Creating a business plan that covers every part of your business can seem overwhelming. The purpose of a business plan is to identify each asset of your brand, from the people to the product or service, and have individual goals for each asset that ultimately work together to grow the company. While it sounds tedious, the process of developing a strong business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. In 7 steps, you can customize a plan for your brand.
Step 1: Know your industry.
Before you can plan for the future of your company, you must know the industry intimately. From the latest technology to emerging trends, if you’re going to be an expert in your field, you must educate yourself with articles, podcasts and predictions. When you’re aware of what the competition is doing, what drives consumers and your own unique selling proposition, you’re in the driver’s seat to lead the pack in your industry.
Step 2: Define your goal.
To a certain extent, your business plan will be technical in nature. You’ll deal with the finances (we’ll get to that later), business cycle and logistics, but it should also have an overarching purpose. What goal does your business plan achieve? You’ll only develop the write voice and structure for the plan when you define the goal. Perhaps you’re building a plan to share with investors, or you want to share it internally with employees so everyone operates under the same mantra. Don’t develop a business plan just to have one. Meet a goal.
Step 3: Paint a company portrait.
Who are you in business? The portion of the business plan that serves as the company profile will be similar to the “About Us” section of your website. It’s a genuine look at your company, its history, the goal of your products or service and the people behind the brand. The profile is one of the first written portions of the plan because it sets the tone for your brand’s values. Consider these questions when developing the brand portrait:
- What need in the market does your product or service address?
- What type of mindset does your team have? (Innovative, compassionate, driven, etc.)
- Who is the competition and how do you differ?
- Who is your target audience?
Step 4: Tell your financial story.
Your brand’s financial story should include exact numbers of where you stand currently with debt, revenue and anticipated growth. Detail your expenses and explain your incoming cash flow. You’ll also want to include industry projections that back your financial predictions for your brand.
Step 5: Explain how you’ll market your brand.
Develop a strategic marketing plan that targets your ideal audience with a specific voice. Understanding how to market yourself is crucial to the growth of your business. With so much competition, targeted marketing is crucial. Consider these elements of your business and how you will promote each:
- Expansion for current products
- How you’ll boost product sales
- Online content strategy (Blog, social media, podcast, videos, etc.)
- Price increases (as needed)
- Upgrading a product or service
- Upcoming new product / service line
- Upselling or bundling services
6. Leave room for improvement.
Create an adaptable business plan. As the market changes and your customer’s needs evolve, you will need to adjust your business plan. Revisit your plan a couple of times each year to ensure your goals are still in line with market demands. Perhaps new technology allows you to better your product or an emerging social media platform is the perfect places to spotlight your services. If it’s time for a change, document the plan and ensure each member of your team understands the adjustments and why they’re needed.
7. Highlight what makes you unique.
Whether you share your business plan with your team, investors or a prospective partner, you must explain why your brand is the answer to a need within the market. Highlight the unique selling proposition only your brand offers that sets you apart from the competition. Explain the passion behind your brand, how you’ve achieved growth and what parts of the company will allow you continued success.
Don’t let the thought of a business plan overwhelm you. It’s your brand. You know it better than anyone and developing this document will help revive the spark that drives you to be successful. With a genuine approach to your plan, you’ll attract better talent to your team, influential investors and quality clients.