As we head towards the New Year, a lot of new businesses are formed by entrepreneurs. However without proper business planning, the business is not likely to perform optimally. This is a check list that can be used by startups in planning their business for longevity and survival.
The first thing to do is to write down your business plan. The plan sets out the goals of the business and is the foundational document to refer to at all times of the business. The plan can be amended with time therefore a lot of detail should go into drafting the plan. An entrepreneur workbook advices that one should provide a summary description of the intended business. This is very important for marketing purposes. I was once a member of a networking club where each member was given two minutes to present their business to the rest of the club. It was interesting that not many people were able to do this in the given two minutes. This is because most did not have a clear description of their business and the products or services they provided. Not many had a clear definition of their target customers. However, writing down a brief description of your business will enable you present your business in an orderly manner.
It is important to find a good location for the business depending on the type of business. In some cases, such as in the case of consultancy or online shops, there is no need for any location as most of the business is done via e-commerce. However for some businesses, location determines how successful your business will be this is especially for businesses in the service sector. It is best to be nearer your target clients.
Your management structure should be set up beforehand. For those who run their own businesses, it would still be wise to incorporate a board of advisors whom the business is accountable to. A separation of ownership from management is the best practice for good governance. The board remains accountable to the owner. An independent board is prudent for a board offers a range of expert advice and it does not need to be expensive. Family and friends with different specialties can offer such services.
You will need to target your customers beforehand and properly define your product/service. A market analysis is also needed. This will be beneficial in the long term as you will not waste time and resources outside defined parameters.
Your business needs a vision and mission. Vision is simply what prompted you to start the business and mission is why your business exists that is, its purpose. Most business experts’ advice that your vision and mission should not be about revenue but should capture your core competencies, interests and passion. Most people are likely to fail if they get into business they have no capacity or passion for. But if you have capacity and passion you are likely to succeed. Write down your vision and mission for future reference. It is good to do your SWOT analysis so as to capitalize on your strengths, and deal with your weaknesses. Take advantage of new opportunities e.g. new laws, changing customer trends and mitigate risks.
Set up systems and operations in terms of ICT infrastructure, human resources, marketing and other pillars. Finally finances should be considered. Where are you getting capital from? Who are the suppliers? How much are you costing your services and what is your credit policy? With proper planning your business is likely to succeed.