Guest Author - Kim O´Shea
A business plan is crucial to ensuring that your business gets the best possible start. Money is often wasted on non essential items and a good business plan helps to focus attention on the important aspects.
The first page of the plan should include business details, name (if any), contact details, type of business to be carried out, proposed type of items to be sold, address the business is to be carried on in and any other relevant information.
The next page should be an index to the plan to enable you or any interested person to quickly find the information they are seeking and to give a general overview of the scope of the plan.
Your vision statement or mission statement should come next. Take time to really think about what you want to achieve from your business. This can be updated as time goes by so just go with what feels right at the moment.
Next you need to detail your products and services. What you intend to sell and how. This only needs to be a rough guideline but focusing on it will help to concentrate your mind.
Now detail your educational background and practical background. If you worked in a store this could mean that you are used to dealing with customers and could be a big asset to your business. You may be very well qualified to start your own business without even realizing it!
The next section deals with your motivation and goals. Think about this carefully as this could be very important to your success. If you are starting the business because someone told you to you will not have the same motivation and drive as someone who wants the business for personal reasons.
The time has come to think about your personal qualities. Do you like haggling over prices? Do you enjoy emailing people? Are you up for a challenge? These and many more similar questions will help you feel more confident about taking that first step.
Examine your market strategy and detail the research you have done or intend to do. Your marketing strategy could be as simple as taking great pictures or writing excellent descriptions. It may be that you decide to offer free postage. Think about what you can offer to make your business stand out from the rest.
Document your main competitors and how you will compete with them. The more you know about your business the more successful it will be.
Think about the other details. Do you need extra insurance if you are planning to store goods at home? Who will do your accounts? Do you have a tax advisor?
The final step is to sit down and do out a set of projected accounts. These need not be precise but you need to ensure that you remember to include all expenses. Light, heat, stationery, internet charges, eBay fees and postage are just some of the expenses you should include.
When you are finished, tidy up the document - spell check, read through and edit where necessary. When you are happy with it, print it off and put it into a binder where you can refer to it from time to time. This will help you to stay on track and don’t forget to update it as you go.
A good business plan is a plan for success.