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Writing a business plan isn't optional just because you consider this simply
a home business. You are a small business owner. A written business plan
is required to secure finances or investors in your new home business. Starting
a home business with your own funds and ideas doesn't mean you don't need
a business plan.
A written business plan is critical to every home business. The thought process
and research involved in writing your business plan will reveal the blue
print for your home business.
There are numerous paid and free business plan products that you can use
to develop your own home business plan. Unless you are seeking investors
in your small business, you can learn how to write a business plan that keeps
your business working toward your goals. To have a well written small business
plan, you will find your goals easier to reach and keep track of your progress
both with building your customer base and sales.
Starting a home business without a writing a well thought out business plan
is like building a house without a blue print to guide you every step of
Your home business foundation built on these eight areas will give your business
a strong identity and focused sense of direction to help you plan and manage
your business effectively.
#1) Business Summary.
Write out a description of your business. What kind of company do you want
to build? A well written description or summary of your business often propels
you through each step of how to write a business plan. Writing the summary
first means you will always have the basic premise of your home business
idea at the top of everything you put in your business plan.
#2) Name Your Business.
You may think that your direct sales business already has a company name
but that is not the name of YOUR business. Creating a distinct name for your
business will help make your plan. Does your business name reflect what you
offer? Is it easy to remember? Does it have strong branding potential? Should
you reconsider your current business name if it not working with your product?
Make sure the name of your business fits not only your product or services
but your mission statement.
#3) Itemize Your Products or Services.
Write out descriptions of your products; how do they look, smell, taste,
feel or how your services will help others reach their own goals in life.
How will your offerings improve the lives of others? Sort through why others
aren't already doing it and if they are offering exactly what you are going
to offer then what prevents the competition from doing it better or more
cheaply than you are.
#4) Mission Statement.
Your mission statement is a concise clear summary of the goals of your business.
In your mission statement, you will define exactly what your business does,
the products or services offered and what makes your business unique above
the competition. Writing the bottom line of your business goals into your
mission statement will guide the rest of your business plan.
#5) Business Assessment.
A major portion of your home business plan is a detailed assessment of four
areas: your strengths, your weaknesses or limitations, business and marketing
opportunities and threats or barriers to your potential success. At this
stage of your business plan, you will be looking at your industry. Your work
experience and talents that will add to your business would fall under your
list of strengths. Your lack of knowledge or funds could be listed as your
weaknesses. Take into account how broad your industry is when you are looking
at your strengths and weaknesses. If you have little money for start up then
you will need to be creative in your marketing and running your business.
Will your weaknesses mean your opportunities for success are limited? Will
your talent surpass your lack of funds?
Opportunities for business growth may be dependent on your networking contacts
or website design. Every business owner should remain wary of all threats
to business success. Planning for problems before they arise will make running
a business easier and more successful in the long run. As you can see this
aspect of business planning is critical to all of your vision, your mission
statement, your goal setting and running your home business.
#5) Goal Setting.
Write your vision for your business. Be specific. You can revise this as
your goals and mission changes. How do you envision your business a year
from now then five years from now? Write out your goals and objectives. Break
down each product or service into their own set of goals. Plan for expansion
as your business evolves.
Goals are useless unless you can measure your progress towards them and plan
to regularly assess which goals have been met or still need to be fulfilled.
Make your goals specific and time sensitive. With each business goal, itemize
what needs to be in place to reach each of your goals. Outline what steps
you will take to reach the goals for your home business. Mark your calendar
when its time to re-evaluate your goals and re-align your vision for your
business to match the direction your business is going.
Celebrate when you reach your goals and regroup when you realize you missed
the mark. It's important to decide what you consider to be a major loss and
what you will accept as unsuccessful. Knowing what you will accept and absorb
as a business loss before it happens will help prepare you for when it actually
#6) Target Market.
Research your desired target market. Identify who you expect to buy your
products or services. Write a profile of your average customer. You need
to know your target before you are able to aim. Study your potential customer's
behavior. Where do they shop? What do they read? Do they move in specific
social circles? Who wants or needs your business? Who will benefit from your
product? What type of people will find your business a necessity?
You cannot expect to fill a need or desire of a customer if you do not know
what makes your offer unique and necessary. Look at those that offer similar
products with success. Write out how you can rise above and differentiate
yourself from the competition. At this stage of your business plan, describe
how you can stand out from the crowd. Write down how and why your company
is better than the competition. Study the competitions latest marketing
strategies then outline here how you plan to counteract their business moves
to give you the edge you need to stay unique and effective.
While studying your customers and competition, take the extra time to identify
complementary products or services that may fit your current business plan
that may give the edge you need to compete in the future.
#7) Sales and Marketing Strategies.
How will anyone know your business exists? What steps will you take to make
your business known? How will your customers find you? What can you do to
ensure that you attract the customers you seek? How will you track your efforts?
How much money do you have to put these strategies in place?
List your strategies - press release, printed catalogs, business cards, open
house, craft fairs, business, conventions, virtual expos, sales letters,
Determine whether you will market exclusively online, locally to your warm
market or a combination of both. If online marketing is part of your business
plan then include an internet marketing plan to include your domain name
and host, whether you will hire a professional website designer or do it
yourself, your business logo and e-commerce set up.
#8) Business Start Up.
Determine what equipment and services you will need to run your business
to include setting up your home office, equipment, supplies, product inventory,
customer record keeping, and book keeping. Create a checklist of professionals
you need to secure for legal and financial advice, advertising expertise,
office assistance or tax expertise.
Starting a home business can be exciting and scary because it is Your dream
that you are working towards with each work day. To write a business plan,
means a great deal of commitment to the process. The process of writing a
business plan will bring you closer to understanding yourself, your business
goals, your company identity and reaching your potential customers.
Although these areas are critical to writing a business plan, there is much
more that will be added to your plan over time. Each time you reach a goal
or discover a barrier to making the sale ~ you will return to your business
plan and revise your goals, strategies and techniques.
Business success is in the plan and implementation but also in the ability
to adjust and redefine your business goals to meet your customers need or
desire while letting you design your home business your way!
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