5 steps to writing a lean business plan

Congratulations! You have brewed up a business idea and you’re ready to  get your business started!

Starting a new business can sometimes feel very similar to starting a new relationship. You’re filled with excitement, anticipation and trepidation as you venture into this new and exciting chapter of your life.

Although it is extremely exciting starting a new business venture, it is also vitally important to contain your eagerness and excitement to prevent yourself from jumping into the business world head-first.  Instead, we advise to take the first few steps slowly and cautiously, to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success instead of dead-ended failure. We recommend drafting up a high level business plan during these early stages as it will help to give you a clear picture of how you expect you will run, market and manage your business that you can then begin to test through customer engagement.

First time drafting up a high level business plan? Here’s 5 simple steps to help get you started.

1. Create a clear picture

In order to effectively create a business plan you need to have clear ideas and goals that you would like to achieve with your business. You need to identify the specific product that you will be introducing into the market,  how you will make the product and how you will market the product to prospective buyers. This is where research  becomes extremely effective to help gather all relevant information  and to see where you competitors stand in the market.

2. Create a company profile

After completing step one, we’re guessing that you’re feeling confident and ready to get things started, so the next step is to introduce your new business by creating a company profile. Use this company profile as your way of introducing your product to the market. Clearly outline what you business plans to do ,what your business can offer, who your targeted audience and market will be and why people should buy/use your product. Including a mission or vision statement in your company profile that is intriguing and displays your passion for your business,  will also help to create a meaningful connection with potential buyers.

3. Have a ‘play dough’ business plan

Business markets change all the time which is why it is so important to ensure that you incorporate a ‘play dough’ business plan that can be malleable to suit the ever-changing market. This will not only give you the upper hand over some businesses that have their business plans set in stone, but it will also broaden your horizons with potential customers. If you can tweak a few aspects of your business plan to suit different audiences, you’re not only increasing your business market, but will also be increasing your profits too. What’s a better win than that!

4.  Identify goals and milestones

You would have touched on goals briefly in step one,  however this is where you will really look into the goals and milestones that you will want to achieve with your business. Identifying these goals and milestones will set you up with guidelines to follow in order to execute each goal. It is also vitally important that your goals and milestones fit within the SMART goals guidelines (we elaborated more on this in  our previous blog  on measuring business growth – check it out here)  so that they stay realistic and achievable.

5. Create a financial forecast

How many times do you check the weather forecast for the week ahead to see whether Sunday will be hot and sunny? You look at the forecast because you want to know whether you are able to do your planned activity without the hassle of rain.  Creating a financial forecast for your business has the same importance as a weather forecast! It allows you to have a glimpse of what your finances are doing within your business  now and what they should be looking like in the future and whether anything needs to be altered within the business plan in order to meet these prospective financial goals.

We hope that these 5 simple steps  help with the initial drafting of your new business plan. However, creating a business plan is just the beginning, as it is important to go back and revise your business plan every three months  to evaluate whether your business plan is being successful or if changes are needed to be made.

Given these 5 steps a go and still unsure whether your business plan covers everything that you need?  Book a mentoring session with the Gold Coast Innovation Hub. Enquire via team@gchub.com.au

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