A lot of focus has been placed online on marketing, which is required to attract customers to your business. But what are you bringing them to? Think of marketing as the invitation. Your business is the party. Imagine sending out beautifully embossed invitations to potential guests, hand delivered by a stagecoach. You build anticipation by paying people to promote it online, drop hints of the celebrities that will be in attendance, and promise expensive door prizes. When people show up there’s no music, no food, it’s hot as hell inside, the only celebrity in attendance is the winner of this year’s Jr. Talent Show, and you’re handing out lollipops at the door. Do you think the people in attendance will come to your next party?
The same is true for your business. You may get people to buy from you one time, but do you think they will come back? What will they tell their friends and followers about you? Chances are, if you don’t have your ish together, it won’t be pretty. And pretty soon, your pretty little online business is going to be a pretty big flop. We as modern businesswomen need to get back to the basics of business. How solid is your business plan? Do you have an accounting system set up? Do you have policies and procedures in place? How do you handle an unsatisfied customer? What are the day-to-day operational tasks you have to complete to run your company? If your offline business does not look the way you make it look online, it’s time to get off of social media and go back to the drawing board. Don’t be the business version of the chick who takes a sexy selfie next to a pile of dirty laundry.
In my next series, I will break down the major sections of a business plan. Boring, I know, but it doesn’t have to be. There is a creative way and an analytical way to create a business plan. A woman who is building her business around her passion needs to have both. The creative version will draw out your passion, your why, feature glitter in your favorite color, and have magazine cutouts glued on a poster board. It will motivate you everyday to continue pursuing your passion. The analytical version you can take to the bank. Literally.
The 10 major parts of a Business Plan are:
1. Mission Statement
The Mission Statement focuses on the present and explains what your business does right now.
2. Vision Statement
The Vision Statement focuses on the future and explains what the greater purpose of your business is.
3. Company Description
This section is an overview of your business: the products and services you provide, what makes you so special, where you are located, your target demographic, etc.
4. Products & Services
Here, you get to describe in detail what you are selling and the value you provide. If you are operating a business based on your passion, this will probably be your favorite part.
5. Market Analysis
Put your research hat on, because this section will make you search and dig until you know your industry inside out. This section has been known to break a few hearts, make you think outside of the box, and rethink your products and services. You will analyze your industry, customers, and the competition.
6. Organization & Management
Think of this section as the “resume” section for you and your team.
7. Marketing & Sales
How you going to attract people to your business (marketing) and get them to buy (sales)?
8. Operational Plan
This section is where you will break down the major day-to-day activities and processes to run your business.
9. Financial Projections
The banks will turn to this section right after they read your Executive Summary if they like what they see. Here, you need to bring out your inner accountant and present financial projections and statements. It’s all about the bottom line.
10. Executive Summary
Although it appears first in the Biz Plan, the Executive Summary is written last. It is the most important part of your plan because it explains exactly what your business is all about. This section will keep you focused when making business decisions. When you use your business plan for investment or loan purposes, the Executive Summary can be the difference between a check and the trash bin.
Each week, we will discuss how to write each section. We will start off with a fun activity to get your creative juices flowing. Then, honey, it’s time to get down to business.
Until next time,
Rachel Henderson is a single mompreneur who helps other single mothers turn their pass ion into profit, while maintaining their home. She has over 20 years experience in accounting and business, and is now focused on spreading entrepreneurship among young single mothers. Her hobbies include cooking, shopping, and making gift baskets. She lives and plays with her three boys in sunny Los Angeles, CA. Her faith and the love of her family keeps her motivated every day. For more information visit www.mzrachelzplace.com.