I have talked to several friends recently who looked at me cross ways when I mentioned having a business plan, and I smiled inside. I remember that feeling well.When I first began looking into the blogging world, I remember coming across so many unknown terms and daunting ideas. I had zero technical skills and was completely overwhelmed. One of the things I kept reading over and over again was that I absolutely needed to have a business plan. For starters, just the word business plan was scary. It sounded all technical and stuffy. Then I began researching business plans and was completely blown away. I read them several times and still had no clue what in the world they were talking about. How was I suppose to make something like that, well unless I took a course in modern American Shakespeare? :)
I researched for awhile and came across simple hints here and there as to what a good business plan should contain. Since I was a blogger and not a brick and mortar small business a lot of the technical mumbo jumbo was not necessary, thankfully for me and you. :) After I buckled down and created my business plan, I quickly realized how necessary and effective it really is. I continually look at my business plan and even tweak it to make it more realistic and me. To be honest, in the beginning of my blogging days, I was a little scattered. I didn't know my voice or really my audience very well. It just takes time to hone these skills and figure out who you are, so if anything I say sounds complicated and scary, just remember that we all start out that way. Just start, you will figure it out more as you go along.
So to start, what in the world is a business plan anyways? Good question! :) A business plan is exactly that a plan for your business. The first step is to figure out what type of business you are going to have. Are you going to be a blogger? Open an Etsy shop? Website Designer? Internet Marketer? Drop Shipper? Freelance Writer?
After you figure out what type of business you want to have, you can begin using this printable Business Plan to plan your business. I promise it is not difficult, and I will walk you through step by step.
1. Vision Statement: You figure out your vision statement by asking yourself what is the purpose of my business? Why does it exist? This is an example of my vision statement." I am a passionate mommypreneur and am dedicated to helping mommies reproduce their income while at home, fully present in their children's lives."
2. Mission Statement: How are you going to accomplish your vision? My mission statement is this: I will accomplish this by providing mom's the help they need to start a successful online business and also giving them organization, parenting, and frugality tips along the way that help streamline this process. Pretty simple, right?
3. Target Market: Thinking about your business as a whole, figure out who it speaks to. For instance, my target market is a work at home mom. Maybe you are a cake decorator. Your target market could be weddings, graduations, birthdays. It is best if you try to pick one and become the best at it. The more focused and narrow your target market is the faster you will be able to build your business. If you advertise to everyone, you will sell to no one.
4. Branding: This is where it gets fun. :) You want to start off by become a unique brand so that eventually people will see your logo and know exactly who you are and what you are about. Think of Starbucks, Walmart, Chick-fil-A, and Apple. Each of them have a very unique, unmistakable logo and style. So this is the purpose of this step. You want to figure out these aspects:
5. Goals: You are doing great so far! Now that you have all that established, your business should be becoming a little bit clearer in your head. Now you want to, plan your yearly goals. Where would you like your business to be exactly one year from now? After you have that settled, break it down into monthly goals. You can see my post on planning here for how I did mine.
6. Content: Now that you know where you are going, we need to figure out what type of content you will be creating for your ideal reader or customer. One business rule you must always remember is this:
7. Schedule: It is very important that keep you keep a consistent schedule in all of your business dealings. This is especially true in your social media and newsletters. You want to set a consistent schedule for when you will add new content and send out your newsletters. For example, I blog three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and I email my list every day except Sunday.
8. Social Media Strategy: If you are planning on building your business, solely through free advertising, this point will either make or break your business! You have to have a solid, consistent social media strategy. I know if you are new this sounds totally foreign. I completely get that because I was there too. I wrote this detailed post about how to make a social media strategy.
9. Advertising: There is no way to beat around the bush here, establishing a business takes work and money. If you plan to build your business with no paid advertising, just know that it will take a lot of consistent time and effort. It will be slow. If you want to jump start your business and have the means to do that, before you go spend all your money on one thing, take this into consideration.You want to have consistent advertising. So figure out your daily or weekly budget first and then look into what type of advertising you would like to do. These are a couple options you have available:
- Solo ads
- Facebook PPC
- Contextual Advertising
- Pinterest Rich Pins
- Twitter paid tweets
10. Helpful Tools: This is not a real part of the business plan, but when I was researching in the beginning, I added this area to write down all the tools that may be helpful for me. I included my list in the free printable.
This is the basic business plan that I have created that I feel covers most of the groundwork. Depending on your type of business, you may want to add sections like the following:
- Guest Post Guidelines (if you are a blogger)
- Hire Me Pitch ( freelancers)
- Affiliates and Brands you want to work with
- Raw cost to produce sales items in your shop
- Return and Shipping Guidelines
- How you are going to price your items
I hope that this gets you well on your way to a successful business! If you want more tips, tune into my webinar this Tuesday at 2pm central and subscribe to my newsletter. :) Hope you have an amazing day!
Business Plan printable template :)