What is a business plan and why do I need one?
Imagine getting in a boat, shoving off from shore, skipping out through the harbor and into the open ocean. As the safety of land slowly disappears below the horizon, a cold sweat builds on your forehead. You’ve always wanted to sail around the world, but the ocean is a lot bigger that you imagined and you realize you failed to bring so much as a compass.
You slowly realize that you don’t know what to do next. Perhaps you should have planned this out a little more.
This happens every day in the uncharted world of Internet marketing. New internet marketers decide to build a blog or start an online business without any idea of what to do next.
This leaves them open to start what I call “Desperation Plan B”, which is, buying program after program to try to find one that works.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
The purpose of a business plan
Usually a Business Plan is designed to convince the reader to support a proposed project, usually with money. As a fund-raising tool, a Business Plan is invaluable. It shows prospective investors how you are planning to build your business and why they should invest in your vision.
But a well-written business plan has another purpose, especially for the new Internet Marketer. It points your virtual boat to success. Your plan must give the detail of your business with its expected needs and desired results.
Sounds like a lot of work? It can be. If you are looking for investors, your plan needs to be as detailed as possible. Fortunately, with an internet business, you can start out on a shoe-string budget, so your business plan is built to keep your business on track.
What is required to build a business plan?
A business plan requires that you have a business model in mind. Are you going to sell physical products on eBay? Are you going to be an affiliate marketer or are you going build your own products? There are quite a few internet business models out there and you need to know what you are going to do.
So… how much work is it?
Your time is valuable. You probably have a full time job, friend and family obligations.
So the time you spend on your new business is precious. You don’t want to waste it trying to figure out what to do next.
I recommend that you spend as much time as you need to plan your business. But don’t go overboard.
“A business plan should be designed to keep you focused and your business moving ahead, it is not meant to just keep you busy.”
To finally answer the question, I would like to see a final draft in a week, working on it at least 2 to 3 hours per day. Don’t be afraid to give it some more time if you need it, but try to meet that deadline. We need to get your boat in the water.
The major parts of a business plan are;
- Executive Summary – This is a summary of your entire business plan. Because it is a summary, we will be working on this as we build the rest of the plan.
- Company Summary – This will spell out what your company will actually do. What is your business model? Are you going to sell stuff on eBay? Are you going to build a Blog or a product website? What is the focus of your company?
- Company Mission – The overall “why” of your company. Why are you here, and what do you want to accomplish. This is a public statement so it needs to show your customers how they can benefit from you.
- Management Summary – A brief “who’s who” of your management team. Who they are, what their experience is and what they bring to the table. In reality, your management team is just you, at least to begin with. But this can give you an idea of when you can add new staff.
- Market Analysis Summary, or your Marketing Plan – How are you going to get customers through your virtual door? Who are your customers? Competitors? Advertising strategies? It’s all discussed here.
- Products/Services – Here you discuss the products you are going to offer to your customers and how are you going to present them.
- Strategy implementation Summary – Fancy way of saying what are you going to do day to day. First you want to look at the big picture, where you want to be 1 year from now. Then you can determine how to break that down into Daily, Weekly and Monthly goals. Don’t be afraid to go into detail.
- Timeline – How long will it take to see success? We start with the question “where do you want your business to be this time next year? Two years, five years?
- Financial Plan – How are you going to fund this venture? How much will you need? Where are you going to invest the capital? These are things that need to be thought about before you spend one single dime. Many would-be internet tycoons, even traditional bricks and mortar businesses, have failed because they lost control of their finances.
Writing a business plan is the best way to keep your business from wandering off course or giving up too early. Once you have your plan in place, don’t let it collect dust on the shelf. Review it weekly to make sure you are staying on course.Stay up to date! Enter your email below to get blog updates sent right to your e-mail! If you have any questions, comments or would like to add anything you feel might help, please feel free to post a comment. To your success! Brad