From idea to reality – how to build your dream business
If you have a great business idea but don’t know where to start to make it into an actual business, you’ve come to the right place. Here we will detail how to build a business plan for your business idea, which is the foundation that you need to make your business idea a reality.
To learn more about starting a business, or a particular business, there are tons of articles you can read on Step By Step Business.
Write a business plan
Writing a business plan will make your idea a reality, at least on paper. The process of writing it will force you to think through every aspect of your business, which is great preparation for actually going through the steps. A business plan is also necessary if you need to apply for a bank loan or seek investors.
A business plan has several elements:
This section is the beginning of your business plan, but you should write it last. It will briefly summarize your entire business plan. You should cover all the highlights of your plan and write in such a way that it portrays your business in the most positive way possible. When you take your plan to a bank or investor, if they don’t like your executive summary, they may read no further.
This section should cover what exactly your company is, when it was founded, the ownership structure of the business, and your vision for your company. It will also state your business entity type, such as an LLC or corporation. It’s essentially a big-picture overview of the nature of your business and what you hope to achieve.
Products and services
Here you should describe in detail exactly what you’re offering. Include all the features and benefits of your products or services and try to convey how your offering is unique. You want to create a picture of exactly what value your customers will receive. You also need to describe how you’re getting your products. If you are manufacturing something yourself, you need to describe your manufacturing process. If you are working with a manufacturer or supplier, you need to give the name and a description, as well as the reason you chose them as a partner. Note – if you haven’t done this yet, you should start researching your options.
For this section, you’ll need to do some more research. You want to look at your industry size and its projections for growth. There are plenty of resources online that will give you this information. You also, perhaps even more importantly, need to assess trends in the industry. What’s popular? What features are popular? Is anything changing in the market? Technology advancements? Looking at these trends may spur you to modify your product or service based on what’s happening in the market. Also, assess any challenges facing the industry such as government regulations. Consider how you will address these challenges.
Again, you’ll need to do some research. Analyze all your main competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. From this information, try to brainstorm what advantages you can create for your company. Can you emulate your competitors’ strengths and improve on their weaknesses? What can you do to make customers choose your product or service over alternatives? You’re looking for a competitive advantage that you can create that will help you get ahead.
In this section, you’ll detail what you need to run the company in terms of equipment, location, and human resources. You’ll also detail exactly how the company will operate on a day-to-day basis. The information included here is all logistical. How are products made, how do they get to customers, and what else has to happen to keep the company running every single day. Also, include who you will need in order to do this. What employees will you need? Can you outsource certain functions?
Sales and marketing
Now you need to determine how you’re going to reach your customers, and what message you’re going to send. You need to create a value proposition that conveys in one sentence exactly what value you’re providing to customers. Then you need to plan how you will convey this message, whether it’s through social media, optimizing your website, paying for ads, or direct sales to customers. To create this plan, you need to know your target market and the best places to find those people. Are they more likely to be on TikTok or Instagram, or instead on Facebook and LinkedIn?
Detail exactly who’s going to run the company. Include titles of the managers and exactly what their roles and responsibilities will be. If you’re going to be a one-person show, then detail exactly what you will do for the company. This will help you understand exactly what you’re getting into. What exactly will you have to do on a daily basis? As an entrepreneur, you’ll likely be wearing many hats.
This will include your startup costs and your financial projections for at least three years. Financial projections include estimates of your sales and expenses, which will tell you how much profit you will make on a monthly and yearly basis. It will also show you how much you need to sell on a monthly basis to break even, and how much cash you’ll have at any given time. The most important part for you right now, though, is the startup costs. List everything you will need to purchase or spend money on to get the business started on day one. Look up approximate costs and be realistic.
Once you’ve created your plan, you’ll be much more prepared to launch your company. You’ll know what to expect, and what it will take to be successful in terms of time, money, and people. Having a plan should also make the whole thing seem less overwhelming – if you can write it, there’s no reason you can’t do it!