Thinking of starting a business, but not sure how to start? For success, you’ll need a roadmap to meet your goals. In our experience, the best roadmap is a well thought out business plan. It will outline how your business will work & succeed.
Unless you are in the middle of seeking investors, business plans don’t need to be long formal documents. For the majority of businesses, you can start with a simple, one-page plan. The one-page plan acts as a guideline for business owners to stay on track.
To make a one-page business plan, start with research. Make sure your business idea has the ability to succeed by identifying the problem your business will solve or consumers’ need it will fill. From there, identify any potential competition. You should also determine who your business will serve. Ask yourself, what does the average customer look like? How will you keep them engaged?
Once you feel you’ve done enough research, it’s time to determine your business goals. A popular guide to goal setting is following the acronym SMART.
Specific – Your goals need to be clear. It’s very hard to focus on a goal if you’re not even sure what the goal is.
Measurable – Your goals must be measurable to ensure you can track your progress
Achievable – Your goals need to be realistic making sure you have the time, money and resources to achieve them.
Relevant – Keeping your goals relevant sounds like a no brainer, but it is easy to get lost in a goal that sends you and your business in a different direction than you planned.
Time-Based – Your goals should include a realistic deadline to hold you accountable to your plan.
For more guidance on SMART goal setting, check out The Balance’s tips and examples.
Now that you’ve done your research and have your goals set, it’s time to write out your business plan. A basic one-page business plan should include a short description of your business or brand identity, the need your business fills, your main goal, your target audience, your competition, your expenses, and the marketing strategy your business plans to use. Don’t get caught up on too many details. Remember, this one-page business plan is for your reference.
For more guidance on creating your business plan, view the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to writing the business plan that is right for you.
Remember that your business idea and business plan are up to you. There’s no right way to get started, but following these tips should put you on a good path for your new journey.
Now that you have your business plan up and running, it’s time to start! Davie Kaplan is here to help every step of the way. Let our team of talented Business Accounting Support Experts guide you through paying bills, creating invoices and producing financial statements for your new business. Learn more here or visit our office in Rochester, NY today.