Writing a business plan is a very important aspect of self-employment. Everything centers on this exercise, as this converges concept, feasibility and the "what-where-why-and-how" of your business. While this task is complex and requires professional intervention, the following six steps would give you a broad outline of what it involves.
1. The concept - Start at the beginning. What is your business all about? You need to have complete clarity about the concept. The best way to achieve this is to work in similar or complementary businesses before you launch your own. Theory and practice are two very different facets of a business. Do not, for one moment, think that if you master the theory you are a sure winner.
2. Feasibility - Have a market research and see whether your idea of your business' profitability matches with that of the proposed market segment. If yes, go ahead. If not re-strategize your business plan. You can never have enough research done, be sure you have covered every area of your business.
3. Look at details in detail - Every detail is important. Where are your raw material coming from? How do you get it at the lowest cost possible? Where do you place your stock? How do you ship your product? These questions are examples of details that you should know as the back of your hand.
4. Past, Present and Future - Your plan should be based on your expertise, experience and skills (educational qualifications, too). This is the past. The present, is how you are planning your finances, human resources, and modus operandi for your business. The future is the financial forecast and the break-even point.
5. Focus, focus, focus - While it is safer to launch a broad based business, the fastest and best way to create and build a niche is to focus on one particular forte where you aim to be the best. Once you have got your focus right you can eventually branch out.
6. Contingency plan - You know the saying, "If something has to go wrong, it will". You need to plan everything with the thought at the back of the mind that, 'this might go wrong'. In this way, you would not only be emotionally ready for setbacks, you would also have alternative way to proceed.
Writing a business plan is not easy as you can see; but it is not hard either. All it needs is an eye for detail and readiness for any eventuality. Your business plan can always be reviewed, it is your guide and so must be kept close so that your are able to go back to it and check your progress.
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