Thursday, September 14, 2006

What's in a plan

I've talked before about having a plan for your business. Have you thought about a plan?
Lets talk about common elements you should include in your plan.
1. Business overview: If you can't explain it how can you sell it
2. Competitive analysis: who are your top competitors, where are they strong, where are you strong, what differentiates you from them ... and I'm not talking about the we're the best bavado.
3. Business objectives: what do you want to do and by when. Be specific and outline what it will take to get there
4. Marketing plan: how will you promote your business and how much will you be spending on promotion (include everything from samples to seminars and advertising, web hosting, travel etc.) You want a realistic picture of how much you need to invest in your business
5. ROI: Take your plan, your investment and start outlining the financial returns for the business. It doesn't have to be complex but make it complete.

If you've taken the time to do a good business analysis, the plan you have in your hot little hands after this exercise is a workable plan for business success. Now don't let it get dusty in the corner of your office, review it weekly or monthly, adjust the activities and the results.

Your business plan is a living breathing document that will allow you to forecast expenditures and project cashflow. It's a snapshot of your path to financial freedom.

If you need more help, Microsoft has some great free templates you can download but KISS (Keep it simple stupid) you don't want to spend do much time writing the plan you have no time to implement it.

What are you waiting for, start writing.