Many people dream of starting a business but never get started because they don’t know how to build an effective and creative plan for the business. If you are one of such would-be-entrepreneurs, here are five steps to a creative business plan.
- Decide Who Your Target Audience Is
Before you can create a plan for your business, you need to know exactly who your business intends to serve. For instance, if you want to start a business walking dogs, then it would make sense that your target audience are people who own dogs and not for people who own cats. As you define your audience, make it as specific as possible, to improve your chances of success. Instead of “dog” owners, you could target “busy dog owners between the ages of 25-40, who own medium-sized dogs but have no time to walk them”.
- Research The Market
With a clear definition of the people that make up your market, you can then start to do some research to see what the situation looks like within that market for an offering such as yours. For instance, if you want to set up a business selling perfumed handmade soaps for women, you need to know if there are similar products in the market that are actively demanded. If there are, you need to know how saturated the market is and if you’d be best to suit up as a sole trader or as a limited company.
- Understand Your Competition
With a fair idea of the activity level in the market, you can go on to do some research about your competition. While researching, you want to find out all you can about the product/service they offer and what makes it so special. You also want to learn about their branding strategies, how long they have been on the market, what level of sales they are achieving, and anything else that makes them stand out. This is important so you can model your own business properly and find any gaps in their service, which can be an opportunity for your business.
- Calculate The Numbers
Having followed the steps above, having a fair idea of who your market is, the opportunities available and the competition. Your next step should be to find out if there is a financial gain to be made if you actually enter the market. If you already know what you want to sell, do the calculations to see what it will cost you to bring these products to market and how much you will need to sell them to be profitable. If the average market price of the competition is similar, you are good to go!
- Set Your Goals and Plans For Achieving Them
The final step involves taking all you have learned and building a creative business plan around it. You already know what you want to sell and to whom, who your competition is and how to do better than them. Now, you need to set realistic goals on how much you want your business to sell within a period, how you will make that happen, and how you will navigate obstacles to the plan.