The business plan is the tool that gives form, structure and first dose of reality to your business idea.
Possibly the best remedy against the sentence: “ it is just that I have several ideas in my head and I do not know which one to choose” and that brainstorm can last for months until you are encouraged to work on it.
But, please, just DO IT.
Normally you do it for yourself to have the time to clarify ideas, make decisions and develop one of them. And the second, it is because you are going to aks for funds the Administration, Bank, Investor, Business Angel, Incubator … or when looking for Cofounders.
Let’s start simple.
Step 1: Answer these 3 questions:
- What problem do you solve?
- Who is your customer?
- Where does your potential customer currently seek help to solve the problem?
Step 2: To respond to point two, it is time to Prototype your client. You have to know perfectly, gender, age, level studies, marital status, where your client lives, what they do, social media they use, services. So identify 10 people that you can deeply investigate according to your customer profile and go to step 3.
Step 3: Interview your potential client about the problem you are going to solve. Do it in person, listen 90% and take notes or record the conversation. Stay with the words you use to identify your problem, the ways they ask for help, if you do, and what channels they use to do so. What sentences uses to search in google, Facebook. What sort of services are related to yours.
Step 4: With the result of the information do a CANVAS, is a tool of 9 modules with a certain order to structure and analyze your business idea.
- Customer segment: what kind of people do you bring value to?
- Value proposition: what value do you bring? What do you do for them?
- Channels. How are you going to find them? How are you going to communicate with them?
- Relationship with customers, what relationships will you establish with them? (individual, group, online, face-to-face, commercial …)
- Income flow: how are you going to monetize your product/service?
- Key Resources What do you have to do to make your product/service purchased? Here I recommend that you put everything, everything, everything, but I want you to think that you will need to awaken their interest through an email / call / meeting or a pdf of 3 pages. You do not need more but it requires a lot of knowledge of your client, sector and market.
- Key Activities, what do you have to do to deliver your product/service? Again, from more to less.
- Key Partnerships, what people, entities, services or companies will speed up the delivery of your business? Even if your product or service is 100% technological there is always a person behind.
- Cost structure: Identify the costs of your business model and here you have to specify from the reality, not what you want to sell. You will not simply have a cost of 50 EUR for signing up as a freelancer. Forget this. Domain, hosting, web, logo, branding, marketing, internet, telephone, platforms, your time and something that many people forget is your own expenses as a person. Your mortgage, rent, children, lifestyle already have a cost and do not disappear.
Your personal finances also count when it comes to knowing how much time you have to make your business idea profitable.
For these 4 steps you can estimate two weeks and cost 0 (the interviews is what will take you the most time because it implies the availability of others). It works whether you are currently working or if you are already 100% in your project.
Step 5: Study and learn from the competition. Who does it now? How? How much? What can you improve? And why are they going to choose you if there are others doing it?
Step 6: Business plan. With all the information you have collected, it is time to detail it. Now take a breath and above all do not get overwhelmed because I propose that you do it twice. One fast and one rigorous.
Part 1 – Basic data of the company: Name of the company, registered office, type of company (choose the legal form of the company You can find it online or visit a tax adviser who will recommend the most appropriate to your profile and project ). Sector of activity and social capital. Mission, vision and values is a plus.
Part 2 – Basic data of the project: what you do and for whom, own financing and financing from others (contemplate multiple possibilities and find out about the grants available in your Autonomous Community).
Part 3 – Promoters – Who will carry out the project, what percentage of dedication will each party offer at each moment of the project and curriculum. You may work alone or you may be looking for a CMO or CTO. Having experience in the sector is necessary and makes decisions with the head and not with the heart. The team is DETERMINING if you are going to go an investment round.
Part 4 – Product, description and advantages.
Part 5 – Production plan: Description of the production process, management systems and quality control (at least contemplated). Technology, Facilities and Machinery, Suppliers.
Part 6 – Market analysis: analysis of the sector (shows that you know what you are talking about), potential customers, competition analysis and SWOT.
Part 7 – Marketing Plan: pricing strategy, sales policy, promotion and advertising, distribution scheme (here remember to develop B2B and B2C strategies). After-sales service and guarantee.
Part 8 – Organization and human resources: Management team and staff. You will start doing almost everything but it is important that you have a long-term vision of where you want to take your business.
Part 9: Financial plan: the first access to videos, tutorials or financial courses for non-financial so you understand each concept well. You need to know what funds you need, if they are your own, foreign or mixed. Calculate the expected benefits and remember that the project is viable as long as there is liquidity. Familiarize yourself with the Income Statement and the balance sheet (check with your advisor periodically) and above all, understand the indicators of your business that you will discover as you develop your activity.
Are we done? No. This has just begun. The business plan can take you from two weeks to months depending on your availability and above all level of involvement.
Does the business plan guarantee the success of my company? No, but it is necessary and it guarantees you that you will learn a lot about your client, sector, competence and the bases to make a business plan that serves as a starting point for yours, to evaluate proposals or to launch initiatives in your career.
So go ahead, go for it.
Let’s take some emotion out of your business idea at this moment and be focus on this work and in learning more. And remember, if you want to do it faster and with support, I’ll wait for you at FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAM.