When writing a business plan, there is much to consider. Someone could write a book about everything you need to think about and I’m sure there are plenty out there already, so we’ll stick to blogging. Your idea may be something you’ve thought about doing for years, but never took the steps to make a reality, until now. And we’re here to help! Here are some tips for getting your business plan off the ground.
Research, Research, Research
Really that’s what all of these steps require you to do, but there is more to it than that. There is only one way to know if your potential business can become a reality, and that is by doing your own research. The first step, and possibly the most important, is to assess the need for your service, product, or whatever it is you want to create. Unfortunately, for some, this may be where the dream ends. There may not be a need for your business, or the area may already be overpopulated with substitutes for your business. This would make it difficult to get your feet off the ground. With that considered, it may be a good idea, just not in your geographical area. If you’re passionate about your idea, you may be able to take that knowledge and open your business elsewhere.
Determine Your Target Market and Your Competition
This can be done through research, but can go a long ways in determining the long-term success of opening a business. Determining the target market is essential for seeing if there is the potential for growing a strong customer base. When you look at your potential customers, you need to be as specific as possible. A restaurant doesn’t target just anyone that eats food. They try to appeal to a certain demographic. Not everyone likes every type of food and the layout of the restaurant itself can manipulate perceptions, ultimately narrowing your target market. Think of your business in the same way. To you, this idea might be the next big thing. But if it is only popular among young people, targeting an older crowd isn’t going to net you a strong customer base.
Building on that, looking at the competition in the area is just as important. You need to see how many businesses in the area are targeting your demographic. This can become difficult to assess. When looking at competition, you can’t just look for direct competitors, you also need to look for substitute products as well. A company that makes laptops isn’t just competing against other laptop companies; they’re competing against companies making tablets and other alternatives to a laptop as well. A full competitor analysis will go a long way in assessing if opening your business will be worth it.
Answering the ‘Why’
Now that you know your target market and your competition, it’s time to start breaking down how to be successful. To do this, you will need to answer various questions about your target market and the competition. If your idea has made it this point, it is likely you already answered ‘why you need this product’ but there are other questions that need answered as well. Like, why are my competitors successful? Or, why are people choosing to go to store x or store z? Is it the price? Convenience? Service? In answering these questions, you can start to look at how you will operate your business. Why should the customers choose us over them? Maybe there is a glaring flaw you see that you think you can do better than them. If it is a service, maybe you have more experience than them. If not, maybe it’s a better quality product.
While there is much more to consider when trying making your business a reality, these tips should at least get you started. If you do try to use these tips, you won’t want to rush through doing any of them. Try to be as thorough as you can.
Be sure to involve your CNB Banker early in the process! We have commercial lenders available to help you work through financial barriers. For local businesses, there may be additional services available to assist you as well. You can learn more about the services at https://centralnational.com/business/services.asp. Hopefully, when everything is said and done, this advice and our experts can help build the foundation for you to start a successful business.