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You probably have a business idea right now. Excellent! Now you have to think about that idea by putting your thoughts on paper. A one-page business plan walks you through every step of planning your business idea. Once you know your financial projections, you can complete the basics of this plan in less than 15 minutes. Planning is a great way to thoroughly understand the costs and revenue potential of your business idea.
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Download the template and save it to your desktop for easy access. You can edit the fields in the PDF file. You can also print and handwrite the document. Answer each question in one or two sentences – write in incomplete sentences.
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If you need more space to write, place your main ideas in a template and continue writing in a separate document.
Any business solves a problem. What specific problem does your business solve for the client? Try to get to your client’s core problem.
For example, lawn maintenance for a landscape company may be a problem for a “time-poor” customer; however, please be more specific if possible. For example, the real problem may be an uncleaned lawn. You can visually see an uncleaned lawn – it is much harder to see “wasted time”.
You’ve identified the problem, now you need a solution. What specific action will you take to resolve the customer’s problem? That solution is your product or service. Don’t be afraid to clarify your decision.
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Going back to the landscaping example, your solution is to improve and maintain a unkempt lawn. However, I encourage you to go one step further with your decision. Maybe you’re creating a lawn that’s the envy of your neighbors, and this emotional decision is a powerful one.
Tip: If you are starting a new type of business, test your solution on a small scale without spending a lot of money. This test ensures that customers will pay you for the solution. In entrepreneurship, a common saying for a struggling new business is that it created a “solution to a problem that didn’t exist.” Don’t be that kind of business.
For most businesses, its business model is simple. A product is sold or a service is provided, and the company pays.
You’ll also want to describe how and where the products and services will be sold. Are they sold at your own business or office? Someone else’s shop or office? Do you do e-commerce on your own website or online marketplace like Amazon?
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In this step, you should also set your price—basically, how much will you charge? This can be difficult to determine. Consider browsing competitor websites to determine pricing. You may want to call a competitor and ask for a quote.
Your target customers are your ideal customers. The worst answer to the question of who is your target customer is “everyone”. Even some of the most popular companies aren’t for everyone—Facebook is for college students, Amazon sells books. Also, a common marketing saying is, “If you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one.”
When thinking about who your target customers are, think demographics. Think about specifics like age, income, gender, hobbies and location.
When you’re clear about your target customers, your marketing strategy becomes clearer—you understand where and how to spend your marketing dollars.
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List any strategies you use to entice potential customers to learn about your business. As a new business, it can be difficult to reach and convince your first customers. How do you do that?
Personal networking and marketing for your business is often more effective than online marketing. However, some internet marketing is free and can reach many people.
If you’re looking for local customers, consider claiming and optimizing your free Google My Business (GMB) listing. Additionally, set up a free one-page website after creating your GMB listing. Available!
Before you articulate your competitive advantage, study your competitors – know their strengths and weaknesses. Once you know you can do better than your competitors, pick one or two areas where you excel.
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For example, you can provide exceptional customer service if you notice that they have poor online reviews. In fact, your marketing can call it something like a satisfaction guarantee.
Or maybe you’re faster than your competition — “done in two days or less!” Don’t be afraid to call out your competitors and tell them why you have the best “X” in your business.
Part of the financial projections are called startup costs—how much money you’ll need to open your doors. For these costs, list all the items and services you need to start your business.
When calculating startup costs, you want to overestimate the amount rather than underestimate it. Oftentimes, a new business owner may not be aware of certain startup costs. If you cut costs, you may run out of cash before you get your first customer.
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Calculate how much money your business spends each month. Create reports for the first 12 months.
This may require research. You may have to pick up the phone and ask for quotes on things like raw materials, equipment, and insurance.
Now the fun part is the amount of money you expect. How many monthly customers do you plan to have in the first 12 months? You should get your price from the business model step. Multiply the number of customers by the price to get an estimated monthly income.
Depending on the type of business, you can increase your customer base every month. You can expect a few customers in the first month — dozens of new customers in 12 months. However, you are not
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What if the company doesn’t achieve the sales you predicted? Or a natural disaster like a hurricane or pandemic? Do you have enough cash saved to get you through the tough times in your business?
Now that you have the funding you need to be up and running for at least six months, you can go out and raise that money through a variety of sources, such as:
If you want to create a more in-depth business plan after reading this guide, remember that there are different types of business plans. For example, if you are seeking funding from a bank or investor, you will need to create a traditional business plan. This type of plan requires careful market research and financial forecasting.
Now that you have a one-page business plan, there’s no looking back! As your business progresses, revisit your plan often.
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It’s a best practice to track your income and expenses to see if your projections are on track. Have you exceeded your goals? What works well or not so well? Use your one-page business plan to show the current state of your business and update it as needed.
Blake Stockton is an employee of Fit Small Business, focusing on how to start a brick-and-mortar and online business. He is a frequent guest lecturer in several undergraduate business and MBA classes at the University of North Florida. Before joining Fit Small Business, Blake consulted with over 700 small business owners to help them launch and grow their businesses. We know that running your own business is not easy. No matter what obstacles stand in your way, it takes courage, determination and determination to achieve your dreams.
I would like to tell you the story of a famous businessman who faced many challenges but persevered and eventually achieved great success. Most of us know the name J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.
But did you know she was a single mom before becoming a bestselling author? Despite financial difficulties, J.K. Rowling refused to give up on her dream of becoming a writer.
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Likewise, starting your own WEB business can seem daunting. You may doubt your skills, worry about costs, or feel overwhelmed by all the technical jargon. But J.K. Rowling, it takes a little determination and a willingness to act.
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