Writing a business plan outline allows you to create a road map for your journey to success. It helps you to develop your business goals and strategies and provides you with a better understanding of the marketplace. It highlights any business strengths or weaknesses that you may have, and provides you with an opportunity to take a close look at your competitors. If you want, you can also include financial projections, historical data and growth expectations in your business plan. Any good business plan should show who the target audience is and just how the product or service that is being provided will meet or exceed their needs and expectations.
When organizing a business plan it is best if you break it down into sections. For example:
- Business summary – A brief description of the product or service you want to provide.
- Market analysis – A summary of the research on the product or service and how/what your competitors are doing.
- Product positioning – An explanation of how you will make your product or service more desirable than your competitors’.
- Market strategy – A more detailed list of the things you are going to do to market your product or service.
- Customer analysis – A description of what your research has determined your customers want or need.
- Financial analysis – A well defined list of the money you must invest in order to start your business and especially what you will need to keep it going during at least the first three months.
- Overall business goals – What you hope to achieve in the first year. Include financial as well as unit sales goals.
It is very important that once your have developed a business plan you use it as a working plan. Refer to it regularly to remind yourself of your business’s destination. Don’t just stick it in the back of a desk drawer.
Don’t get too uptight about this important task. Creating a useful business plan is not difficult. Just keep it simple but realistic. One or two pages should be all you need.
It is a simple fact of business life that a critical thing you must do when starting your online business is create a solid business plan and stick with it, and writing a business plan outline is a solid way to make this happen.