Start Your Startup | How To Build a Business Plan
Your Business Plan – Why Bother?
Stephen Semprevivo is a firm advocate for building a business plan before you build your business. For any building to stand tall it needs a strong base and a solid foundation. There’s no compromising on this part. This exact same concept applies to building a successful and lasting business. Except for a business, the foundation is your business plan. Starting a business is easy – making one that can last for decades is the challenging part. If you want to witness your business profit and grow from the ground up, along the way you’ll need a cohesive business plan to guide you in the right direction. So your business will not only be your foundation, it will be your compass to keep you moving in the right direction.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan includes your business’s goals/milestones and a road map of how to achieve them. It narrows down the objective of your business and what your plan is. Having this helps avoid wasted time and money on projects or initiatives that serve no purpose to your goal. A fully detailed business plan will help organize all aspects related to your business.
How Do I Start My Business Plan?
You might be wondering what a business plan should include. Stephen Semprevivo advocates taking an iterative approach to building business plans. It can start simple with:
- A simple mission statement (More on Mission Statements)
- A summary of your product/service and why it is necessary
- A description of who your customers are why fit your product/service (More on Product Market Fit)
- How you will price your product/services
- How you will market your product/service and make money
Once you have a good amount of detail around these areas Stephen Semprevivo highly recommend you start vetting this high level plan potential customers, partners and trusted advisors to ensure you are pointing in the right direction.
Once you are satisfied and have sufficient input from others you will also want to look at the external market and understand how those dynamics effect your business. You don’t want to create your business in a vacuum and it is important to understand how to navigate the external environment. The two areas to look at here are:
- Competitive analysis (More on Competitive Analysis)
- Market/Industry analysis (Example Market Industry Analysis)
Once again, input from others whether its through consumer surveys or speaking to other seasoned professionals will be of great assistance in creating your business plan. To create a cohesive and detailed business plan, the next crucial step is to brainstorm around these following areas:
- Product and product life cycle plan
- Sales and marketing strategy/plan (More on Sales and Marketing Strategy/Plan)
- Financial plan (Templates – Download Excel Version)
Sorry – Your Business Plan is Never Done
As you can see in the steps above Stephen Semprevivo stress the iterative nature of building your business plan. It requires constant input both from experiences you have and key constituents. Business plans are not something you build and put on a shelf. These plans are ever-changing and evolving as time goes on. Maybe you made a mistake with a previous financial goal. Perhaps current operations run inefficiently.
When these things occur, the first action to take is going back to your business plan and reassessing it. Then making the necessary changes. Business plans are meant to adjust as your business continues to grow. The objective throughout this entire business planning process is incorporating new learnings to redirect and grow your business.
As a successful entrepreneur, Stephen Semprevivo is always looking for new businesses to mentor. If you have an idea for a startup and are ready to take the next steps, apply for the Stephen Semprevivo Startup Scholarship. Two student entrepreneurs will receive a $2,500 scholarship along with mentorship and guidance. Learn more about the scholarship program and apply today. Remember, the best time to start a business is NOW!
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