How to Write a Business Plan in 3 Easy Steps (plus an announcement)Posted by Jessica Oman
Wait a minute now. You didn’t really think writing a business plan was going to be that simple, did you? It sort of is, and I’ll tell you why later. But first, let’s discuss why you need a business plan at all, in case you need a refresher.
If you read this blog, then you already know that a business plan is your company’s roadmap. It depicts where you are now, where you’re going, and what it will look like when you get there. If you’re currently in business, a plan can also tell you where you’ve already been (and that’s important, because you need to know how far you’ve come).
A business plan is essential for obtaining business loan financing, too; most lenders want to see a plan with a clear strategy and marketing plan, detailed monthly projected cash flow, and a solid description of the business’s potential for success.
Even though a business plan isn’t always the most fun document to write, the exercise of analyzing your business and your industry can really help you focus your efforts as an entrepreneur. Yes, things will change all the time, but if you know your customers and have outlined some different ways to reach them, you’re more likely to have a successful company. Similarly, if you understand the current and projected financial health of your company, you can more easily assess how you’re doing and know sooner whether you need to change anything in your business to make it healthier.
Can you see why a business plan is so important? Don’t you wish it were easier to write one?
Here are three things you can do to get un-stuck:
1. Commit to the entire process.
You must decide you’re going to write the plan, and that you’ll go all the way with it. What I mean by that is, you’ll write the plan – AND you’ll use it, review it and revise it as much as you need to. The plan is inherently built to be as dynamic as your business, and you need to write it so it serves its purpose and helps you grow.
2. Be accountable.
It helps to have a person or group of people breathing down your neck to make sure you get something done on time. Ask your spouse, best friend, business partner, or employee – but ask someone. Set deadlines with that person and agree on what they’ll do if you start slacking. I recently joined a program that helped me complete a big project I’d had on the back burner. It’s called the Project Program, and if you’re interested in it, just click. Natalie and Matthew will keep you focused so you get your business plan project done in 4 weeks.
3. Take advantage of existing resources.
Even though your business is unique, the business plan writing process isn’t. There are many templates and articles out there that will help you. Some of them are free, but you’ll only get the amount of personal guidance that you pay for (read:none). If you’re a really strong self-starter, free resources might be enough. But if they aren’t…then keep reading.
I’m really excited to tell all of you that we’ll be launching a new business planning guide in January 2013! It’s called How to Write a Business Plan to Secure Financing and Launch Your Entrepreneurial Journey – and it’s specifically designed to get you through the process in a month or less. It includes templates, explanations (in plain language! Just imagine), links, resources, and even – get this – complimentary email support directly from me, for an entire month following your purchase.
The guide will be available in the first week of January, but you can buy it already. At $97, it’s a steal, but if you add your name to our newsletter list below, you’ll be able to get it for even less while pre-orders are open. So if you think this might be of interest to you at all, sign up – it doesn’t cost a thing, and you’ll get the chance to learn a thing or two about business plan writing just by opening our twice-monthly emails.
Just enter your email in the sign-up box in the bottom of this email, and you’ll get an email from us telling you the next step to getting that business plan project done so you can go back to being the awesome entrepreneur that you are!