Now it’s time to write a business plan. Most people think this is the most miserable part of forming their business (followed closely by raising capital); but it can be quite fun if you think of it as a blueprint for your future success or treat it as pieces of a puzzle fitting into a cohesive plan. Depending on your feasibility analysis, this should be fairly straightforward. Your product testing and feedback from your potential target market should also help guide this process.
A typical business plan includes the following parts:
- Situational Analysis: Your current marketing mix (if applicable), analysis of competitors, view of the marketplace, SWOT analysis
- Objectives & Strategies: Your strategic direction, mission statement, vision, values, and SMART goals
- Tactics: What you will do to accomplish the goals suggested above
- Segmenting, Targeting, Positioning: How the groups you want to target can be segmented, who you plan to target, how you would like the consumer to picture your brand in their minds
- Launch Plan: How you will get your business off the ground, financing strategies, retailing strategies, etc.
- Growth Plan: After launch, what is your growth potential and how you plan to reach that potential
- Marketing Mix: The 4Ps,Ways you will attract and keep customers, how you will increase brand awareness
- Projected Financials: Expanded version of what you proposed in the feasibility analysis.
Over the next eight days (excluding the weekend – everyone should take a break to keep their mind and ideas fresh), I’ll go into more detail about each of these steps. Feel free to send questions about any of these so I can cover specifics in my posts. For those of you that have already written a business plan, I would love to hear how you approached it; and together we can create a resource database.