Yesterday we talked about making the distinction between whether your Home Party Plan Business is a Business or a Glorified Hobby. One of the main differences in that a true Business requires a Business Plan. But how do you make one? Use these ten easy tips to help you start 2011 with the best Business Plan Possible!
Making A Business Plan In Ten Easy Steps
1. Create a vision.
Before you can start designing your plan, you have to know your destination.
What do you want to achieve? What will it look like when you do? Where do you want to go? What do you want to have? What is your REAL reason and drive for doing business?
Develop a mission statement and use it to define short-term goals and priorities. Once you have a clear road map for your business, you can plan your journey with more confidence.
2. A budget isn’t the same thing as a plan.
You can’t create a solid business plan without a budget but a budget should be the product of all the other elements in your plan.
A budget will need to include your advertising strategies, marketing strategies, etc. If you don’t have a clear picture of your industry, customers, competitors, and market conditions before you develop a budget, your numbers aren’t likely to reflect reality.
3. Consider your customers.
This may sound obvious, but too many business owners assume they know exactly what their customers need without bothering to ask.
Take the time to learn about your customers, and build your business plan around their needs and desires.
How will they best be served by you? How will they most easily be able to find you? How will you most easily be able to reach them?
4. Don’t overlook the competition.
If you assume you will be the only game in town or if you fail to take existing competitors seriously, you’re asking for trouble.
As much as I wish my message that “Party Plan Consultants Do Not Have Competition” would spread, until it does, we still need to be mindful that they do in fact exist.
Your competitors can be a great source of information about what works and what doesn’t.
5. Be prepared to take risks.
You will often hear me say – this business is not for sissies.
Creating a business plan isn’t about avoiding risk; it’s about understanding, managing and taking risks.
That’s why a good business plan will anticipate possible challenges and includes a variety of scenarios for overcoming those challenges.
6. Get a second opinion.
The most Seasoned Consultants can still benefit from a different point of view.
Find someone who can study your plan objectively and point out possible weaknesses you might have missed.
This person can be your spouse, parent, Success Sister, Up-line or just a friend. Be sure to talk to someone who will be honest with you – not just tell you what you want to hear.
Honesty is what is important here.
7. Expect the unexpected.
Every business plan needs some wiggle room to allow for unexpected changes.
Part of this involves creating budgets and marketing plans with some built-in flexibility; but adapting to change also requires you to accept that you might have to modify or even abandon business practices that worked well in the past.
This industry is ever-evolving, and many of the old adages of before simply do not work anymore. As times, situations and scenarios change, so must your business plan.
Keep in mind – this is a GOOD thing! It keeps you ahead of the curve!
8. Don’t forget what makes you unique.
A cookie-cutter business plan might help you get started, but it won’t help you succeed.
What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What part of the business do you enjoy most? Least?
And while it helps to look at your competitors, don’t model your business after them.
After all, you’re in business to beat the competition.
Learn from your competitors’ strengths, but also learn how to spot their weaknesses and use them to improve your own business plan.
9. Big Rewards for Little Victories.
Building a business involves hard work and dedication even when it is a struggle.
But it should also include a clear set of rewards, even for the smallest victories.
Set rewards for your favorite activities (facial, pedicure, ice cream cone – whatever) at milestones along your business plan.
10. You plan to work, now work the plan!
Of course, the biggest mistake of all is failing to create a business plan in the first place, but worse is to make it and then not follow it.
Planning is hard work, and there’s no guarantee it will make your business succeed. In fact, I can GUARANTEE that just planning for your business will NOT make you a success.
You must have ACTION in order to receive results. Period.
But a good plan – and then working your plan – is still the best way to turn your vision into a realistic, successful business.