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Creating a Business Plan

How many of you have thought about starting a business but quickly rejected the idea after thinking about everything you need to do to start the business? It can become an open and closed subject quickly if you are not prepared and have tools available to direct you along the way. As a business coach, specializing in helping entrepreneurs start their business, I am never surprised at the lack of understanding and knowledge of where to start. Today I wanted to give those seeking a path a place to start.

I have developed 5 easy steps to creating a business plan for your first year of business. If you would like a free copy of the business plan document, click here. One thing that I have identified that helps particularly when you are looking at becoming an entrepreneur, or starting in any large project is to take time to develop small actionable goals for success. One of my favorite sayings in coaching is how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Meaning you can't bite off more than you can chew and expect to be as successful. Small steady steps will help you to get to the finish line. So remember as you go through this process to be consistent, honest, and willing to take smaller steps to actually accomplish your goals without overwhelming yourself. Be kind to yourself through the process and seek professional assistance to eliminate or work through barriers you may have. Here are 5 steps to get you started on your journey to entrepreneurship.

  1. Why? Yes, Why? Why “this” business. What about it makes you want to do it? When you find your “why” this will be what fuels you when you want to give up. This will keep you grounded through the peaks and valleys of your business. The WHY of your business, will be the reminder for YOU! Defining your "why" needs to get to your personal level, why is it important to you. Example: I want to help women become successful, because I had a teacher tell me I would never succeed. That fuels me when I want to give up. I want people to become their best versions because I had mentors/coaches along the way that didn't give up on me.

  2. Vision, have you been dreaming about it? Take a moment and close your eyes? Take a deep breath and dream a moment. What do you see for your business? Write down what you see, not today but in the future, what will it look like? You must have a vision for anything and everything you do. Vision is so important, and it must be bigger than today! This is what your business will grow into, so go ahead and dream big!

  3. Pricing, how much is your time and effort worth? Have you ever thought about what your time is worth? When you start a business you need to fully understand your time commitment, the value of what you will provide, and the cost to maintain the business so that you can begin to price properly for your services/products. If you are selling products, you will need to determine the cost and time it takes to create the product, then you will be able to price appropriately. This is going to take time. You will not always have it right immediately, but something you need to carefully think about. Here are some thoughts to assist you as you start thinking about setting pricing.

    1. What do you make today (if you are working for someone else)? Break that into hours.

    2. when pricing a service, you should consider the time it takes to prepare and deliver it. Example: If a coach charges $100 hour, it takes time before and after a coaching session to prepare and follow up. Some coaches may provide 15-minute follow ups if needed throughout the week. So, let’s estimate that the time before, after and during the middle of the week is an hour, and then we have an hour session. When you divide the cost to the customer 100.00 by the time spent 2 hours, the coach is really making $50.00 an hour. ) You should also think about software, hardware costs to structure better pricing.

    3. Know your market. You can simply ask others in your business what they charging or you can look at their websites, to get an idea.

  4. Business finances to start up are critical to think about and plan for. So the question is, what are you willing to put into the business financially? Be honest with yourself on this one. Speak to your spouse and make sure you are all in agreement with how much money you are willing to put into the business before you really start seeing a return. This is going to help you determine your budget for the first year. You will need to understand what the costs of the business will be. (We will do a deeper dive into a full budget later, but you need to understand this as part of your business planning process.

  5. Advertisement is critical to any business. How will you get the news out to the public that you are now in business? There are many different platforms and resources, you just need to know what will be right for your company and what you have the finances to do.

    1. Social Media

    2. Flyers

    3. Advertisement in local papers

    4. Internet/Website

    5. Business cards

Now that you have read through the steps, I hope you don't feel as overwhelmed with taking on the task of starting your business. Once you have answered and gone through the 5 questions, you are well on your way to finalizing your business plan. This is the starting point for any business. If your business requires lenders, or investors, you will need to produce for them, your business plan. The plan they will want will require more detail than we've gone through here, but this will make it easier to pull all the pieces together to make your dream a reality. I have a workshop that will start in August called Business Essentials that will help you to start your business in 90 days. It will require work but in those 90 days your business will be a viable business, ready to launch and be successful. Along the journey of the 12 weeks you will receive critical 1:1 coaching to guide you through eliminating limited belief systems which is where most people get stuck! We want you to be successful in business.

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