Planning, We Don’t Need No Stinking Planning!
Business planning is another step in the process of developing your business that many people would rather skip all together.
“Planning? We don’t need no stinking planning!”
If you’re not familiar with the line then you’ve been deprived of a comedic masterpiece, but I digress. The point is that many of us prefer to “do” vs. “plan.” Nevertheless, it is sometimes necessary to bite the bullet and do some planning. This is one of those times.
A business plan serves as the roadmap for your business and as its primary sales tool for financing. Even if you have no intention of going to a bank to get startup funds for your e-commerce business, you should still develop a business plan.
A business plan will help you to develop a real course of action to get your business off the ground. Most business plans contain the following:
Executive Summary – discusses the high level goals, mission statement and keys to success for the business.
Startup Costs – a list of the initial costs to open the business.
Product Overview – what are you selling and why will it work?
Market Analysis – find out who are your target customers and how will you attract them?
Competitive (SWOT) Analysis – determine your competitors and how will you beat them?
Sales Strategy – how will you sell your products?
Sales Projections – how much do you expect to sell in the next 3 years?
Website Development Plan – how will you get online? Who will make it happen?
Operational Plans – Who will run the business? How will it operate?
Financial Plan – When will you break even? What’s the projected profit/loss for 3 years? Cash flow? Balance sheet?
Seems like a lot, right? Sure the concept can be overwhelming, but you don’t need to start from scratch either. What if I told you there was a place to go and find over 500 different sample business plans you could use to model for your own business? Okay, so there is and I’m telling you.
I know you’re ready to skip ahead to the next chapter and avoid this important but intimidating step in the launch of your business. Don’t do it. Even if you’re not planning on seeking financing from traditional sources like a bank, this is a valuable process that will help you understand more about running a business.
If you are going to seek financing from a bank or even mom and dad, having a solid business plan will make you more confident. Would you invest in a business that didn’t even have a plan?