When I knew that I would be self-employed, I knew I needed to sketch out a plan on paper for how I wanted my business to go. It had to include things like: (a) type of projects I would work on, (b) price list for the types of projects I would do, (c) policies and procedures for how I would take on clients and handle deadlines, and (e) best practices (simple guidelines for handling specifics in daily operations).
When I managed a department at one of my last corporate jobs, attending some human resources seminars + handling the daily operations taught me a lot about organization and planning. So, when I went on my own, I drew from those years to help me out with writing my business plan.
A business plan is vital no matter if you’re self-employed or if you run a charity organization. You need a way to determine if what you’re doing will be successful and you need a goal in mind + a way to monitor the achievements you want to accomplish.
My career took a shift a few years ago, in that I more or less work for an organization from home. So, my business plan includes: daily tasks list, projects notes, standard operating procedures manual for my job that is kept on Google DRIVE along with strategic goals for the next few years.
For me, I need it to help me stay on top of daily operations and it translates from working for a client to charity work. Your business plan might be set up differently. And in this post, I share some tips and resources for you to get more information.
Essentials to Include in your business plan:
If you are starting up a business and you’ll need funding, your business plan will be key as you will need to show this to a lender. It also should contain the purpose for your business. So in a nutshell, these are some essentials to include:
- Mission / Vision Statement (purpose of the business, sometimes also called Executive Summary)
- 5-year plan for how the business will earn revenue (possibly 10 years)
- If you’re taking out a loan, show a schedule of how the loan will be paid back
- Type of service provided OR type of products you will sell (I’ll talk more about this below)
Consider these points:
- Are you product or service-based company?
- What types products and/or services will you provide and how?
- What type of clients are you targeting and why?
- Will you be a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation?
- How much money will you need to get started and can you prove how you will pay it back? How long will it take to pay if back?
- Will you have employees? If so, how many and how much will you pay them?
- Will you hire a bookkeeper or will you perform that yourself? How?
- Will you hire a tax preparer or will you perform that yourself? How?
- How will market/advertise your business? Consider an online and offline marketing strategy.
Many lenders will also want to know if you have a 5 to 10-year plan for how you perceive your business will grow. So, a lot of thought, research, and time is needed. I won’t go into the specifics of business loans, today we’re focused on writing a business plan.
If you are selling products
If your business model is product-based, you should consider these and include in your business plan:
- Are you a reseller? This model is you buy products at wholesale or liquidated and flip them for a profit.
- Are you the producer and seller? This model means you make the products and sell them at prices you set.
- Where will your products be warehoused? Will you keep your inventory at home (basement, attic or designated room), or will you have an outside shed or rent a building?
- Will you be working with a manufacturer? In other words, someone else makes the products specifically for you to sell.
- Do you sell digital products? In this case, there is no physical product being shipped.
- Are you planning to use specific online platforms to sell?, i.e., Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Mercari, Facebook Marketplace, etc., or will you sell on your own website?, i.e., WordPress/Woocommerce, Shopify, Ecwid, etc.?
- Will you sell mostly locally in your city?
Check out this really good video from “At Home with Nikki“. She is a professional organizer and her YT channel is packed with great information about running a successful business.
What if you’re running a Non-Profit?
A business plan is also essential if you’re starting a non-profit organization. And in this case, your business plan may be in the form of grant writing. Mosttimes for non-profits, a written proposal is also necessary. I’ve got a couple of books listed below on grant writing.
In the end, having a business plan will help you better achieve success + you’ll be able to see your progress along the way. It’s also helpful to have so if your business goes through any changes, you can easily modify your business plan.
For more information, check out these resources:
Other Helpful Articles:
- How to write a business plan in seven simple steps ~ WeWork.com
- How to write your business plan – SBA.gov
- 5 tips to write a great business plan – Business News Daily