New Year, new plans? January provides a powerful blank slate for achieving long held professional goals like starting a business. And, with a little careful planning, you’ll have the best possible chance to make a success.
Make sure to download Small Business BC’s Starting Your Business Checklist.
Next, you’ll want to formulate a thorough business plan. Laura Aveledo, Business Planning and International Trade Adviser at Small Business BC, shares her tips below.
Frame your Business Concept
You need to intimately know what your product or service is and how you plan to provide it. Careful consideration should be given to your idea, such as: What problem are you solving for your clients? Why would customers want your product? What are the current trends in the industry and what are competitors doing? Can you pay yourself a salary by selling this product or service? Answering these questions will put you on the fast track to success. For more details read this article on preparing your business concept.
“These are important examples of questions that you have to ask yourself when you’re starting a business,” Laura explained.
Use a Business Plan Template
Small Business BC’s Business Plan Template includes sections covering the business concept; operations (including processes, equipment, location, permits, risks); sales and marketing plans (pricing, differentiation from competitors, sales methods); management (who is on the leadership team and what they do); and financials (where is the money coming from and how much you need).
“Most business plans start with an executive summary, and that’s the first thing that people need to see, Laura said. “However, this will be done at the end when all other parts have been completed.”
Evaluate your Options
You’ve performed the necessary research, what comes next? Take an objective look at your findings and reject parts of the research that don’t make sense to include in your plan. Be realistic, and willing to accept alternatives. If this is your first time crafting a business plan, it’s ok to not get it right. Our Business Advisors can help you smooth out any wrinkles with one-on-one consultations.
“Sometimes you know you want to provide a specific product or service, and then you find things that make you think, ‘these are not for me’. This is totally natural and part of the process,” said Laura.
Set Realistic Goals
Step 1. Come up with a business idea.
Step 3. PROFIT
Answering the question at the heart of this equation is the key to a successful business. One of the quickest ways of achieving this? Set realistic goals. These goals don’t necessary have to be financial in nature. It could be something as simple as weekly likes on social media, new clients per quarter, or sales contracts you expect to close per month. No matter the goals, Laura has a simple formula to follow for success:
“Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.”
Write the Plan
Using the template provided, take your time and write your plan. Review what you’ve written, and ask someone unfamiliar with your business idea to review it. Be willing to make changes based on their feedback. Make it as easy to understand as possible.
“Be clear. Be precise. Be to the point. At this stage advice is something you should listen to,” advises Laura. “No entrepreneur has ever done it alone.”