A well-written business plan can be like a good map getting you from point A to B, but there can be some difficulty with creating a business plan. However, just like any journey, excitement can be mingled with apprehension and difficulty.
The Beginning Stages
Some of the difficulties with a business plan are simply getting started! So often, we think we have to start at the beginning and proceed in a linear fashion. However, that may not be possible with a business plan. There maybe various pieces of information you cannot get at the beginning, until you get the plan hashed out more.
Don't be discouraged! This is all part of process of getting the best plan written for your needs. A great resource with clear and user friendly information is the Small Business Administration. Again, however, don't let getting all your personnel, vendors, suppliers, clients, etc. intimidate you. The upfront time you take to get all your information together will pay off in the end. Also, not everything in every business plan applies to your company.
The Four P's
Any quick Internet search will yield the 4 P's of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Placement. These are all excellent building blocks for your business plan and can make creating one less difficult. Let's take a quick look at the 4 P's to see how they can be used to help focus your thinking as you begin to write. Again, it is okay to skip around as you write; these are just some ideas that can be included.
- Product - What is it you are representing? Is it a service, an actual product or an idea? It is important to note that a service is still considered a product, as you are actually selling yourself to your potential clients.
- Price - What will you charge for your service or product? Remember, placement, where you are actually conducting your business, will also factor into the price. If you are selling bottled water at the airport, the price may be much higher than at your local retailer. What price is the market around you willing to sustain?
- Promotion - How are you going to advertise your business? Will it be direct mail, cable TV, word of mouth? These factors will help to define your advertising budget.
- Placement - Again, this is closely related to the price. It also has
to do with where you are going to do your business. It may not be a
great idea to open up a small coffee shop next to a larger retail one. A
better idea may be to look for a location that doesn't yet have the
service you wish to offer.
Writing a business plan may seem like a daunting task and progress may seem slow. However, any step you take that is moving your forward towards you goal is not a wasted effort. Entrepreneurs are the backbone of American business. You will succeed as you carefully figure out the best market niche for you and your future business.