Your business plan is like having a map that shows you where you are going and how to get there. Every quarter you can review your progress and if needed reevaluate strategies or even adjust goals. Here is an outline of what your business plan should cover.

Client Summary

A client summary is a profile of your ideal customer. You want to be able to describe in detail who that person. Where do they live? How old are they? These are all demographic questions you want to have answers for and you will also want to look at psychographic questions too such as where do they spend time? Who else do they follow? What sort person are they? You will also want to be able to describe what pain or problem they have related to your niche and this will enable you to decide exactly what it is your business does the best to solve their number one problem.

Brand Summary

Now is the time to create a clear vision for your business that will resonate strongly with your ideal audience thereby building your brand and brand loyalty. You want to be able to create a simple mission statement that describes who you help, how you help them and how it benefits. Get to the core of how you provide value. The deeper you go in peeling the layers to how you benefit others the more strongly your vision will resonate with your ideal customer. If you provide home organization services how you provide value goes beyond simply that you leave your customers with an organized home. You can go deeper and ask yourself how does having an organized home help my customers? You could say that this allows them more time and energy to spend with their families or pursuing their passions. Go deep, keep asking yourself how does this help my client or customer until you reach the pinnacle of the value of your services.

Market Validation

Before taking great risks with your business you will want to start with small steps that will give you an indication that you are onto a service or product that fits the market you want to serve. You might find that there is a different market than you expected or that the offering needs to be slightly adjusted to fit your intended market. Start with an idea of how big your market is and what they need, then test and refine until you are confident in taking the next steps to either launch or grow your business.

Competitive Analysis

Doing a SWOT analysis is a great way to review the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors as well as provide you the opportunity to identify opportunities for you to explore. You should also have a very good understanding of the marketing and business strategies your competitors are using in order for you to complete your examination. Having competition isn’t an issue, not being competitive is. Make sure you offer comparable services or offerings at a price that competes with your direct competitors. What will keep you in business is providing great service and delivering on the expectations of your customers. As long as you can do so, and can find a way to stand out amongst the competition then you will be successful.

Business Goals

Having goals means having a focus. If you don’t know where you are going or what you are trying to achieve then don’t expect more than where you are now. Plan for success by creating smart goals, that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Right them down, then work backward on how you can go from where you are now to reaching them. This is how you will reach your goals.

Services and Products

This is where you define what your product is. When you are first starting a business the best way to do so is start simple. Don’t try to offer everything to everyone. You will stretch yourself to thin and it will be difficult to make any headway. Instead, start with the best of what you can offer now whether that is a product or a service. No more than three options until you have the perfect product-market fit, at that point once you are proving profitability with your strategies you can explore growth for your business. Growing your business can mean many things including scaling skus, services or market. Start small, prove it and then go and grow. Scaling can also mean simply automating your processes in a way that allows you to expand by hiring others. If it’s working, do more of that!

Pricing

Know your costs, have a handle on your finances and be on top of your bookkeeping. Understanding your figures gives you the ability to make the most informed decisions. These are six different ways to price a product or service; premium pricing (higher than most of your competitors), pricing for market penetration (price lower to acquire customers from competitors), economy pricing (be much much lower than others and focus on a volume of easy to make sales), price skimming (start high and lower the cost of your product over time or when there is more competition for something similar), psychology pricing (using numbers that are proven to convert higher such as $199 rather than $200) and bundle pricing (sell complimentary products or services in order to offer a higher value). No matter what type of pricing you decide upon you will want to ensure that the numbers work in a way that accounts for your overall costs and leaves you with a net that is on track to meet your goals.

Marketing Plan

How to achieve your business goals by attracting the right people. What methods for advertising are you going to use to reach people who can benefit from what you offer? By now you should have a good understanding of what methods your competitors use and where your ideal customers spend time. Take a look at your budget and decide based on expected ROI how much time and money to allocate to the different channels available to you. Delivering your services is actually only half your business, the other half of business is driving the sale of your product or service. Expect this to be an area you want to review and analyze on a frequent basis in order to ensure that you are getting the best results possible.

Having a clear vision and a plan to reach it is crucial to your business’ success. Working these steps and knowing what needs to be achieved will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and help you stay on track. The bottom line though is knowing what you want and take action so that it becomes much easier to manifest!

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