#Howto: Writing your first business plan

My Hustle
My Hustle

So, first things first! Every business needs to have a written business plan. Why? It’s a crucial tool to prove to you, and to potential investors, that your business idea has direction and potential. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating. But writing one will really help you map out the future prospects of your business.

Step 1: It’s all about your vision!

Outline the vision you have for your business by answering these questions:

  • What are you creating?
  • What will your business look like in one year, three years, and five years?

Step 2: Understand your mission!

What is your mission? Why are you starting this business and what is its purpose? Now write a company description outlining what the business does. It is important to keep this short, sweet and to the point!

Step 3: #Goals

List your overall objectives by outlining your business goals and answering these questions:

  • Are your business goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) goals?
  • How will you measure success in achieving your goals?

Step 4: Know exactly how you are going to succeed!

Write down your business strategies by answering these questions:

  • How are you going to build your business?
  • What will you sell, and how will you sell it?
  • What is your unique selling proposition – i.e. what makes your business different from the competition?

Step 5: It’s all about the money!

It’s time to talk money. What is the total start-up capital you’ll need to launch your business?

Step 6: Get out that spreadsheet!

You’ll need a separate budget for running costs. Estimate what your business’ monthly expenses will be immediately after the launch, in three months, in six months, and in one year.

Step 7: Lights, camera and action!

Create an action plan by answering these questions:

  • What are the specific action items and tasks you need to complete?
  • What will be your future milestones?
  • What will need to be accomplished by those milestones to meet your objectives?