Starting to write a business plan

In the previous post I showed that for a good brand design you need a good business plan, that’s why today I’d like to share a few thoughts on a business plan writing with you.

To be honest I always thought business plan is an endless excel table, that only people with degree in finances can understand and produced. And also I thought that I don’t need this for some small freelance jobs.
Well, after a few negative experiences as a freelancer in the past, as I worked without being properly paid, part of it because I couldn’t explain what my business exactly was, I realized that something is missing in my concept. Exactly — the concept — –this  was the missing bid. I started reading, asking people in detail about their business and followed step by step the setting up of a company of a friend of mine (he quieted his job and started from scratch) and I learned that business plan is another word for concept. This is the foundation of your business, the basis where you will built everything further. So…

How to start with a business plan?

Make notes.
Buy a small book, keep it always with you and make notes about your business idea. This means you you write everything down what comes to your mind: your idea — you like to sell products, or produce something, or you like to open a boutique or to start a restaurant…Write it down. Word by word, detailed as possible, and exactly how you see it in your best imagination.

This is my current notebook, bought at the highstreet shop:

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There is the case that you probably don’t have the proper business idea yet, but you know for sure you want to have your own business. Write down everything what you want to do and to have in your future working and private life. Brainstorm your favourite ideas and define the one which is right for you.
This process seems like fun and can be easy but it can be really hard as well. Don’t give up, stuck to your imagination and work further.

Of course you can do the writing work at home, on the desk in the quite minute, but my experience shows that the best ideas comes to me when I am on the bus, or in the train, or while queuing. Just do it how it suits you and feels right for you. Anyway, for the next steps you will need a desk, time and solid portion of concentration.
Once you wrote down a few and more pages with your ideas, you need to bring some structure to your work — this is the start of the business plan writing.
You can use some software like liveplan, bplan or one from ophra.com or you can read a couple of samples and create one from scratch.
There is a good step by step guide from Prince’s Trust which I started to use and I am happy with it. Whatever you decide to use those are the main points you need to cover:

  1. Executive Summary: This is the most important part of your business plan — it explains what are you doing, what do you want to achieve and how you are going to do it. Because it is a summary you should write it at the end, when you are ready with the steps listed bellow:

Business summary: this is your idea. What are you going to do, where and to whom. Here is the place to explain the name of your company, where it comes from and what kind of company this one is going to be – Ltd, sole traider, etc.

Business aims: Here you explain the goals for your business – what would you like to achieve with it. This might be earning more money, selling your products in a certain shops, approaching some special clients, etc. Try to define three to five goals and split them in short-, middle- and long-term achievements. What should be done in one year, where you’d like to be in 3 and what to have in 5 years time?

Financial summary: Here you present what you need to start your business, where you are going to get the money from and what you expect to earn by the end of the first year. Here you will need some numbers, having or not financial degree. All of the templates I mentioned above have some easy to use prepared tables, user friendly and uncompleted. I can recommend them, it is not so difficult as appears.The next big step is to set up your elevator pitch, which is actually your verbal way of presenting yourself. Once you’ve written this you should know it by heart. When someone asks you about your business the elevator pitch is what you are going to say. Who you are, what is your company about, what you are going to achieve and how? Boom, boom, boom!!!…

It should be your second nature, part of your personality, part of you. What you need to write this one, in the next post. But for now stay open, be creative and don’t forget your notebook!

Yours, Eva

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