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Getting Started with Your Business Plan

Are you ready for 2016? The new year will be upon us before we have a chance to blink, and if you and your business prepare in advance, you can crush your goals for the upcoming year. If you’re looking for fundamentals on creating a successful business plan, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a moment to talk about how you can craft a business plan that will drive success in 2016.

Defining your Purpose

At the core, a business plan is your set of guidelines that will lead you and your company to find success. If you’ve ever kept a set of sticky notes of tasks you’ve needed to take care of, you’ve written a business plan, at least in the simplest form. Let’s bring it to the next level though; if you’re writing a formal business plan, you’re going to want to include an executive summary, an overview of the company, list your product and service information, craft a marketing plan, a list of major goals you’d like to accomplish, information on your team and each employee’s role, and then have a dedicated financial plan with a budget in place. These are going to be the sections of your business plan that will help you craft the fine details later on.

Types of Plans

Depending on what type of company you own, you may need a certain type of business plan. Business plans can range from short term one-page plans to extensive annual plans that focus on growth for the upcoming year. One of the more common plans you could craft is a “lean plan,” in which the only things included would be setting up your core strategy, setting up guidelines to execute your strategy, outlining specific goals and milestones, and defining your essential numbers or metrics.  There are also standard plans, which will have all of these elements, but also sales forecast, estimated profit and loss, cash flow sheets, and more. There are also business plans specialized just for start-ups, some for growth and expansion, and some specifically for developing a strategy. Your first step to crafting your perfect business plan is to determine the type of plan your business needs, then stick with it.

Your Initial Steps

Before you sit down and craft your plan, it’s best to assess your company’s vision, and have a good understanding of the direction your future is headed in. You can start by drafting a clear mission statement, list factors that drive success, and include an analysis of your marketplace. Your mission statement should define the concept of your business as a whole, and should include your services, products, and should clearly define the benefits for your customers. Your keys of success should focus on the work that drives revenue, this way your employees keep it in the forefront of their minds after reviewing your plan.  Lastly, analyze your marketplace; even if you are the best at what you do, an unhealthy market can still hurt you. Since the marketplace is a variable you can’t control, you should include it in your plan, and consider all possible situations, both good and bad.

Stay Tuned

We’re just getting started here folks. There’s a lot to think about when crafting the perfect business plan, so we’re going to work at it a little bit at a time. Check back next week for the next blog in our series on business planning, where we will talk about individual steps on how you can craft your plan. Remember, no business is free from worry unless you have the protection you need. If you’d ever like to discuss opening an insurance policy for your company or business, or have questions about your existing policy, please feel free to call any of our professional agents for help at any time!

 

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