it until you’ve decided on a product or service, conducted market research, identified your preferred business structure and created a business vision.
The ideal plan presents the next three years of your business. It should be concise (10 pages) and written in plain language.
A typical plan includes a bunch of sub-plans, including an executive summary (what your business does, who owns it and who it will serve); a marketing and sales plan; a financial plan (cash flow forecast, projected income statement, margins, break-even point and start-up budget); business structure (corporation, sole proprietor or partnership); a people plan (for recruiting, training and motivating employees); an operations plan and any technology requirements.
I’m happy to send you a free business plan template if you e-mail me at roger@biz launch.ca.
Don’t panic if your small business doesn’t evolve exactly as planned. Be prepared to adapt to unforeseen events or changes like new competitors, new technology or new customer trends. Be true to your business plan objectives but be flexible in the way you achieve them.
In the next installment I’ll talk about how to recruit a great team of advisers.
— Startup expert Roger Pierce has launched 10 businesses in 20 years. Through his company, BizLaunch, and his book and columns, he’s advised thousands of startups worldwide. E-mail email@example.com.