You have it all figured out. Maybe the idea for your business just came to you, or maybe it’s something you’ve been thinking about for years. Either way, you’ve decided to start your own business, so the hardest part is done, right?
Right…except for you have no idea what to do next.
Do you know who will help you or how you’ll market yourself? Do you know where you’ll get funding or even if your idea will make money? Are you certified with the City? What's your plan?
One thing you might not realize is that, if you’re planning on seeking funding, you’re going to need a business plan. A business plan is essential for many reasons, but it's especially essential if you're going to be asking an investor of bank of financial assistance.
5 Things You Never Knew About Creating A Business Plan
Once you have a concept, you're ready to create your plan.
If all you have so far is a business concept that’s been refined to meet the demands of your customers, you’re at the perfect place to take a breath, sit down, and create your business plan.
If a business plan is overwhelming, you can start with a business model canvas.
A business model canvas is a one-page sheet that details a variety of components, from your customers to your market segments. It’s visual, which is helpful for many, and it's essentially a consolidated version of your entire business plan. It’s a great jumping off point. Check out the Business Strategyzer for more information.
Your business plan will change over time.
The permanency of a business plan can be scary, but remember that a business plan can and will change over time. A business plan is a living document. As your business grows, and as you evolve as an entrepreneur, your business plan can be revisited and refined. Your business will grow and change, and so will your plan.
You should include an executive summary.
A typical executive summary will be around 1 – 2 pages, and especially when it comes to funding, is the most important section of your business plan. This is the first page in your plan, but it’ll most likely be the one that you complete last because it’ll recap all of the details of your plan.
You might not make money right away.
Your business plan will include everything from your competitor analysis to details about your product or service, and it will even include a cash flow statement. With planning like this, you’ll be making money right away, right? This is a common misconception of many entrepreneurs, but the reality is that very rarely do entrepreneurs experience cash flow positive immediately. It takes time, effort and a lot of dedication, but you already knew that.