Writing A Business Plan For Success
Starting A Business With a Business Plan
Your business may be classified as either a Sole Proprietorship, or a Corporation.
There are pros and cons to both of these, and it is a good idea to look into their drawbacks and benefits before deciding which classification your business will have. If you are starting a small business, a Sole Proprietorship is often a good choice. As your business grows, you can decide if incorporating is right for you.
Here is a general guideline of the very basics to starting up a small business, and writing a business plan.
1) It is vital to write a business plan when seriously considering starting up a business. A good business plan will help you think through strategies, see the facts, and recognize limitations. One of the main reasons for writing a business plan is to avoid disaster such as under capitalizing, or underbidding, resulting in negative cash flow, hiring too many employees, and selecting the wrong location.
A successful business plan should be started at least 6 months before the business is launched.
2) Decide how much money to invest and the amount of return you require. Define your business by writing a mission statement forty words or less- that outlines what your business does.
3) The Plan- Name your business. This is a very important decision. The name should describe what your business is in some way. If I were to start a pool service company and decided to call by business "ADs", no one would know what it is. This may sound elementary, but many business owners do this. Now if I were to call my pool business, "The Pool Nanny," and then add the slogan "TLC for your pool and spa," people will know right away that I am in the pool business. To make the name a little more memorable an image can be tied next to the name of the business and slogan. This ensemble of image, name and slogan makes it easy to brand a business. If the business is around long enough and advertised well the image can eventually stand alone and people will know its your business. Think of Bob's Big Boy.
4) List your marketing plans. It is an important part of your business. This is how you will conquer some of your competition, grow your business and brand your name. Will you advertise on television, Youtube, Websites or snail mail? The writing out the plan and why it is to be executed a particular way is an important way of determining what is right for you. Are other businesses in your field marketing the same way that you are? Should you follow suit with them, or go out on a limb?
5) Determine the numbers. - You should fully understand how to project forecast, estimate, calculate, all included in your financial statements. If assistance is needed, you should contact a competent accounting firm to assist you with this portion of the business plan. For at least the first two years of business it is recommended that you present your profit and loss statement on a monthly basis, along with balance sheets and cash flow statements on a quarterly basis.
Allowing businesses to have exclusive use of certain names helps consumers to identify and recognize goods in the marketplace. When one has a trademark, they may be legally entitled to exclude others from using the same mark. If someone were to use infringe your trademark by using it in a way that is likely to confuse your customers, or somehow dilute your trademark, you can take them to court and force them to stop using it.
Besides choosing a trademark, you will need a domain name that is legally safe. Generally speaking, your domain name will function as a trademark if you use your business online. If your domain is taken, you have to decide whether or not to approach the domain owner, or if you wish to change your name.