Did you know that December is national write a business plan month? December has always been a time for reflect and a time to look towards the future when it comes to planning for the next year. Women own 42% of all companies in the U.S. and 50% of all women-owned businesses are minority-owned. Black women are leading the way at starting new businesses, planning your business is necessary for women of color to have a better chance of succeeding and acquiring funding.
As a business owner, you need to develop a business plan. The business plan is a living document that will help ensure you reach your goals. Your business plan should predict what revenue you should make and how much profit you’ll turn over in working capital. Essentially, it is a road map for the early years of your company and outlines how you intend to grow the company. But you don’t have to spend days or months developing your business plan. When starting out or pivoting consider writing a simplified version or a one page business plan.
To write an effective one page business plan, you have to cover the basics: discuss the market potential for your business and how your products or services will add value, what your competition looks like, explain your financial plan, and share your goals. Keep in mind that all the parts of a business plan should only be a few sentences, so it’s important to be clear and concise.
The best part of a simplified or one page business plan is that it’s easy to adjust. The most important aspects of running your business are the main characters of your business plan. You simplified plan should include:
- Business Overview: think of this as a shortened executive summary, here you can outline the companies details such as the business structure, details about the founders, the mission, value and vision statements.
- Competitive and Market Analysis: here is where you highlight details about the industry and the business opportunity you are solving, document what makes your company standout from the competition.
- Sales and Marketing Plan: this is where you describe how you plan to get the attention of your customers and how you plan to reach your revenue goals.
- Financial Plan: your financial plan should provide insight to your startup cost, project at least 3 years of expenses, revenue and profit. These numbers should be based on actual information you gather from your competitive and market analysis.
Remember that you can and should update your business plan as your business evolves. If your business model changes or your company’s financial situation improves, you can alter the business plan to account for these changes. You can change your business plan at any time to help you reflect on the goals and realities of your business as it grows and changes.
Here are my top 3 tips to remember when writing your business plan:
1. Know your target market and your competition: Some business owners avoid talking about direct and even in-direct competitors. This is a mistake. Unless you’re creating a new industry, you will have competitors and it’s important to know what they are doing so you can show the marketplace why you are doing it better.
2. Get your financial information right: Your business plan’s financial plan section will help you set realistic goals and if you are trying to get investors, new partner and funding your cash flow should be documented in full, and your sales predictions need to be well founded. While costs are easier to predict than sales, both must be included.
3. Implement your business plan properly: A business plan should be a tool you use to set goals and to measure performance. It will guide your detailed strategy and the development of your business. It should contain specific goals, deadlines and responsibilities. It must be reviewed and updated regularly.
If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of writing a business plan or you don’t know where to start, start with a simple version. The HerSuiteSpot Business Planning and Goal Setting Manifesto walks you through the most important aspect of planning your business and documenting your goals and creating an action to achieve those goals. Learn more about joining HerSuiteSpot and getting access to coaching, community and capital for your small business.