Some Good Advice from SCORE on Business Planning

I've copied this post from a SCORE blog post found hereSCORE is a great organization supporting small businesses. 

5 Tips To Nail Your Small Business Plan

How To Write a Business Plan

You would never start a road trip without a map planned destination. So why would you start a new enterprise without a solid business plan? 

Every business owner needs a plan, whether they are running a tiny retail store, a stall at a craft market, or an independent social media business. 

You only need to look at small business survival rates to see why. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 30% of businesses make it to their fifth year. And though we don't have full details on each failed firm, research from CBinsights shows that:

  • 42% failed because there was no market need for their product or service
  • 29% ran out of funding
  • 18% failed because of pricing problems 

A strong business plan can mitigate all of these issues. This article will share five tips to help you build one. 

1. Create your plan with a purpose for your business

Business plans generally include five key sections:

  • Executive summary 
  • Business idea
  • Market analysis 
  • Management and personnel plan
  • Financial plan

More detail-oriented plans also include a competitor analysis, SWOT analysis of current market conditions (including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), operations plan, an analysis of the business's target market, and how you chose your branding.

No matter which structure you use, each section is designed to answer one key question: "why our business will do (x)."

So how do you convey your purpose in your business plan? Ideally, you'll want to convey your values, what you want to contribute to society and your business goals. If your business has employees, you should also outline the working environment you want to give them. 

2. Focus on your business model  

If one of your employees read your business model, would it give them enough tangible information to run your new business without you? 

While you don't need to reveal all your trade secrets in your plan, sound plans outline the enterprise's business model in detail so anyone can follow it. This means including:

  • How your business will generate revenue 
  • How your business will reach profitability 
  • How you will grow your business from a side hustle
  • Every cost your business will incur (and how you will pay for them)
  • How you hire, train, retain, and care for staff
  • Who will complete each task 
  • How you will handle business-disrupting disasters like COVID-19
  • How you will evaluate your business's progress towards your goal

While outlining these details may seem over-the-top, it will save you time and money long-term — as the clearer your business plan is, the easier it is to follow. 

3. Seek help from professionals

When new small business owners design their first business plan, they often leave large sections (like the financial or marketing plan) ...............

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