Ready to map out your goals and progress? A business plan is one of a business’s most important first steps. It will allow you to define your goals, establish priorities, and measure progress.
Think about what type of customers you want to attract, product features you need, pricing you’ll offer, and markets you can target—and write it down. Revisit your plan on a regular basis to measure your progress.
How do I create a business plan?
A well-thought-out plan is the foundation of your business. You can use it to make sure you’re on the same page with investors, staff, customers, and partners—and to measure your success as you move forward.
Create a roadmap.
A business plan is a valuable tool to help you think about your business idea. It serves as a roadmap—allowing you to set goals and projections with checks and balances in place. Your plan should be revisited and adjusted regularly to help your business meet your goals.
Define goals and projections.
Goals should be specific, measurable, and attainable so that they can be easily understood by investors, management, advisors, staff, and partners. Define revenue and new customer projections to measure success and guide your decision-making.
Understand the target market.
Identify your strategy to take your product or service to market. Understand your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and position in the market to help you decide on price and market positioning. Look closely at your targeted group of customers and their needs and buying behaviors. Make sure this group is tightly defined and able to provide enough profit for your business.
Develop a financial plan.
A financial plan is an essential step for every new business and particularly important if you’re working with investors or lenders. It’s a useful tool to steer your business in the right direction. And it provides guidance to ensure your startup can establish itself as a viable business, especially in the early stages when cash flow is critical. An objective advisor, such as a CPA, can help you develop a realistic plan.