There are many important things to consider when opening and operating your own business, but starting off with a realistic and well-written business plan is paramount to long-term success.
A proper business plan effectively outlines many things; defining exactly what your business and vision entails will allow your business plan to act as a shepherd and a stronghold that herds your operation on its intended path.
In her book The Entrepreneurial Mom’s Guide to Running Your Own Business, Kathryn Bechthold shares her feelings about the business plan and its necessity based on her experience as a seasoned entrepreneur.
“Without it, you might as well not even start because you won’t know where you are going, how you are going to get there, and how much it will cost you, let alone how much you will make,” she says in the book.
Having a proper business plan will not only help you better understand your own business, but will make you and your venture appear much more professional and worthy to investors or banks from which you request funds.
Given that you will want your plan to be complete, here are some things to think through and include in your business plan:
- Executive summary
- Mission, vision, and values statements
- Corporate structure and company history
- Pricing: Industry and competitor analysis
- SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
- Management plan
- Marketing and distribution strategies
- Production process
- Financial plan (including the balance sheet, income statement, cash-flow summary, and five-year projections)
Once you start really thinking through all these considerations, successfully starting your own venture may not seem so easy. But with good management and thoughtful preparations, your new business can be a smashing success as well as an enjoyable experience.
When starting your own business, Bechthold warns, “You need to prepare for long hours, financial investment, busy schedules, and stress – but isn’t it better to do that on your own schedule, work with clients you love, and take away the profit rather than handing that off to your boss?”
The book is available now in our Web store.
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