How to Make the Best Business Plan and Get Ahead of the Business

Anyone thinking of starting a business should know how to write a business plan. Even if you have a great startup idea, most businesses are not able to overcome a lack of planning. Here are some ideas on creating the best business plan to ensure your business's success.

Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

The lack of a business plan is one of the main reasons that companies fail. Business plans help establish your business goals. When you set concrete goals, these targets can chart a plan towards your businesses success. Consider all the things that can go wrong when you don't draft a business plan:

• Poor customer retention

• Poor management structure

• Bad or undesirable products

Writing a well-thought out business plan will give you a good strategic base on which to build your business.

Writing an Effective Business Plan

A good business plan mixes equal parts vision, strategic planning, and marketplace research. Here are some further refinements on what needs to be considered when writing a business plan.

1. Get clear on your business's purpose

State exactly what you want to achieve with your business. Some people may think that they don't need to write this down since their business's purpose is what gets them out of bed every morning. The problem is that your vision will become blurred over time. Writing down your vision for the company will help your employees act in concert with the company's mission. When you get your employees on board, all daily activities can be aligned with your vision for the business.

2. Write out some concrete goals for your business

An important aspect of writing a business plan is setting up your business goals. Your marketing goals will spell out how your product costs and how it gets distributed. Your business goals should be measurable, providing quantifiable markers against which you can gauge your primary business objectives. An important step for many companies is to set up some marketing goals will help spur your revenue numbers.

Start by setting some short-term goals that you can achieve within twelve months. Then set some mid-term goals does that take a few years and progress to some longer term goals. These goals can include the number of customers you wish to have, your revenue numbers and the number of stores you wish to operate.

3. Clarify your unique selling proposition (USP)

There needs to be something different about your offering that sets you apart from your competitors. Your USP helps make you more attractive to potential customers. Some companies try to differentiate themselves from competitors in the market by offering superior customer service and support. Write your business plan by highlighting the unique benefits that you provide your customers that they can't get anywhere else.​

4. Do some market research

You'll want to include demographic and customer research data in your business plan to gauge your market. It's okay if there are other businesses in your target market. But you'll need to make sure that there's enough demand to justify your entrance into the field. Doing some demographic marketplace analysis is important as it will tell you if your market can sustain multiple businesses. You'll want to learn what your ideal customer wants as well as take into consideration future trends of your industry. Once you know the important statistics of your market, put that data into your business plan.

Part of your market research should include projected demand for your business. Study the demand and supply curve for your industry. You want demand to be more than supply. If the demand is below the supply curve, your business will be fighting an uphill battle for customers. You'll need to determine if there's sufficient demand before investing in your business idea.

5. Start crunching the numbers

Will your product and advertising costs allow your company to make a profit? Here are some factors that need to be spelled out in your business plan to ensure your business stays in the black.

• What will be the number products in your product line?

• What will be your product development strategy?

• What will be the highest amount you want to pay to manufacture your product?

• What kind of profit margins are you looking for when setting your prices?

• How many products you need to produce and sell, given your prices and profit margin, to achieve your desired revenue?

• What kind of logistics (delivery methods) will be required to keep up supply?

• What will be the strategies used to promote your business? What promotion plans will work best with your customer base?

• Will you use online, print or media advertising to help win new customers?

• What will be your businesses target coverage area? Will you have an online presence?

Be very specific as you write out your business plan. Whatever ends up in your business plan will translate into everyday actions that get executed on behalf of your business. The final step is to take action on your business plan. This is the whole point of writing a business plan. Your business plan will provide you with direction, but you need to take those first steps.

You now have an idea of what is important and how you should go about writing a business plan. With this blueprint in place, you now have a plan to achieve your business goals.

Kristy Dickerson, keynote speaker, businesswoman, and active CEO and co-founder of STARTplanner, has devoted her life to providing hope for individuals who are looking to achieve balance, success, and happiness within their own lives. Dickerson has been sought after for keynote speaking due to her relatable story, no excuses tone, valuable advice, and upbeat personality that she entrenches in all aspects of her brands. She believes and preaches that individuals have the ability to do anything they want. Through business coaching, workshops, and speaking she has shown individuals how to make change happen in their life and small business.​

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