Business Planning 201

 

Have you ever asked yourself, "Do I really need a business plan?"

The answer is a resounding, "YES!"

Our own WEofC member Stacy Oldfield lets us know why! And, perhaps more importantly, she also assures us that a business plan does not have to be hard to create! 

Special thanks to:


Speaker Summary:

Before we delve into the reasons why we all need business plans, it is important that we bust a myth that many entrepreneurs buy into as their reason not to write their business plan: I only need a business plan if I am going to be looking for investment money or a bank loan. 

Stacy clearly outlines why this is simply untrue!

The Reasons: 

People with business plans are nearly twice as likely to grow their business or obtain capital as those who did not write a plan!

~ From a Palo Alto Software study

  • A business plan can dissuade you from throwing money at a passion project that will not make money. 
  • A business plan helps you think things through and problem solve.
  • A business plan is a foundation upon which everything else builds:
    • Your operation plan.
    • Your strategic plan.
    • Your marketing plan.
    • Your sales plan.
  • A business plan allows you to reassess your goals and plans as your business grows! 
  • A business plan allows you to reassess your assumptions. Remember, as your business grows your assumptions change and become more accurate.
    • Including who your target market! 
  • A business plan keeps you on track and helps you avoid "Shiny Object Syndrome."

Business plans are not just for new businesses. They are very important for current and growing businesses! 

- Stacy Oldfield

Types of Plans:

FORMAL PLANS: These are necessary if you are seeking funding.

  • It is important that your financial assumptions are as accurate as possible.
  • Know from whom you are seeking funding and tailor your plan to what they want.
  • If completing this type of plan seems intimidating just take it one section at a time.
  • It is advisable to have someone who knows about business plans review your plan before you submit it. 

INFORMAL PLANS: These are necessary to help you focus your thought process

The Process: 

HIGH-LEVEL CONCEPT/ THE ELEVATOR PITCH: This is how you want people to describe your business. 

  • This should be clear and understood by a broad range of people.

FOUR QUADRANTS: These are the main points you will want to cover.

  • Product or Service: What is your customer's pain point and how are you going to solve their problem?
  • Audience: Narrow this down by demographics as well as personality characteristics. Avoids saying, "everyone."
    • Give them a name.
    • Picture who they are.
    • Estimate the size of your audience. 
  • Market/ Marketing:
    • Who are your competitors?
    • Who are your potential early adopters?
    • What channels will you use your potential audience?
    • What is our initial marketing plan?
  • The Business:
    • How will you make money?
    • What are your operational needs?
    • What are your start-up costs?
    • What is your timeline?
    • What are your key metrics for success?
    • What are your anticipated obstacles?
    • What are your financial assumptions and projections? 

Helpful Resources: 

Final Thoughts:

Do not allow the document t or formality keep you from getting out there and doing things!

John Osborne, The Harbor Entrepreneurial Center

Just take actions and see the reaction you get. If you do this with intention everything will fall into place. 

Stacy Oldfield

 

To learn more, or get personalized help from Stacy, visit www.minerva.partners

Melissa Cote