Most business owners I meet believe that they absolutely MUST write a business plan.
You know…that looooooong document that is full of assumptions and copy / pasted segments from the internet?
Putting together a business plan just for the sake of saying that you’ve done it is waste of your precious time.
Because the only way you’ll learn if your idea will truly work is not by sitting down and writing about it, but by getting out there and getting to work!
you don’t need a business plan
Instead of worrying about a business plan, what you really need is a plan for your business.
A plan that:
- provides you with clarity
- establishes your priorities
- motivates you
- and keeps you focused
One that you can execute.
Not one that you throw into a drawer and never look at again.
get started with a useful business plan
The first step is to really think about the type of business that you want to create.
Get clear on what you truly want.
What do you dream about for yourself and for your business? What do you aspire towards?
Should your business fit around your lifestyle or your family?
How much money do you want to earn from it?
Will your business grow massively? Expand internationally? Take on a large amount of staff?
Do you want to sell your business on to someone else in the future?
Understanding your motivations for starting and running a business is critical.
They will influence your business plan, plus all the decisions that you make along the way.
When you’re clear about why you’re in business, you’ll stay more focused on the actions you need to take to reach your goals.
be clear about your ideal customer
Nothing frustrates me more than a business owner who says “we help everyone” or “anyone can buy our products”.
While it’s true that people can stumble upon what you do and want what you have to offer, you do need to focus on your ideal customer.
Put an image to that person. Is it a man or a woman? Is it a particular age group? Are they in a specific geographical region? What common traits do they all have?
You can always change your target market later, but you must start with something specific.
For example, in my business, I focus on women between the ages of 27-50 who want to make a living doing what they love. My ideal customers primarily live in Kenya (though my international experience brings me clients from other places).
They have already started to work on and in their businesses, but they’re having some difficulty in attracting customers and making sales. So they aren’t yet earning enough money for the work they’re putting in.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I can’t help someone younger nor older, nor that I can’t help men. But I won’t spend my time or marketing efforts trying to attract them. They need to find me and the fit has to be right. Then I might say yes.
Being specific allows you to narrow down your focus, make better decisions and be far more effective in all of your business activities.
Plus it’s absolutely crucial for the next step.
know exactly what you’re selling
In order to grow your business, your product or service must address a specific problem or need that your ideal customer has. This is commonly referred to as product-market fit.
Don’t just push your idea out to the world and hope that people become interested.
Get clear on the problem or need that your ideal customer has by having open and honest conversations with them.
And then start with just one product or service that can truly help them.
Start small, test it out, get feedback and make changes where necessary.
then start talking about it
Once you’re clear about your ideal customer and the product or service that you’re selling, you next need to start talking about it.
If your business remains a secret, it will never grow!
Marketing is something I really hated when I was first getting going. It was completely outside of my comfort zone and I had NO IDEA what to say.
But what I’ve learned over the years is that marketing does not need to be complicated.
It just needs to be clear, concise, and consistent.
So first, identify one or two channels that you want to use to reach your ideal customers. My primary channels are blogging and Instagram.
Then, develop a core marketing message that clearly describes what you do and who you help.
Next, choose some 4-5 themes that you want to talk about in your communications. Mine are strategy, storytelling, money matters, inpsiration, and confidence.
Finally, start doing it.
maintain your focus
There will always be a million things competing for your time and attention.
Stay focused on what it is that you truly want.
Be consistent and put yourself out there, even when you don’t necessary feel like it.
Learn how to minimise your distractions.
and execute your business plan
To truly succeed in business, you need to be clear about who you’re in business for, what you’re selling, and how to talk about it in a way that interests your ideal customer.
Only then will your business grow.
If you’re ready to start making money doing what you love, join me in Simplicity.
During this 10-week accelerator program, you will create a plan for your business that is clear, easy to follow and excites you!
A plan to attract your ideal customers.
A plan that will help you make sales.
A plan that you actually want to execute.
Simon Kay says
Great blog! I couldn’t agree more. The main factor when creating a business is to keep your business plan focused on your goal and I feel like creating a lengthy business plan can sometimes steer away from that at times.
Thanks for the advice!
This is interesting about needing a business plan! I hope people will learn something exciting through this posting. I am going to share the post on my social media pages to see my friends and followers. Thank you so much!
Needing a business plan is always key! The list f points are just amazing. “know exactly what you’re selling” is the most vital one as discussed above in detail. I am going to share the post on my Twitter page to see my followers. Please keep up the good work!