Do you have a business plan yet?
Many entrepreneurs dive head first into starting a business. They sorta do what they want or what they think will work and see what sticks and what doesn’t. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because honestly, taking risks and making fast decisions is all apart of the game. However, as a mompreneur, you have a lot more on your plate than the average business owner.
You also know about the power in planning.
Is a business plan REALLY that important?
I would say so.
As an entrepreneur, you are also an innovator (most likely) so this means that you have a lot of ideas floating around in that pretty head of yours.
At the same time, you have a lot of other responsibilities and tasks to deal with click this. Now couple this with all of your responsibilities as a mom. Talk about overwhelm!
It can be a challenge to balance all of it and that’s why having a business plan can be a great value to you.
Let’s look at all of the things your business plan can do fo you:
Outline your vision
Create and solidify your mission
Map out your goals
Support your business growth
Now when I talk about creating a business plan with my clients, I don’t stress having a plan that is formally written. It doesn’t need to be 40 pages long. I’m talking about a simple two to three page plan, expressing the thoughts you have for your business within the next three to five years or so. Just create a plan that supports you and your vision.
How do you organize your business plan?
There’s really no need to spend money on consulting an expert for this. There are many business plan templates online that you can get for free.
Some of them might take the extra effort to fit your needs, but if it works fine for you, then go for it. You can also use a little tool I like at bplans.com to walk you step by step through the process. It’s pretty simple and makes it so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
Another easy way to accomplish getting your business plan done, is to pull out your notepad on your computer or keep a binder on your desk.
You can just create a new folder on your computer and divide each section so that you stay organized.
For example, one section might be marketing. Another section might be information product creation, and so on.
You can even put a calendar in each section of your business plan to track your goals and schedule.
The notepad system works well because it’s easy for you to add pages and information to it. Like I said previously, a business plan is something that evolves and will change and grow as your business changes and grows.
The use of a business plan
A business plan is created to help you. It can’t do its job if it sits on your desktop and you never look at it again. It’s designed to help you plan, act, and stay on track to reach your goals.
Just like you schedule your other tasks, you also want to create a system of reviewing your business plan periodically. The great part in all of this is that each time you open your business plan you’ll feel excited, motivated, and empowered to continue creating and growing your business. That in itself is worth it.
A quick overview
You probably don’t need to know how important a business plan is, but just in case (for those who may be sleeping under a rock), a business plan is guidance, so yes…you need one (not trying to sound redundant). Basically it’s an important assistant for anyone who starts or runs a business….and that means you! Business plans may consume some time to make, but that’s ok because in the long term, you may save a lot of time and cash flow. At least you’ll know where your money is coming from and going to.
It’s time to realize how crucial home business organization is to your overall success. To avoid issues in the long run, take some time and devise a workable organization and file system now.
What you can do is get a sturdy lockable filing cabinet and durable hanging folders. Purchase manila folders to tuck inside the hanging folders, and make sure you’ve likewise got several manila envelopes on hand that you may tuck receipts into and easily label.
Another tip: Organize your financial papers chronologically, and divide them by types. Sort all your financial papers into piles and stack them chronologically. Make sure you have folders for bank statements, credit info, bill stubs, payroll check stubs, receipts, tax info, realty papers, investment papers, insurances and statements, loan agreements and any other financial papers in separate hanging folders so you can easily find that stuff when you need to.
Also, separate your tax info by year. Include returns, receipts, copies of W-2s, 1099s and other pertinent tax info. Separate the bill stubs by the companies they represent and put realty papers in order by mortgage documents, home improvement receipts, second mortgages and so on.
Crucial documents like savings and certificate of deposit passbooks, car titles, stocks and yearly IRA, pension and profit-sharing statements should be kept in a safe deposit box, along with any vital records and valuables.
Make certain to keep on top of your inbox, particularly your bills that need to be paid up. Put them in a separate place where they’re easily seen and you can just grab them when you’re ready to make a payment.
Financial planning software for your convenience is available to you, and most are very user-friendly so consider this for ease of mind. If you decide to go this route, make sure to back up your data on a regular basis. (It’s always good to have an external hard drive or you can use a backup service such as Carbonite and pay once a year to backup your files).
If you make the commitment to keep on top of your filing and organization system on a continuous basis, you’ll benefit big time. If you don’t, the paperwork demon will easily come for you again and again and it might not be pretty.
This is just one part of the basic business planning that you should be doing but it’s very important so don’t take it lightly. You’ll save yourself from future headaches if you get organized now.
First learn the basics
There are a number of ways of formulating a business plan but there are certain essential sections that they should all contain.
Now just to be clear- if you are looking for investors and stakeholders you would want to include things such as an Executive Summary of less than two pages at the start of the business plan which sells the plan and highlights its features.
You’ll also want to include a Company Summary containing a factual description of the company, its owners and history (if any). There would need to be a section referring to products and/or services and their uniqueness in the market (market research has to be done either way).
But…if you are solely running your business yourself and plan to do so for the long haul, it is essential that you include a Market Analysis providing a summary of your ideal customers and your competition. When you do your market research, you’ll understand why this part is so critical to your business plan. You need to know who your target market is and spy on your competitors to see what’s working.
Then you want to have a section for Strategies and Implementation describing how your products will be sold and how the plan will be put into action.
There needs to be a Financial Plan indicating sales, cash flow and profits. You could create something like this:
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Once you get started with this, you’ll be on your way to a better understanding of your business needs. Plan away!