Before jumping into the world of small business management, it’s important to have everything planned out, and we mean EVERYTHING. Missing one tiny detail can lead to carnage later down the line, so knowing the whys and wherefores will guarantee you a smooth transition into the beginning of your new endeavour.
Knowing your core beliefs and your brand’s purpose is going to be is vital. Customers engage more with companies that relate themselves to a more worldwide vision, so bear that in mind when you’re writing your mission statement. This may be the most important piece of copy your company produces; make sure you spend more than fifteen minutes on it.
This is the nitty gritty stuff. What is the product you’re selling? Who wants to buy it? What are your marketing plans? How many employees will you need?
When you bombard yourself with the questions, you’ll realise there’s still quite a lot to figure out. The key is to answer them all and write the responses in a business plan. This will help you to create your timeline (see below).
Decide what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by. The more specific you are the better, because giving yourself strict deadlines will make you and your employees more pro-active.
You can create a timeline in a number of ways, but keeping up with technology means it will be more efficient when you come to add and modify. Create a table to depict when and how you aim to complete your goals.
Knowing your competition has several advantages. You can keep tabs on how big their following is and their marketing strategy. This can help your company because you take vital nuggets of information, such as target audience and use this for your own company.
It’s important to remember not to copy a competitor; you’ll look like a second class version of the real thing. Instead create your own original content and marketing campaigns to deliver a different kind of service – make your mark as a unique brand and people will thank you for it.
Always be realistic about the finances you can afford. Work this into your business plan and integrate it with your timeline. With a definitive budget and deadline it’ll take some doing to get it wrong. Knowing how much money you have can make your task seem impossible, but keeping track of everything if vital; best to use a free online cloud bookkeeping service *wink wink*.
The worst scenario might not be what you want to imagine before you’ve even begun your business, but it is necessary to know how to avoid the situation. Being savvy about the pitfalls of going into business means you’re entering the battlefield fully armoured, and you’ll stand a good chance out there soldier.
The business plan doesn’t have to be a long-winded document that you spent weeks on, it can be as formal or informal as you wish. It really is different for every business. You can even download free business plan templates from Gov.uk which can work as a handy guide to keep around.
Have you got a business plan? Or are you about to begin one and don’t know where to start? Leave us a comment in the section below!