A business plan is the backbone of every business, whether it is a small family run business or a big corporate house. Proper planning is very much essential to ensure survival and growth of any business.
So, if you are going to setup your own small business, your first step is to make a business plan. If you plan well ahead , chance of success will be more. A business plan includes various dimensions. I'll list each of them. So, let us start. My assumption is that you are the owner of your business and your business is a one-man show or atmost supported by your family members.
Write down a small single sentence stating clearly your business objective, it is the very starting point of all the business plans. I can give you one good example of this one. A renowned brand before opening their new retail stores all over India stated their objective is to provide fresh vegetables to the end users and make them happy. This is their basic plan. Very simple indeed but it transpires the basic business objective. Similarly, you have to write your business objective, it must be simple, unambiguous and realistic.
- Describe your product or services:
This is the second major step for development of a business plan. You must write in full details what are the products or services that you are going to offer. Write down the salient feature of each product, including pricing, taxes, shipping and delivery charges and time involved.
- Set up your financial goal:
First of all a word of caution. Never setup any unrealistic goal, otherwise, you may be frustrated quite soon. Setup your goals that you think is achievable. If you have just started your business and really do not have much idea about how much it can yield, then atleast try to run your business at break-even point within three to six months of starting. Most of the small business venture experiences a premature death because they aim at too high in a very short span of time.
- List all available resources:
Resources include manpower, machinery, raw material or finished product , your knowledge or expertise in a domain. Whatever you have or you know, and if that is somehow related to your present business, include them under the head available resources. Try to use each of the available resources in the most effective way. This will reduce your business overheads. For example if you already have some free space, you can use it for office purpose instead of hiring a new office premises in the very beginning.
This is one major part of your business plan. You must know where the market is, how much big is the market. After all it is where you are going to get revenues from. The better knowledge you have about the market, the better will your products/services sell. Stay-at-home Moms are usually successful in cosmetic/jewelry business for their access to the end users. I have seen a lot of them selling garments, bed-sheets and bed-covers and earning a lot. The key ingredient for their success is that they know the market. May be, they have access to a very small section of that market, but, still that is enough for them to run their business in profit.
Once you have identified the market, you need to setup a marketing plan. You can promote your products and services in varieties of ways. Most of them involve certain cost. So, if you want to make a cost-effective campaign, use leaflets, posters and banners; publish classified advertisements in newspapers also word of mouth is the free but the most effective mode of campaign. So, try to tell about your products and services to as many person as you can each day. I have seen a renowned holiday resort company started its marketing campaign based on word of mouth alone. And it worked.
This is the most important part of every business plan. Every business needs certain amount of investment in the form of fixed and running capital. So, after completing all other plans, calculate how much capital you require to start your business and how much capital you need to run your business on a monthly basis. In any case , you must keep in reserve atleast six months running capital before starting any business. And now estimate the revenues that you may generate. If you have no previous data, take the break-even point as your staring sales target. Your financial plan should reflect achieving break-even point within three to six months and generating profits thereafter. It should take into account all sorts of expenses and probable income from your business.
- Strategic planning and implementation
Be very specific to prepare a strategic plan of how to run your business. It involves management responsibilities, daily work schedule, marketing and promotional schedule, progress monitoring and reviewing schedule.
After covering all the aspects, start a survey campaign. Discuss about your new business and its various dimensions with your friends and family members. Take their feedback. Modify your plan, if required. But stick to the plan once you have finalised it, atleast, for a period of two years.
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