Why is it that some start-ups succeed while others don’t? That some rake in millions after just a couple of years, while others fold soon after launch? It doesn’t matter the industry — it can be a book-selling website or one that offers a website builder — all successful start-ups share one thing: a good business plan.
Writing a good business plan requires a lot of work, work that is definitely worth it. If you don’t want your business to fail, it pays to undertake business planning prior to launch.
Here are the 10 key steps you must take to plan your business.
1) Know your business inside out
Before doing business planning, you need to know everything first about your business. Take a step back and look at your trade.
Ask yourself: is it unique enough? Is there a market for it? Does it include my field of interest?
Whether it is a product to be sold or a service to be provided, you need to fully investigate it.
2) Know your competition
It’s crucial to check your competition and make yourself different from the others. Do something out of the box so you can stand out and attract the customers you want and need.
3) Check for mistakes
Check on similar businesses already in the field. Aside from finding out their success stories, you need to look for the failures, too, to get a better idea of what you are going into.
Learn from other companies’ mistakes, and make sure you don’t commit the same ones.
4) Unmask misconceptions
There are misconceptions in every business, and it’s something you should clear out before business planning.
For instance, in the field of blogging, there are many websites that offer a lot of content but not all of them are useful or even readable. Don’t get taken in by get-rich-quick schemes, look for long-term potentials in your business.
5) Who’s your audience?
Select your target customers and know them. Produce your goods or services that will target your chosen customers’ pain points.
When you tailor your offerings to solve a certain market’s needs, you would be able to provide both uniqueness and value.
6) Manage your finances responsibly
When a start-up or a company puts forward their business project, investors expect more than just uniqueness.
There must be sound financial planning, too.
Have an estimate of your budget pre- and post-launch, and make sure that in your business planning, you have an answer for how the company will grow.
7) Be realistic
You should be realistic and know why your business will succeed (e.g., it has a ready and unsaturated target market, it has low overhead, it has a solid marketing plan) and why it might fail.
Think about what could go wrong and include contingency plans in your business planning.
Once you have drafted your business plan, have it reviewed by an expert in the field to get a good and objective assessment so you can revise as needed.
With proper business planning, any startup — from a site offering a website builder to a freelancer setting up a consultancy business — will surely be on its way to success.
More tips from professionals
In case the tips we have outlined in this article are not enough, check out more business plan tips from the pros here.
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Originally published at www.bookmark.com on September 12, 2016.