Do you have a great idea for a business, or an idea of how to grow your current business? Prospective and current business owners often make the mistake of trying to move forward with a business without having anything in writing; it exists just as an idea in their mind. How do you take it to the next step?
If you have a plan written down, you are more accountable to it. Yes, you can make changes along the way, but you can always check if you are staying true to your mission or plan and see what is working or not working.
Once you get started with a business plan, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Take a look at census statistics and the statistics from the Chamber of Commerce, as well as data that is available through SCORE and the Small Business Development Center. Using this information, try to answer these questions:
An important part of a business plan is financing. Are you self-financing, looking for investors, or applying for a loan? The bank and investors want to see what is going to happen in a month, a year, five years, or more. They might ask:
Sometimes businesses need a loan for something as simple as buying a building instead of renting, this turns the space it into an asset instead of a liability. This comes up quite often, and purchasing their own space can help a business tremendously.
If you have a business idea in mind, you also need to determine how much you are going to do in-house, and how much you are going to outsource.
If you do some research into these questions, you will be better able to determine if it is worth performing some tasks in-house or if you need to partner with/hire another company to handle some tasks. For example, a client developed a product, had it manufactured by one business, and had another business package it in a different part of the state. For some business owners, outsourcing these tasks may be more cost effective than trying to do it all yourself or with your staff alone.
Another important thing to consider is potential hurdles for your business to overcome. If you are looking for financing through investors or through a bank, they will want to see that you are prepared to handle these obstacles. Even if you are not looking for outside investment for your company, you should still take this into consideration.
Many businesses will seek loans for a secondary piece of equipment to take on more customers, and if one goes offline they do not go out of business until it gets fixed or replaced.
You have to be forward thinking to make sure you can stay in business in case your equipment should fail.
Our local chapter of SBCD www.sbdc.unf.edu or Score Mentors of Citrus County www.citruscounty.score.org can help in preparing your business plan. Contact Lorrie Hamilton, Citrus Market Leader at 352-220-6091 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bbt.com for more small business tips.