A business plan is essential if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. It lays down clearly what your business is all about, the products and services it provides, the profit margins, pricing plans and the type of customers you are seeking. Banks and investors will all need to see your business plan before they offer you any funds.
Once you have found a decent business idea that you think has some merit then it is time to put on your thinking hats and do some careful research.
Here are some basic questions you need to ask in the beginning:
Is the name available?
Does your business name clearly reflect what you do?
How would it work within a website?
Is the domain name available?
Is it easy to pronounce and spell?
Is it memorable?
When creating a business name, it is important that you take all the above factors into account. You will spend a lot of time and effort in promoting it so therefore it must reflect your business, be easy on the tongue and simple to market.
Location, Location and Location
Where are you going to situate your business?
Is there adequate traffic from your ideal types of customers?
Is there ample parking?
Is the location within easy reach of all public transport?
How easy is it to get to and from work?
If you manage to find the ideal location and you have a good business idea, customers will come in droves to buy your wares.
Products and Services
How is your business going to make money?
What products or services are you going to supply?
Is there a need in the marketplace for your products or services?
How big is your marketplace?
How will you compete with your competitors?
What are your unique USPs (Unique Selling Points)?
How will you price your products?
Every business needs good products and services to market. If your products are not unique and your prices are about the same as your competitors, then you will have to provide much better service than everybody else to make people buy from you.
Customers are the Lifeblood of any Business
What is the demographic of your ideal customer?
How close or far are your ideal customers?
Do they have enough free capital to buy your wares?
How will you make initial contact with them?
What can you offer to make them buy from you?
Finding new customers is very difficult for any business so make sure you also have a firm strategy in place for keeping them after going to all the trouble of getting them!
Who is going to manage the business?
Who is going to do the selling?
Who will take care of the administration?
How many staff will you need?
Without good business management the business will most definitely fail. A good business is all about having key people in place to deal with all aspects of the business.
All business plans need to start from someplace. If you manage to answer the above questions after careful research, then you are ready to do some serious number crunching. Many banks now have free software that you can use to create the perfect business plan. The software is really simple to use, you answer all the questions, fill in the blanks and once you have finished, out comes your business plan all ready for final checks and adjustments.
The great thing about using software to create your plan is that you can go back and adjust it whenever the situation demands it and voila, all the figures automatically change. Once you have a decent business plan then you are ready to meet banks and investors to seek funding for your business idea.
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