Starting up your own business is no easy feat. The amount of work required, the dedication, the sacrifices – these can all take a toll on a person. However, the rewards are amazing as well. Being your own boss, not answering to anyone, and actually being the captain of your own fate… So, if you want to actually enjoy these benefits and have things go smoothly (as much as they essentially can), we suggest you draft up a good plan.
A company without a plan is like sailing a ship without a map, without a compass, basically lacking any type of navigation. Furthermore, while a business plan can provide you with some direction, it can also serve as a tool you can use to attract investors or top talent. For these reasons we have written up this article, which you can find below. Here you can find the things you need to keep in mind in order to draft an effective business plan.
Do your homework
The first thing you need to do is get your homework done with. Namely, research, research, and do some more research. You need to have a clear view of your market, your products, your services… Furtherer, you need to become familiar with Australia’s laws and bylaws that govern your field. And, it gets even more complicated. Namely, you also need to understand your local laws and regulations. For example, if you’re operating in Sydney, you need to check on any New South Wales laws that govern how you run your company. Do some research on what kind of licenses and certificates you need in order to operate in your area…
Now, there is some danger here. Namely, too much research can lead to procrastination, to not actually making a serious decision, but just researching and researching, just gathering information and thinking that’s useful. There comes a point where it’s more cost-effective and just plain better for your goals if you stop researching, and start doing. Now, of course, you don’t have this luxury when it comes to legal regulations – for this type of thing you need to be familiar with it completely. But, the market, your customer base, this type of information can and should always be improved upon anyway.
Prepare your company profile
A good business plan should contain your company’s profile. Namely, this should serve as a kind of snapshot of your business, it should present what your business represents, what it stands for. This serves as both a reminder for you and as a presentation to potential clients and business partners.
It should also contain the history of your organization, as well as what products or services it offers. It should outline your expertise in this specific area, who your target audience is, and what makes your specific company special. You can also place all of this information later on your about page, on your website.
Namely, you can think of your business plan as a type of CV, a resume of your company, with a bit more information added.
Delegation and hierarchy of tasks
A business plan, whether used as a navigational tool or as a presentation for your clients, needs to have an outline of the ownership structure of your company. So, who owns the most shares, in what capacity, what percentage…? It should also contain a clear outline of who does what, when, and how. Who is the director, the owner, the manager, and what are their responsibilities, both in terms of work, and in terms of legal issues.
Furthermore, how many departments will be in-house, and how many will you need to delegate to. So, who will be handling your accounting, for example? Are you going to hire one of the top Australian accounting firms, or will you have some accountants always on call in your place?
Marketing is a must
Next, your business plan also needs to include a strategic marketing plan. This means you need to have a rough plan on how you intend to get your name out there. Are you gonna go the standard route, with TV, banners, and newspapers? Do you plan on utilizing social media and online marketing to its fullest extent? Perhaps you have your eyes set on guerrilla marketing? Of course, the most likely answer is a combination of all three, but you should at least outline what your core marketing strategy will be.
Furthermore, you need to explain how you intend to fulfill certain marketing objectives. So, things like introducing a new product, regaining the market for products you already have, how you intend to branch out and spread out, how you intend to boost sales…
We all know how fickle Australian bureaucracy can be. For this reason, documenting everything can save you from a lot of heartache and lots of stress down the road. Furthermore, your investors will definitely want to know where their money is going. So, we suggest you document everything, your expenses, your cash flows, where your own investments are going, and what your experimental projects are (and how much they cost). Licensing agreements, certificates, and things of that nature might also be useful down the line.
Furthermore, keep any and all correspondence with clients and suppliers in a safe, protected location. Anything digital should be backed up several times, and be secured in some way or another.
Adaptability is key
A common mistake people make is becoming constrained and locked into their business plans. While adhering to a plan is vital if you want to see it through, following it blindly, getting tunnel vision, this will not do you any good. Leave some room for change in your plan, be prepared to modify your work and your vision in accordance with the market.
However, there is another level when it comes to adaptability. Namely, your investors, people who will be reading your plan as well, they will most likely come from a variety of fields. Lawyers, bankers, venture capitalists… You want your plan to be adapted, or adaptable, for each of these groups. Now, they do have a common interest and a common role here, so you won’t have to do too much adapting. However, you will find that bankers prefer hard numbers and balance sheets, while a venture capitalist will prefer something with a bit more flash. And of course, when your employees use it, they need it as a reminder. Learning how to properly communicate with different people is, as always, key.
This means you may end up with a plan that is at one moment full of numbers, charts, and graphs, while at other times reads more like a motivational letter. Your employees, however, might prefer it in a form of bullets and clear, concrete objectives.
We understand how exciting starting your own business can be. However, understand that many startups go under, that success, while possible, is not easy. For that reason, you need to have the right tools, the right plan. Like a ship’s navigational officer looks up towards the stars, you need to look towards your business plan if you want to navigate your company safely. Knowing where you are going and how you are supposed to get there is key to success. However, you also need to keep some things in mind, things that will help you stay on task, and save you from future headaches – a good plan needs to have it all. So, document everything, be smart with your paperwork. Then, keep your plan flexible, and delegate properly. Don’t skimp on your homework, and remember that this plan is as much for you as it is for your investors and potential clients.
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