Saturday, January 24, 2009

starting your business plan

saturday's child works hard for a living...

last saturday we discussed getting ready to write your business plan, gathering information, setting goals etc. and today, we'll get started!

the outline of a business plan looks roughly like this:
  • executive summary
  • business overview
  • products and services
  • market analysis
  • marketing strategies
  • operational plan 
  • financial plan
  • appendixes 
executive summary
most people do this last because it's an overview of the whole plan.  a few people use it as an outline to get their thoughts out but you'll have to clean it up at the end anyhow to ensure it matches all of the points you've made throughout the plan.

so, that leaves us with the business overview to start with.

* it's important to remember as you're writing these sections, who your audience is.  this plan is as much for bankers and lawyers as it is for you to refer to *

** keep in mind also that business plans can be revised and rewritten at any stage of your business **

business overview
this section is pretty easy if you have a clear vision of your company.

1. business history
  • why you started this business
  • give the history to date of the company (if you're just beginning, your history will be short)

2. company profile
  • state the legal structure and who the owners are of the business (proprietorship, corporation etc.)
  • what is the name of the business and the briefly list the service or products you'll provide
  • is it a wholesale or retail company
  • who is your support team (list bankers, accountants, mentors and other human resources)

3. vision and mission statements
do a bit of research and google vision statements and mission statements of strong companies.  you'll see that they provide the following:
  • core company values
  • what the company does and why they exist
  • what the company beliefs are
  • what opportunities the company addresses
4. objectives
in this section you'll outline exactly what you'd like to accomplish in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year.  going beyond the 3rd year when you're just starting out is a waste in my opinion as you'll likely change direction within that time.

objectives are the large business and financial goals you have.  your dreams for your company.  make sure they're realistic and achievable.

you'll be discussing briefly media and advertising strategies, how many sales you forecast, your financial growth plan etc.

this is a synopsis of what you'll be active doing in the next couple of years.  in the sections to follow you'll be adding details to these goals to ensure they can be carried out.

most business plans are written in the third person and are very formal but when we're artists, we can get away with a little bit of creativity.  just make sure that if you need to take your plan to the bank it's professional enough to be taken seriously.  otherwise, have fun and make your business plan your own.  it is, after all, your very own handmade map! 
next week we'll discuss writing about our products and services and how we can stand out from the crowd!


Richard said...

jenn, you are awesome for posting this...

can't find your number...

call me,


Carolyn said...

just stumbled upon your blog! you share so much valuable information!
I'll be back, definately!