In the sea of business activities, the ever-elusive business plan can be overwhelming. The following is a list of the tips, tricks, and crazy things I have seen in my years of business consulting that can help you pin down this white whale.
1. Not Excited? That’s Okay
Most people (with a few exceptions) don’t wake up just pumped to write a business plan. That’s okay, just dive in and do your best. An expert can assist you to edit and make it exactly what it needs to be.
2. Nobody’s Perfect
Let go of your need to be perfect. Just throw up on the paper and know that you will edit it many times over. The more times you rewrite and revise, the better you will know your business and the more prepared you will be for the ups and downs that are on the path ahead.
3. Get Ready to Hear “No”
A business consultant’s job is often times to tell you “No” when you ask if your plan is ready for the lender. They may have to tell you “No” multiple times and it’s not because they’re being mean. If your business plan is not crisp and on-point, the lender will say no! Some places you can’t go back for 30 days or as long as 6 months. Take it easy, calm down and know that have a great plan will lead to success.
4. KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid
The plan should be short, sweet, and to the point. When I meet with business lenders, one of the first things they say is: “Deb, I don’t have time for a 25 page business plan.” Unless you have been in business for 15 plus years, 8-10 pages will cover it.
5. Know Your Market
KNOW YOUR MARKET! PERIOD! You can’t possibly know how to market to your target audience if you don’t understand who they are. I mean, every detail about them. The more clear you are about your ideal customer, the easier it is to find them.
6. Road Map to Your Dreams
The last bit of advice is to remember your plan consists of your dreams and goals for the next 3 years. Write it as though you are following it as a detailed road map and never lose sight of where you want it to lead you.
Feel free to schedule a consultation with me if you need help with your business plan. Happy writing!
Deb Bilbao is the business consultant at the Women’s Business Center. Deb has owned two fastpitch softball instruction and recruiting companies and currently works part-time in the financial services industry that specializes in properly protecting families, reducing and eliminating debt quicker, and building wealth. With a bachelor’s degree in math and a former college softball All American, Deb is the mathlete of the WBC brood.