Running a successful business is usually easier when you have a solid business plan. In essence, a business plan helps you identify and remember where you want to go and how to get there. A business plan can be very complex but it can also be a little bit simpler especially for small family-run businesses. There are many ways and sources out there to teach how to go about in creating a business plan but see if our initial steps below can help you start the thinking.

Step 1 - Define your target, and the core of your business

Exactly who are you targeting on planning to sell to? What are the needs of the customers you are specifically finding solution for? Are you are looking to open a hotel, bed and breakfast, restaurant, or laundromat? Perhaps a combination? Defining who you are targeting and what type of business best delivers the solution will help you to work out if you’re trying to take on too much too soon.  If you are tempted to start everything at once, remember that big businesses generally start small. As a business owner, you will see new opportunities and investments arise in the future, so keep your options open and try not to bite of more than you can chew!

Step 2 - Learn to prioritize

Try to start small and avoid the temptation of running after everything especially after knowing who your target is and what solution you want to offer. This way, you will learn as you go, and as you inevitably make mistakes they will not affect the business too much. Starting small allows you to work not only on your own skills of managing business, but on the skills of other people. Say for example, you believe you’ve hired the best chef in the world who is amazing in the kitchen, but is always late! Or you have a great supplier, but the rice they supply is just not up to your standard. Starting small means you get to figure out the best road ahead to a long and wonderful journey to business success.

Starting small allows you to work not only on your own skills of managing business, but on the skills of other people.

Step 3 - Start thinking of your business strategy

Once you have figured out what your business is going to focus on, try to create a business strategy. This can be very different between every small business owner and could include factors such as what do you want to be known for in the future? How will you differentiate with other business who are trying to provide the same or similar solution? How will you ensure your potential customers will know about you? Will you need to focus your advertising in your locality or do you think advertising online (and nationally) will be more suitable to the type of business you are running?

Step 4 - Your business name!

Naming your business establishment is very important. It will be the one thing which hopefully you will never change and people will keep talking about in the years to come. If you already have an idea, search online for other local or national establishments which might have the same name. If there aren’t any, fantastic! But if there are, then perhaps consider choosing another name. If your place name is unique, it will may give you a good edge. Generally a business’ name should be able to reflect what your business is about, it’s purpose, and what kind of service quality you hope to provide your customers. Even your logo plays a big part because these are the things your future customers will remember and share with their friends. The easier it is to remember, the easier it is for people to share your good product/service to others!

Step 5 - Reputation management

Now that you have an understanding of exactly what your business is about, start thinking about it’s reputation and how you will build it. Are you going for that five star online rating? Do you want to be known as the warmest and friendliest restaurant around? Maybe your idea is to be the most up to date and fashionable boutique in town? Whatever your goal is, your reputation matters. From your grand opening, the earliest online reviews will have a big impact on the future of your business, so make sure that early on you are being careful with your reputation.

Your grand opening, and earliest online reviews will have a huge impact on the future of your business, so make sure that early on you are being careful with your reputation.

There are many factors you need to consider so give it a lot of time and thinking. This can start from making sure you have a great product or service. For service industry, make sure you are hiring staff which reflect what you want to convey to customers. Remember great customer service usually leads to great reviews!

Step 6 - Set goals and plan accordingly

Set your business goals. Within 6 months how where do you want your business to be? How about 6 years? Of course generally you will want to expect more customers, but perhaps the number of customers you are targeting will no longer fit your restaurant? What are your goals for one year after opening day? How about five years after opening day? If you’re aiming for your business to expand into a chain of restaurants or laundromats then what are the things you need to make that happen? By setting goals and targets not only will you inspire yourself, but it will also help you track your progress and allow you to adjust accordingly. Also, by having an inspiring vision and goal will help inspire not only yourself but your business partners and your staff as well!

Now that you have read our steps on starting a business plan hopefully you also have better idea on what you want to do, and how you want to do it. There are many great sources online and offline that you can refer to but always remember that you need to invest in yourself to increase your chances.

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