What’s the use in designing a business plan outline that doesn’t create the type of business you want to be running? At best it’s a waste of time; at worst it can trap you inside a business that you really don’t want to be involved in.
Starting with the end in mind is a good tip for many things in life and in business and below you will see how your business plan will be well served by using that mentality. We go through 4 questions you can ask, which will help you along the right road to drawing up a plan that works for you.
- What’s Your Forte?
As you set up your online business keep in mind what your niche is and what you are better at doing than everybody else.
Avoid the temptation to drift too far from your core competency – if you are a photographer wanting to get into internet marketing try it out on your own business first; get that working and successful online. It’s easy to get distracted and think there’s easy money to be made over the fence, but most of the answers usually lie closer to home.
- Who Is Your Avatar?
If you have no idea who you will be marketing to, how are you going to design and sell your products and services to them?
Know exactly who your audience is and imagine your ideal client – write their characteristics down; you may have a particular client in mind or you may not have met them yet – it doesn’t matter. But they should guide and influence everything you do from writing an email marketing campaign to filming a web video. Know who you’re speaking to!
- What Does Your Treasure Map Look Like?
Where’s the map that’s going to get you striking gold? Have you drawn it up yet, because it’s probably sitting there in your head.
Commit it to paper and show other interested parties and get their opinions. Include in your map the stages of your business that are going to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. Also, include product specifics like the RRP, cost of goods and work out the net profit – do the figures get you closer to the treasure?
- What Exactly Does Your Treasure Look Like?
When we talk about the treasure we really don’t just mean pure dollars! It’s the lifestyle you want. What is the ideal month for you and your business – see it, dream it, experience it, taste it! It probably doesn’t have you slaving away in your business, drowning in work – so what does it look like?
Then make sure the business you are designing is aimed at getting you to that perfect month within the next 4 or 5 years (sooner if possible!) How much money do you need to earn to make that perfect month a reality? Can the business you are designing provide that? If not, maybe you need to have a re-think…if it does, then there’s nothing stopping you getting started.
Some start ups dive into a business plan template without considering the above important questions that should be guiding you every step of the way. Your business plan outline should be something you refer back to again and again, so it’s worth investing time and brainpower in it.
If you are just starting out and need direction with building your online business from concept stage through to billing your first client there’s plenty more great tips in the Competition Crusher Workshop, which is free to watch just by clicking here.