As I wrote in Volume 1, writing the business plan was something I was kinda dreading…WHY? I think it all comes down to trying to fit into a ‘normal’ business plan format that was dry and all numbers. Starting with the Core Values loosened me up and gave me some confidence (read about that here if you missed the entry), but I was still very apprehensive about tackling a traditional business plan. In order to stay on-track I needed to break it down to its most simple form.
Let’s start with the basics: What is a business plan?
A business plan is exactly that – It’s a plan (roadmap) for how you will conduct your business. What is your product/service, where will you sell it, how will you market, who is your target audience, how much will it cost, how much will it make/profit, who are the key players. That’s it. You want to know the answers before you start your business so it’s worth taking the time to plan it out!
How many years out should you make your plan? I would break this into: immediate set-up of business, when will you be profitable, what does it look like in 3 years, do you have ultimate goals long term (one-million dollar business or ten million dollar business?). Of course you can go further but especially when starting from nothing, 3 years feels like a lot of learning you need to experience before projecting year 5.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” -Yogi Berra
So why is the plan so important?
First and foremost: Life is full of distractions – if you don’t have a clear plan it’s easy to get off course. Having your ‘eyes on the prize’ and to bring focus EARLY helps. Also important: If you DO have a plan, it’s easy to articulate the business to others – including investors and those with potential to help (manufacturers, marketing partners). Trust me, everyone will be asking you what your business is all about and being able to give the elevator pitch gives you credibility. My favorite reason: Having a written plan allows you to initially test the feasibility of the business and then later track progress.
This is a great place to start:
Here is the shell I came up with for the Jane Winchester plan (the questions we needed to answer) so we had our roadmap:
- Summary: what’s my elevator pitch
- Company Description: Inspiration behind Jane Winchester, what makes it special. I’ll include a ‘mood board’ here for the vibe of the brand.
- Strategy Statement
- Market Analysis: What does the business segment look like, is it growing, where is the Jane Winchester opportunity in this business segment, who is the competition
- Consumer Profile: Who is our customer, demographic and psychographic
- Product Plan/what are we making: Designs, Materials, Production
- Distribution Plan, where will we sell it
- Marketing Plan, how will people find out about it
- Financial Projections
- Who is running this company, principes (Janie and husband Doug, Naomi on graphics help and Sabrina as editor!)
- Core Values
This article was a guidepost for me – check it out on Forbes.
For a peek into our plan I have inserted our strategy statement and big-picture product, selling and marketing outline below:
In the end, I had fun writing the business plan and this was my path to get there – I am sure there are many others. Have any questions? I’d be HAPPY to talk about my experience or help you work through any challenges you are facing while writing a business plan. Contact me HERE.
Tons of love and xx, Janie