On occasion I get to dig in and really help an entrepreneur write a business plan. Whether you’re starting a business from scratch or buying a business, like we did, a business plan is a crucial piece for your commercial success.
Start with a Purpose:
First you want to start with the purpose of your plan. Are you going to use it for attracting funding? Any savvy investor will need to know about your business so they can determine the level of risk they’re taking loaning you money. The SBA requires one, banks require one, too, and so will your crazy uncle Jim. Another reason for a business plan is to create a path for you to follow when running your new enterprise. It forces you to map out a plan for your business success. A complete business plan covers all three pillars of business: Marketing, Operations, and Finance. If you consistently refer to the plan and modify it based on emerging business forces it can become a living document that evolves with your business. In the end making it a tool to help you innovate and learn from the mistakes of your past.
When we looked at our purchase of Media Works we needed to put a business plan together to secure funding through the SBA. We needed to present how we planned to pay back the money we borrowed. Our plan took the previous owners financial data and projected it forward over the life of the proposed loan. It also showed how we planned to grow the business and how it was going to be run. Since we wanted funding we focussed a lot on the projected financials and growth. We covered the operations but that was much less developed due to our needs.
Define Your Business:
When we developed our plan we defined our product offering in detail. As important as knowing what you offer we also defined what we were NOT offering. With a small business we can’t be all things to all people. We know we are experts at graphic and web design and have particular strengths in marketing and business planning. We clarified that Media Works would not provide videography, or printing. Knowing exactly what your company offers helps focus the marketing plan to be efficient.
Know Your Path:
One of our customers is a hard working entrepreneur that bought a business in a new industry to him. He loves animals and is passionate about their care. He recognized that he needed to set up a plan he could follow to help him achieve success. We worked together and developed a plan to brand his business as a high-end pet care service that cared for the physical and emotional needs of animal family members.
His plan differed from the business plan Media Works needed. His business was already funded, he needed to focus his work efforts to maximize his success and manage the management transition for his customers. The focus on future financials was less detailed. We created a more detailed operations section that highlighted his branding efforts. The final business plan was a guide to help him make decisions everyday for his business.
Having a plan in your head is a great first start. Developing that plan completely, writing it down, and applying that plan is a crucial process. Give Media Works a call to see how we can help you write a successful business plan.
Sales & Marketing
Media Works, LLC
Sales & Marketing
Office (406) 587-3583
Cell (406) 589-7355