By Liz Folger, Work-at-Home Mom Expert
When I started my first business I didn't have a solid, well thought-out business plan. I threw together a rough one that I used to apply for a bank loan (which I didn't get, by the way). If you take the time to research and put together a small business plan, you will have a much clearer and focused idea of what you can expect from your business.
A good business plan will help you figure out approximately what your business will cost to get off the ground. You don't want to guess at this. Knowing your costs will help you decide what you're going to charge.
The bottom line - most businesses fail because they don't have a clearly spelled-out business plan. Don't make that mistake.
For those of you who have been in business for awhile, don't think a business plan can't help you. Because you'll be wrong. Your business plan should be taken out on a regular basis, reread and updated.
Below I have given you a list of questions you should ask yourself when starting your home business. For a complete list of questions, check out my book, "The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide To Making Money, available at http://www.bizymoms.com or at your favorite bookstore.
1. What is your business exactly? Explain in one or two sentences. (If you can't describe your business in a couple of sentences, rethink your business and focus your idea).
2. Is your particular business needed? List the reasons that make you thinks so.
3. Where do you see your business in one year? In three years? In five years? (Be specific.)
4. How will you fund your business? Savings, credit cards, loans?
5. What equipment/office supplies/licenses will you need to get your business started? Total Cost?
6. What organizations and trade publications will you need? Total Cost?
7. Who is your target customer? Describe them.
8. What other businesses will you be competing with?
9. What makes your business different from your competitor's business? (Include price, quality, unique services, etc.)
10. Where will you set up your home office? Is it going to cost me money to make a nice workable office? Cost?
11. Will you use daycare everyday or once a week? Cost?
12. How much money do you need to make each month to help my family survive?
Once again, this is just a partial list, but there are enough questions here to give you a good idea of what you'll be facing with a new business and the costs involved.
A business plan is essential to any successful home business. As one great quote says, Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. - Author Unknown
Liz Folger is Work-at-Home Mom Expert and author of, "The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide To making Money". Her book is available at your favorite bookstore or by calling, 800-632-8676. Liz has also created a resource site for work-at-home moms at: http://www.bizymoms.com. When you visit don't forget to sign-up for the free e-newsletter just for moms who work from home. If you have a question that you'd like covered in a column, e-mail her at: [email protected].