Step by Step Guide to Creating an Effective Small Business Plan

Having a good small business plan will ensure that your journey to success is much smoother. All successful business owners know that having an organized, well thought plan is essential to see the results they expect. Even if the business plan doesn’t give the results that you would have thought in the beginning, you can tweak and change different areas of your process to perfect it.

I thought I would go through a step by step guide to what you need for an effective small business plan. Many people try and start a business without any true expectations for the future other then ‘oh this is going to work’. You have to know exactly what “should” happen so that the surprises are less. In most cases surprises in business aren’t positive.

You must have a plan for many different areas of starting a small business. How are you going to fund the start up fees? How do you expect to sell your product/service? How do you expect to pay your employees? How are you going to promote your company effectively? Most importantly and what most business owners don’t think about is where do you want your business to be in 5…10…20 years?

Creating the right small business plan is all about creating effective systems. A system is something that you can use over and over again in different situations to receive expected results. You at least have some idea of what’s going to happen if you have the right systems in place.

The first step to your business plan is knowing exactly how much money it’s going to take to start your company. None of this has to be a professionally written up small business plan that costs thousands and thousands of dollars hiring an “expert”. Take out a piece of paper and write down your plan. The main thing is that you know exactly how you are going to fulfill your dream of being a successful small business owner.

So what are your opening expenses? Here are some questions you need to answer to find out your estimated dollar amount:

How much money does your product or service cost you?
How much money will you charge for your service/product?
How much money do you require to live for two years with no profit coming in from your business (safety precaution)?
How much will it cost for your employees for 2 years?
What are your legal fees?
What are your CPA fees?
How much will getting a physical location cost you (if needed)?
Every business is going to be different so think about anything that you need to spend money on to get it running. The next step you must consider is how are you going to get this start up money. Are you going to go to a bank for a loan? Are you considering finding a partner that can cover the costs with the agreement you can buy out the company later down the road? Do you want to talk with a wealthy family member about your business? Anyway you choose to get the money doesn’t matter.

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