One of the biggest downfalls an entrepreneur can make is failing have a concrete business plan. It is often quoted: “A goal without a plan is just a dream.”
Start-up businesses need a formal plan in order to get proper support and funding. In one of my previous business lives, I evaluated startup companies for funding and was surprised how few entrepreneurs took a step beyond their “big idea” and worked out logistics, budgeting and forecasting.
Not to say that every detail or contingency must be mapped out because as we all know, seldom do things go according to plan. But at the very least you should answer some big questions:
Questions to Ask Before You Start Your Business
(1) Can I make money at this?
(2) Who is my core customer and do I understand what they want?
(3) How much do I need to adequately start up this business?
(4) Where am I getting this money?
(5) How am I promoting this business?
(6) How will I price it?
(7) Who is my competition?
Make a detailed plan involving budgets and forecasts to present potential investors or banks. Run your business plan by mentors or other business people. Ask for their valuable input and advice.
Update your business plan as your business moves forward and circumstances change. There are many resources on the internet to give you a template for a business plan or you can visit the US Small Business Administration’s website: www.sba.gov/writing-business-plan. You can also read our post on 7 Step Business Plan.
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