If you are interested in starting your own business you should carefully consider writing a business plan. This is a vital step in starting a successful business; it is a roadmap outlining how you plan to maintain and grow your business. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 90% of businesses fail in the first 4 years. Even if you do not need funding to start your business you should write a plan for yourself. This will allow you to see if your ideas are realistic and if a profit can be made.
Preparing a business plan can be an especially complex, nerve-racking, and time consuming process. Whether you are planning to write this yourself or hire someone, there are several things you need to know. Learning what components are involved in a business plan and where to find help will make this process less stressful and quite a bit easier.
Writing a Business Plan Yourself
While no two plans are exactly alike, the following are the necessary components all plans need:
Company Overview: This is your mission and the vision you have for your business, company values, the products and/or services you plan to offer, and how the company is organized. Further detail on the company’s unique qualifications it has in serving its target audience should be included as well.
Industry Analysis: This is where you evaluate your company’s competition; can you compete? How big is the target market? What is the economic situation for your targeted customer’s? What are the prospective industry’s trends? Is the industry thriving? All of these questions need to be answered which requires a lot of research.
Customer Needs: What are your targeted customer’s needs? This is one of the most important aspects of business success. Meeting customer needs is the only way a business can succeed; making it exceedingly important to entirely understand potential customers lives.
Marketing and Sales Strategy: A marketing and sales strategy is a particularly important part of this plan. This section should be easier to write after completing the industry analysis. Knowing all about your intended customers should make coming up with a marketing plan easier. This section should include marketing and PR techniques you intend to use, as well as things such as cold calling, website advertising, etc.
Financial Review: This should be written at the very end of your plan and is key in determining whether your business idea is feasible. A financial review basically begins with a sales forecast; followed by an expense budget and a cash flow statement.
If you believe you can write a business plan yourself, there are many companies that offer free resources to help you through each step. In addition, you should by all means consult with an attorney and an accountant when preparing to start a business. Unexpected legal issues may arise that could potentially put you out of business very quickly.
If you are not confident that you can write a plan yourself, then you may need to hire either a consulting firm or a professional plan writer. There is a very big difference in what each will do for you; making it of extreme importance to understand the difference.
Business plan consultants have access to statics and databases; meaning they can offer financial consulting and valuable feedback and recommendations on the industry you have chosen. They are extremely qualified in all aspects of business and business planning. A business plan consulting firm will do the research and then help you to plan your strategy.
Professional Business Plan Writers
If you have done all the appropriate research concerning all aspects of the industry in which you intend to enter, costs, competition, and potential customers, then a business plan writer is what you need. A business plan writer will use your vision and research to write a business plan using convincing language and the correct structure.