Your business plan is the strategic document that will help guide your thinking, inform your partners of where you want to go, and help keep you grounded when challenges arise.
First, it increases your chances of success by forcing you to consider every aspect of your business and it serves as an ongoing roadmap or benchmark so you can gauge your success. Finally, it's what investors, including banks, want to see in order to determine whether your business—and you—are good risks.
In your business plan, you should include:
- How the company will be managed and owned
- Product(s) and/or service(s) you will offer
- Materials and resources you'll need
- Potential strengths and weaknesses of your company
- Your company's short and long-term plans
- The market and industry into which your business is directed (including suppliers, customers, competitors, threats, opportunities)
- Marketing, sales and production plans
- Operating cost amount; sources and types of financing it may require, including personal resources you may need to tap into
- Sales and cash flow forecasts
If you're starting a home-based business on a shoestring, some of these suggestions probably aren't necessary, but you still should create a plan that outlines your goals, expected costs, marketing plan, and exit strategy. A business plan is your road map for how you expect to succeed and how you'll measure success. To develop a good plan, you need to consider quite a few things.
Your first step in any new business venture should always start with a business plan.
Once you have started your plan, be sure to reach out to the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre at 519-351-7700 and book an appointment for a free consultation.