What Should Your Business Plan Look Like in 2018?

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The business world is changing year on year – nothing stays the same for too long these days, what with the major advancements in technology and how fast everything is moving overall. Creating a business plan used to be about looking ahead to the next 10 years and deciding what you’d do with your business and where you wanted it to be, but things can change far too quickly these days to project that far into the future. Here are some pointers for entrepreneurs who are yet to start their business and want to create a plan suitable for 2018:

Keep Your Business Plan Short

Your business plan needs to be short and sweet. You’re going to be using this plan in the coming months to stay focused and make decisions, but you may also use it to secure funding. Nobody who could offer you funding is going to want to read through 100 pages of your business plan. They’re likely going to be a very busy person, and they simply won’t have the patience.

 

Suitable For You

Your business plan needs to be written not just to secure funding, but so that it’s suitable for you to use, too. It should help you to grow your business over time, and be something you can refine later on. Your business plan shouldn’t go stale – you should look to update it when appropriate!

Suitable For Your Audience

Your business plan also needs to be written so that it’s suitable for investors to read through and understand where their money will be going. Here’s an idea of what you should include in your business plan:

  • Summary – this is an overview of your business and plan, should be around two pages long.
  • Opportunity – here you should outline what you are selling, who the competition is, who the target market is, and any other relevant information.  
  • Execution – how will you turn your opportunity into a business? Also include your marketing and sales plan.
  • Team and company – describe your current team and who you need to hire to succeed.  
  • Financial plan – include a financial forecast and know your numbers so that investors can feel more confident in what you’re saying to them.
  • Appendix – here you should include product images and additional information.  
  • Executive summary – introduce your company, explain what you do, explain what you’re looking for from your readers. Should be able to stand alone.

Make sure you talk about what you’ll spend money on in your business plan, as well as how investors will get their money back from you. You need to make it attractive. You could even include where you’re going to get equipment and machinery from. Have a look at TruckDealersAustralia.com.au today to get a good idea of prices and what you can include in your plan. You should also include a one sentence overview and summarize the problem you are solving. Knowing your target market is absolutely imperative. This is because your business plan needs to outline what makes you unique and why customers will come to you rather than the competition.

Who are the competition? What will you do differently? Know your exact funding requirements too – you need to know what you’re asking for, even if you expect you will get a counter offer. Remember, you can find templates online if you need one.

Don’t Follow Your Passion, Follow The Market

Follow your passion. Follow your heart. Monetize your hobby.

Trust me, I’ve heard it all.

In an ideal world, you’d find your ideal clients and sell to them like crazy, but that’s not realistic.

I’ve learned over time that is has less to do with passion, but more about identifying what’s thriving in the market.

Now thriving isn’t a code word for trendy. It means industries that have staying power.

Just like there are very few new ideas, don’t be overly concerned with competition. The same reason why gas stations and fast food establishments purposely open locations near each other proves this point.

Each industry tends to have a giant or market leader which signifies a strong want (perceived need) in society. With so many options to choose from, positioning your idea boils down to uniqueness.

In most instances it’s your brand story, featured benefit or “patented” process.

Whatever your unique selling proposition (USP) is, it’s much wiser to bring to a visible market than an invisible one.

Take for instance coaching. I’ve been doing it for 10+ years, but it’s still not part of a thriving market. Coaching is more of a “how” than a “what” therefore I’m more focused on ideas that utilize coaching in the process, but it’s not the main offering.

Coaching is an example of being in an invisible market because every time you approach a prospective customer you’re faced with a “double sell” proposal. That means the initial sell is educating what you are selling, then you have to follow up with a secondary sell to get paid. It’s not an ideal situation to put yourself through.

Market research becomes invaluable since you want to enter an area that’s already hot. No matter how great your idea is, the uphill battle of trying to educate people about what your product/service does isn’t worth your time or investment.

We’re fortunate to live in a time where information is readily accessible at our fingertips, so take advantage of it! Don’t be discouraged about developing your idea, but before moving forward make sure there’s a clear market for it’s entrance.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, it’s already been created.