business plan 101
Creating a business plan can often be a stumbling block for new businesses. Why is that? It can be hard to know where to begin, and what you should absolutely include and what can be left off. Many startups delay putting together a formal business plan, and even with all the templates available, see it as an overwhelming challenge to piece together all the moving parts that will, hopefully, form a successful business idea.
So let’s talk about what you should include in your business plan. I always suggest beginning with the tough part of asking the tough questions.There are a multitude of questions you should ask yourself about your new business, such as:
- What’s your superpower?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Is it time to upskill?
- How much experience do you have in the industry you’re going into?
- What does your personal financial situation look like?
- Do you have contacts in the industry?
About the Product or Service
- What’s your product or service?
- What about production? Supply chain?
- Do you need a patent?
- What’s your pricing strategy?
- Who are your competitors? (Tip: Don’t forget to secret shop them!)
- Are you B2B, B2C, D2C, Gov.?
These will get you off to a good start. When it comes to the actual nitty gritty, operational details, it helps to have some resources as options. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Legal – Do you need a lawyer for contracts and incorporating the business? Try my friend Steven Stark on UpCounsel.
- Rent – Decide whether you’ll rent/lease a space or use a virtual office.
- Financing/Accounting – ask friends and your banker to refer you to a Small Business CPA, or one that specializes in Startups.
- Check out Bench for Bookkeeping.
- You can use Quickbooks/Intuit for the software (BOA Payroll).
- Use Stripe for payments.
- Funding: Consider Line of Credit, credit cards, loans, SBA, VC’s & Angels.
- Branding – hire a branding and design agency like SackLunch
- Alternatively you can use 99 Designs
- Create a good story (check out my good friends Dan Grech at BizHack and Shlomi Ron at VSI)
- Do a Design Thinking exercise- Take a look at https://www.ideo.org/
5. Web & Technology –
- Design and Develop a Website – WordPress, Wix, Square Space, Shopify, etc.
- Technology (hosting, email, cloud for docs, contracts)
- Customer Service Support (consider a Chat or support ticket system on your website)
6. Marketing & Sales –
- Decide on a Marketing Strategy (perhaps take a class at BizHack)
- Learn with mini lessons from Google – Primer from Google
- Decide on your goals and objectives. Are you looking to raise awareness, generate leads, drive calls, etc.?
- Analyze your Customer’s Journey
- Hire a copywriter or find one on Textbroker or Fiverr (SEO experience is a plus)
- Learn more about Digital Marketing with Prediq or on my Dadpreneur Podcast
- What’s your Social Media Strategy?
- What’s your Email Marketing Strategy?
- Where will you advertise?
- What CRM will you use to manage customers?
- What’s your Sales Strategy and Process?
- Get out there and build a network
7. HR – Talent Development/Acquisition
- Before you hire maybe consider a VA
- Use tools to better understand people – Use a DISC and Emotional Intelligence Assessment
All of these considerations and decisions will guide you in the right direction — growth!
Here are a few of my tried and true methods for growing a successful startup:
Get a mentor! This is a surefire way to gain entry into the world of experience. You should pair up, preferably with an entrepreneur with a successful record. You will learn things you could never learn otherwise, just trust me on this one!
Here are a few programs to help Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs:
- Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
- The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative – It’s a research and education collaboration between Stanford University and the Latino Business Action Network.
- Jim Moran Institute at FSU School of Business
You may also consider going to the SBA or SBDC for help from experienced mentors.
Once you’re up and running — let your business be seen! I’ve put together this list of resources you can use to enhance your Digital Marketing results and optimize your Website:
- Pagespeed Tool: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- Free Website Audit: https://www.prediq.io/website-audit/
- Prediq Blog: https://www.prediq.io/digital-marketing-and-lead-generation-blogs/
- Marketing Podcast: http://dadpreneur.co/
- Digital Marketing Education: https://bizhack.com/digital-marketers-course/
- Lead Gen Tool Guide : https://www.prediq.io/digital-marketing-tools_prediq-2021/
- Marketing Evaluation: https://www.prediq.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Prediq-Marketing-Evaluation-2021.pdf
- Lead Gen eBook: https://www.prediq.io/online-leadgeneration-ebook/
- Social Media # Kit: https://www.socialpilot.co/ebooks/trending-hashtags-kit-2021
- Find Out Your Facebook Ad Score: http://ssqt.co/m5jrkmK
Read about it! Some great books for Entrepreneurs, Marketers & Leaders:
- Start With Why and The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
- Tipping point, Blink & Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- 5 Levels of Leadership by John C Maxwell
- Good to Great, & Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porra
- 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
I hope these steps will help entrepreneurs put together a quick business plan without fuss. This is really the nuts and bolts of building a business plan that works for you and not the other way around. It’s meant to move things along fast. It’s all about execution! Don’t wait until it’s perfect or it’ll never go live. In today’s global economy that is constantly changing, you have to be willing to innovate.
I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes; “Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start.” -Simon Sinek
Check out our podcast for more tips to help your business!