Are you starting a new business or a new project? First step is to create a business plan.
Everything starts with an idea. An idea which may take years to take shape. What makes you spend a large part of your life and possibly a lot of money in a conviction that no one seems to share with you? We know that it is the voice in your head which makes you follow your dream. Have you ever thought, why have you not been able to convince your friends, family or investors to the same degree with which you believe? An effective business plan may help you do so. Studies say, that there is no correlation in creating a business plan and gaining success in business. However, there is a large correlation between creating a business plan and starting a business.
Some of the points you should consider while creating a business plan are as follows:
Solve a problem.
Probability of success of any business amplifies when you are directly solving an issued faced by many. Identify a problem statement and break it into parts. Recognise the cause and effect relationship and attack the right component. This analysis will serve as an answer to “Why” are your services or product needed?
Identify your target segment
Once you have thought about the product and solution it is offering, the next big question is who you are catering to. This is important because all your marketing strategies and channels, pricing, product design and communication will be tailored to suit the needs and preferences of a particular category of clients. Increasingly, there is no One size fits all offering.
With the advent of increasing mobile usage and digital marketing, many other mediums are losing their value. However, do not blindly follow what your competitors are doing. What works for them may not work for you. Create a marketing budget according to the channel and give it time to make an impact. Digital marketing is a powerful and cost effective tool to reach your audience faster. Use it to your advantage.
To each, their product or service seems to be superior and unbeatable. However it is advisable to be realistic while assessing the robustness of an offering. A strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) analysis will help you assess just that. It helps you take informed decisions and goes a long way in evolution of your product. Conduct a thorough direct and indirect market research with clear objectives and plot your learning in this analysis.
A great team is a reflection of the commitment and conviction in an idea. Keep your trusted advisors close and give them important roles. Consult senior industry leaders and learn from their mistakes. Give your team room to grow and to be successful. An entrepreneurial venture is a sum total of various people taking right decisions in their area of operations.
Though everything that you have predicted will not go your way, it is still important to chart all setup costs, revenue streams and operating costs. Make a monthly budgeted cash flow for next 24 months and follow it to the best extent possible. Financial Analysis is not only to be used for valuation of the company. It may act as a guiding tool which helps you access the deviation from the original plan.
Sales & CRM
Focus on Sales. Ultimately majority of business plans fail because of a lack of dynamic sales strategy. Keep your focus on the customer. Learn their behaviour to strengthen relationships. A repeat business is much easier to get over a new business. Use a good CRM and train your sales team to use the tool to their benefit. An advanced CRM can throw insightful information which can help you close a potential sale much faster and ensure the continuity of information in the event of employee attrition.