Updated: Sep 1, 2019
If you are reading this then you have thoughts about being self-employed or at least owning your own business of some kind. I grew up wanting to own my own company
and over the years have tried many things including multiple MLM companies. My successes came with my own actual companies of which I currently own 2 one manufacturing with an online presence and a educational service company (this one). Both of which I love but one is a profession and the other is a hobby that allows a little extra income once in a while. One gets the majority of my time and focus while the other is just there in the background, I wish I had time for both sometimes. The reality is, I want to grow and see more potential for growth with this company (Next Evolution Consulting) and it makes me happy because I know I am making a difference.
What was once a dream is now a reality through proper planning and lots of advice and direction. Once I decided I was going to go for it, I needed a plan. so I went to two places to help me formulate a business plan bplans.com and used their template and also so the Small Business Administration ( SBA.gov ). SBA is much easier and you can get free advice at your local offices. There is a lot of information to gather and input into these templates so be prepared. I have written a couple for different types of businesses and both had their individual challenges which I found the most difficult was the financials. Anticipating what you may make is so dependent on multiple factors, so keeping things realistic is where another pair of eyes (the SBA or a business coach) comes in very helpful.
You will find that as you are writing your plan you will still need to do some research. I'm sure you have heard the phrase "know what you do and do what you know" (author unknown) and that statement rings true but unless you are an expert in every aspect you will need to do some research in one form or another. I can not stress enough how important self-education is. You may be able to hire someone right away to do things you are not great at, but you at least need to have a clue in order not to be taken advantage of. Just think about how many people are taken advantage of financially because they have no idea what is going on with their finances because someone else handles them. I am all for hiring outside experts as soon as you can afford to, but as independent business owners, we need to have a strong grip on all aspect of our business. So self-educate as much as you possibly can.
The whole business plan process can become overwhelming if you let it, don't let it. Take one section at a time (yes, there are many), take your time, enjoy the process and learn as much as you can from this process. Remember why you are going through this journey and the life this will bring you. Your success depends on proper planning and having a great business plan is like having a map to follow. You will change things as you grow your business or see a direction that will fit you better, that's OK to have that flexibility. Since I started my company I have changed the direction, re-branded twice added and taken away services until I now am confident where we are at. You will do the same, rest assured, but that is all part of refining your plan.
An important part of your plan is to know your audience. You need to know things like; where do they live (not exact addresses), what part of the country/city, what is your target age group. Are you selling products or services, who is your competition, what are their prices and most importantly what makes you stand out above them all. Why would someone choose you to work with as opposed to the company down the street that has been in business for years and already has a track record. In addition to demographics you also need to have a marketing plan in place, a growth plan and an exit plan. Do you know what your customers or clients need? All of these things can be modified and will be modified over time but having the initial plan in place provides you with a solid foundation to begin.
I have always thought of my business plan as a goal blueprint, since the things like the actual financial info can be speculative as far as income expectations and actual expenses for the year are concerned. Knowing where I want to be and where I actually am can be two very different numbers. Bottom line is do not feel like you need to be stick exactly to the written plan, there will be deviations as your market grows and adaptions as you expand. Roll with it, learn from it, enjoy it.
Going from idea to actual plan can be confusing and overwhelming, I am here to answer your questions, encourage you and give you all the help I can in order to help you become the success you want to be. Next week we will address the actual marketing and even your launch before we start talking about the actual leadership of your new organization or even social group. Be sure to listen to the accompanying podcast and subscribe so you know when we release a new episodes. You can listen on Anchor, Google Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic and Breaker.
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