Are you struggling to write your business plan? Don’t you have the time, or don’t you know where to start? Or are you struggling with getting the financials right for a getting a bank loan? Here are some of our suggestions for you.
Start without business plan?
Could you start without a business plan? Sure, but your gut feel goes only so far, however with a business plan you get 30% chance of more growth. With creating a businessplan, you become more successful in launching your business venture. The thinking behind the business plan is really necessary, it forces you to write down your business goals, and in doing so you’ll think twice on it. Then after realizing it, it becomes more focused, it allows you to share your business ideas easier with your network.
Do you really need a business plan? No, but with a plan you get more effective in reaching your goals. With a business plan you can have 30% more growth.
The common pitfalls
- The writing is too difficult. It is hard to get your ideas on paper.
- Fix: Just try it. Take your friday with 2 hours and start filling in templates. You’ll see how fast things get on paper.
- Fix: just start out with the simple framework of the template and start using bullit points to adress your thoughts. Rough setup of structure, also bullet points are ok. The main thing is that you start thinking on how your business will be. This thinking enables you to get ahead.
- Fix: write your ideas on post its – how to get customers, what is the pricing for your products, where you will start the business, why you do it, what do the customer look like etc.
- It takes to much time to create
- Fix: No need to do it all at once, you need multiple times and review, take 2 months to creates this. On and on, sometimes give it a rest for a few days, and then start again.
- I don’t know what should be in
- Fix: This is not so hard: try this business plan template – download here
- Financials is a bit boring and difficult. [find financial template here]
- Fix: Yes, but is your potential income boring? Could making a real profit be boring? Don’t you want to know what your profit is or your costs. You can learn some concepts here
- Changes in concept and ideas
- Fix: elaborate a bit on them. But it’s normal to change your setup a bit. Just accept it. It even has a name, it is called pivoting.
- Having too many ideas
- Fix: Yes, seeing market opportunities is one thing. Realizing them is one other all together. Try to get a list of your 10 most interesting ideas, then create a additional columns with profit potential, skills, fun and add a 1-10 score to this. Then multiple or add these numbers and rank results from highest to lowest. These are your rough estimates. Then you can select the most interesting one.
- Need more reference and prices estimates.
- Fix: Go find your competitors and study their pricing. This will certainly give you ideas.
- Fix: research on the internet
- More of the same.
- Fix: Always go for something unique. These unique things are called Unique Selling Points. Special valued elements for your customers: for example maybe you are faster, have more quality, are cheaper, better, more innovative, special new thing, special location (interesting city spot/excellent view), etc. Pick 3 special values and center your business and promotion around these values. For example a hairdresser: excellent service (good trained staff), innovative haircuts (new hairdo’s special paints), design (barbershop style) + you need the basics like a normal service level like a basic quality. If you need more ideas, go for the business model canvas, or blue ocean strategy canvas. Lots of books here on this subject. Aim for something different with real customer value.
How much time for creating a business plan?
How much time do you need in writing the business plan? It really depends on your effort. Mostly, it’s about structuring your thoughts in a business framework. Also the idea seems maybe interesting, but the support materials are key. How to structure and setup for example legal, infrastructure, taxes. etc. As an enterpreneur you need to adress also these not so interesting elements, but you need them. Its easy to get carried away with your new business idea, but the real part is in making it happen.
Some smart ways to review your business plan
First get a business template or a business structure. This helps you fill in your ideas in the areas you need. Also you can identify gaps you are missing. Copy paste a bit. Then as you progress, ask for feedback from others. Ask to your network if they could review it and tell you what they think. Iterate.
10 ideas to get feedback on writing your business plan
How to get feedback on your (half) written business plan
- Review of your (half) plan with business partner or friend you trust, saying this is just an idea you want to get feedback on
- Use an independent consultant – good in asking the right questions
- Ask a fellow enterpreneur, if he/she can mentor you a bit
- Ask students to write it for you – maybe ideas with a business schools student – however we think it should be your business, so asking another enterpreneur would be faster
- Student project – get’s you ideas
- Ask seasoned experts or hire freelancers to write it for you
- Going to the bank – sometimes a bank employee (small business loans desk) advice can give you good pointers where to improve. Sometimes a bank has a program for starter enterpreneurs. Go to these meetings.
- Accountants to review your financial statements – these guys breath finance. So ask them if they see pitfalls in your plan. You’ll certainly become wiser.
- Asking the business community – independent user fora to discuss your business idea
- Going to local chamber of commerce – this always helps, if you can do, do it. It will bring you certainly on new ideas, certainly on managing your business
That’s it. Just start out in writing and enhancing your plan.
p.s. Let us know what has worked for your situation and we’ll update this post. Good luck!