Here’s how to come up with a business plan for your small business:
1. “Begin with a business model canvas (Steve Blank’s blog is a great resource), especially if this is your first time writing a plan.” This is, essentially, the brainstorming phase.
2. Detail your canvas. Now that you have the general layout of your business plan, go back and detail it and make it as thorough as possible. “There is a section for each major area of consideration: product description, target market, sales, marketing, operations, team, etc. You’ll want to address the who and how of each component of your business.” Just keep in mind that “thorough” doesn’t necessarily mean “lengthy.”
3. “As you write your plan, think about what will make both your company and product or service distinct from your competitors’. You’ll want to capture your unique offering, and your business plan should emphasize this.”
4. While we’ve discussed the importance of cash flow in past blogs, when you’re creating your business plan you don’t want to get too caught up with cash flow details. “The purpose of your cash flow and profitability projections isn’t necessarily to show exactly what’s going to happen; it’s to show how, within reasonable circumstances and success, your business is positioned to make money and can afford to keep the lights on.”
5. “Once you’ve completed your canvas and the high-level bullet points for the major sections of your plan, consider hiring a business writer if you’re short on time or hate writing.”