If you're hoping to pick up a few extra dollars with a home-based business or to quit your job and work from home, one thing is certain: you need to have a plan. A business plan.
A business plan is essentially a road map for your business.
Noah Dyer, director of Internet strategy at Phoenix Internet Marketing Company Sure Spark , says it's a written document that helps you identify exactly what your product or company is, who it will serve, how you will market it and how you will finance it.
By creating a business plan before launching your company, Dyer says you're able to view your business idea objectively and clearly outline the steps you'll need to take to go from "awesome idea" to "successful company."
Without a plan, Dyer says you'll be lacking goals to measure success, you won't have any strategy to follow, and your business will almost surely end in disaster.
That may sound harsh, but as the saying goes, "Failing to planning is the same as planning to fail."
Once you've created a solid business plan, Dyer says you'll be armed with:
· a definition of the problem or need your company solves
· evidence that customers will buy your product/service
· a strategy for how you will sustain your competitive differentiation
· timeframes to achieve significant revenue and/or cash flow positive
You may think you only need a business plan if you're hoping to one day stand in front of investors like they do on Shark Tank. But Dyer says, the reality is, even if you don't need investors or never plan on selling, a business plan is a still a necessary tool for evaluating your success, identifying areas that need improvement and preparing for growth.
Business plans come in all shapes and sizes, but they will generally contain the following:
· Executive Summary
· Business Description
· Sales and Marketing Strategies
· Competitive Analysis
· Management Team
· Financial Projections
Sure Spark has created a free downloadable self evaluation to help you get started on your business plan. You can find it at at www.suresparkmarketing.com/resources .
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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