When you’re looking to start a business, an online business plan will be one of the most important things you’ll have to create. However, some new entrepreneurs dodge this step because it’s daunting and laden with challenges. However, if you don’t have sufficient startup capital, you’ll have no choice but to create one. To make the process less daunting and minimize the unknowns, know, upfront, these challenges prospective business owners face when creating business plans:
1. Sitting down to create the online business plan
The biggest challenge for most people when looking to write a business plan for their businesses is to sit down and start writing. It becomes more difficult when you have no idea how to write one. But these days, you don’t have to hire an expert to do it for you. There are many tutorials and videos online on the same. After reading the tutorials and watching the videos, you’ll be ready to write a business plan like a Pro. The easiest way to start on your business plan is to plan out the general structure and then sit down to flesh it out.
2. Writing the financial part of your online business plan
Any business owner will tell you that anything dealing with finance is challenging. When it comes to writing the financial part of your business plan, there is some fear that creeps in. But because it’s the main aim of writing a business plan, writing out that part is inevitable. The business plan is a great tool to help you plan for your future financials to avoid poor money management. When writing a business plan, it’s all about predictions and estimates. There is never a right or wrong answer. If you can manage to make accurate estimates and predictions, it won’t be a daunting task.
You can also take the methodical approach. That means starting from the end and working backward. This approach is effective because you already know what you intend to make, so you’ll only need to estimate what the products, services and other areas of the business are projected to bring in, your anticipated costs and you have the figure.
3. Getting to grips with your target market
It’s not uncommon to see people start a business, and it starts to rock after a few months. They start getting a lot of customers from everywhere and more keep coming. Once they see this happening, they forget their target market and start pleasing every customer that knocks on their door. In other words, they say yes to everything. Such scenario only dilutes what you’re good at, and these kinds of businesses never stay long enough on the market. To succeed in business in this day and age, you have to know your target market first. Your target market consists of people that are interested in your products or services, and they can quickly transform into brand evangelists. These are the kinds of customers you want in your business. Not the random one time buyers.
4. Making plans for changes in technology in your online business plan
Technology travels at a frantic pace these days that even the most tech-savvy business people can be left breathless. And it’s expected to expand even more. That’s why you have to spend a lot of time learning about any new technological change and implement it in your business before it’s too late. With today’s busy lifestyles, it can be difficult to find time for that. However, the internet is filled with revolutionary apps and tools to help you stay on par with technological changes.
Must-Have Components of a Solid Business Plan
Many businesses have achieved great success by creating solid online business plans. A business plan is a crucial tool for the success of any business. Besides helping you get funding for your business, it lays out the vision of your business growth and suggests creative steps to get there. It’s a long-term document, meaning it shows your projections for 3-5 years and showcases the plan of how your business is anticipated to grow its revenue. If your business needs funds to scale operations, you’ll need to apply for a loan from a commercial bank or approach investors. But for commercial banks or private investors to give out any loan, they want to see a solid business plan. That’s said, here are the elements you must include in your online business plan to make it solid and compelling:
Your executive summary is the first thing to appear on the online business plan
Executive summary gives an overview of your entire online business plan. It should spell out the profile and goals of your business. Executive summary makes up the most vital part of your online business plan, and therefore, it should be written in such a way that it narrates to the investors what your business does, and where you want it to be in the next 3 to 4 years. It should also tell investors how your business idea is actionable and how it can result in greater success for your business. Experts recommend that you write the executive summary last so that you can capture everything in it.
The next thing in your online business plan is your business description
As the name suggests, business description describes your business. Particularly, it spells out the nature of your business, the kind of marketplace your business focuses on, and what aspects make you stand out from competitors, as well as how your products or services offer value to customers.
Your online business plan should include a market analysis section
This section should layout out your knowledge of the target market. It also includes your knowledge of the size and needs of your target market, market share, and your pricing structure. This section should also encompass potential regulatory restrictions your enterprise might face.
Your online business plan should have an organization and management section
An organization and management section should follow the market analysis section of your online business plan. Here, you’ll show the organization structure of your business, information about ownership, and details about your management team. Point out the team that has played a significant role in helping your business reach where it is now. Will the team continue to be part of your journey in scaling up? Include that information.
Include service and product line in your online business plan
Here, you should take the time to outline the kinds of products or services that your business sells, how the products and services help solve customer’s problems and why customers should buy and continually buy from you.
Include marketing and sales in your online business plan
Here, you will have to show your marketing and sales strategy. Aspects of layout out in your marketing strategy include expansion strategy, market penetration, channels of distribution, as well as communication plan. In your sales strategy, include aspects of sales activities and other sales techniques you intend to implement.
Create a section for funding request in your online business plan
If your business plan is aimed at sourcing funds for expansion, then this is the section to put up your funding request.
Include financial projections in your business plan
If you have a section for funding request, you’ll have to follow it up with a financial projections section. This section should include aspects of past and potential financial information, quick-fire financial information analysis and analysis of financial statements.
The appendix should be the last section of your business plan
This section is optional. But if you choose to include it, make sure it contains a lot of more financial data, as well as reference letters, legal documents, permits or patent, product pictures and more.
One challenge you shouldn’t forget is making the online business plan interesting. You know that interesting things keep people reading to the very end. So, create a business plan that you know your investors will not be bored to read and make sure to follow our list of must-have components for a Solid Business Plan.
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