WISDOM IN A TRAFFIC JAM: Do I Need a Business Plan?

By on June 1, 2012
Wisdom in a Traffic Jam

Dear Angella,
I have what I believe is a good idea for a business. I am not sure what my first steps should be. Do I really need a business plan? Where do I start?
Tonya

Tonya,
Your business plan is a good start. I however believe there are a few questions you should answer before you start to develop your plan. Most of these questions will come up again when you make the leap to formalize your business plan. What I am suggesting is to make sure you have a viable business. It’s important that you write the answers out to each of these questions, and let a few trusted people look them over. In our minds we often understand what we are saying, but the key is can others.

1.) Who are you? What qualifies you to run this or any business? What experience do you have? Are you planning to learn on the job, or take business classes? What is your background in?

2.) What exactly is your business going to offer? What product or service will you be offering to others? Who will be your client? How will you attract these clients?

3.) Who is your competition? What makes you different from everyone else?

4.) Will you need an office, warehouse space? Are you planning to work from home? Travel to different cities?

5.) When do you plan to start this business and start taking on new clients?

6.) What about expenses? Will you get a loan, or use your credit cards? How will you pay the bills until you have steady revenue?

These are just a few questions to get you started thinking about what it is you want to do. The better you can define and answer these questions, the easier your business plan will be.

Once you are satisfied with your answers, ask yourself if you feel good about your business idea. If you do, then the next step is to put together your business plan. If you do not, then you need to reevaluate your business idea. When you are ready, your business plan can be anything from a simple one page document to a 100- page document. It all depends on the amount of research and data you want to put into it. There is no required amount. If you are still feeling overwhelmed there are many books you can read, such as “Business Plans for Dummies”. The Internet is full of books and guides.

If you would like to talk to someone about your plan you can reach out to SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) www.scorerochester.org or SBA (Small Business Administration) www.sba.gov. Who better to talk to than people who have been in your shoes? They are there to be the sounding board, to ask questions in order for you to flesh out your idea better. If you don’t know where to find information, they can help you. They may be able to make suggestions that you might not have thought of.

Don’t let the business plan scare you into not pursuing your dream. Take a few minutes out of each day to work on it. Before you know it you will have your working business plan. I say working, because you will continue to make changes and adaptations throughout your business. Take the leap and join the world of business owners.

Angella Luyk is CEO of Midnight Janitorial Inc. and published author of Wisdom in Traffic Jam. Want to learn more about her or have a question, check out her website www.wisdominatrafficjam.com or www.midnightjanitorial.com or contact her directly 585-414-6960.

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