Running a business is by no means an easy task. The market is highly competitive to add to the stress, meaning you need to think of ways to stand out from the competition. Luckily, developing a strategic business plan is more than enough to allow a business to gain a foothold in the market.
A business plan is a written document that outlines its business model, including its goals and ambitions. In essence, it’s a company’s guideline to achieving its goals. However, not many companies realize its importance or create one in the first place. Not to worry, we’re here to help.
In this article, we’ll guide you to develop a business plan the right way. Read on below to get started.
What’s In a Business Plan?
A business plan should be a 101 on your company and should include the following:
- Executive Summary – A brief description of the company. This section may include its history and information such as location, management, and ownership.
- Products or Services – The products and services offered by a company make it unique, and it’s essential to outline every aspect of it. Other information can include pricing, quality, and consumer benefits.
- Competition – Who’s your competition, and how do you plan to beat them? You’ll need to think about that if you want your business to succeed.
- Markets – Discuss the market choice and how the company will tap into this market. This includes telling the reader how the company will grab its market share, as well as how it will break into the market.
- Strategic Overview – This part showcases your company’s mission statement, goals, and objectives.
- Marketing Strategy – This part describes the company’s marketing approach.
- Management Team – The team behind the company is what makes it successful. Here you can describe the experience and how they’ll contribute to
With the basics out of the way, some steps are to develop the best business plan.
#1 – Define Your Target Audience
The first thing you should do is determine who you’re trying to reach. This way, you can evaluate how you can reach them or implement some strategies.
For instance, if you plan to target millennials, you’ll need to build your marketing strategy on how they consume information. On the other hand, if you’re targeting parents, the need to think about family-oriented promotions and pricing. The goal is to determine who your business is designed for and how you can reach them.
#2 – Do Market Research
You can’t develop a successful business without knowing your target audience. You need to do in-depth market research to determine what your buyers want, so you can create your product or service accordingly.
In addition, you’ll need to know how your business will be able to differentiate itself from your competitors. By doing so, you’ll have a clearer picture of how your business will stand out and how it will succeed.
#3 – Conduct Competition Research
What are your rivals doing? Are they stealing customers from you, or are they leaving you alone? You can easily find out by conducting comprehensive field research. For instance, if you’re planning to expand your business and build a second outlet in another city, you’ll find that competition is already there.
You must identify if their business is thriving and if there’s room for your business to gain part of their market. Are they providing the same service or product or providing something different? If so, how is your business model better than theirs? The answers to these questions will help you formulate your business plan and know what to do to make your business successful.
#4 – Identify Goals
You need to set clear goals in your business plan to determine how you market your products or services. Without it, how will you be able to measure your performance? You’ll know if you’re making progress or not with the help of goals.
Goals can include increasing profits or expanding your product or service lines. However, you also need to know your company’s capabilities. If you set unrealistic goals, all your efforts would be in vain. In other words, your goals should be specific, achievable, and measurable.
#5 – Identify Competitive Advantage
Having a competitive advantage over your rivals is one of the most important things a business can have. By doing so, you’ll be able to establish a strong foothold in the market and become a market leader.
Your business will have a competitive advantage if it has a unique product or service or a different pricing structure. If this is not the case, you’ll have to create a competitive advantage by improving your business model.
#6 – Choose a Business Development Strategy
Now, it’s time to determine how you’ll market your services or products. Business development strategies are the different ways you can market your business, and without one, you’ll find it challenging to reach your target audience. Some of the most common examples include:
- Content marketing
- Outbound telephone
For instance, if you want to sell your product through resellers, you’ll need to establish a reseller program for this. However, you also need to ensure that you have enough products for them. If not, you’ll have to develop a distribution channel, such as creating your own e-commerce website.
#7 – Pick the Right Business Development Tactics
Business development tactics refer to how you’ll execute your strategy. To do this, you’ll need to determine which of your tactics are most successful and how frequently you should use them.
For instance, if you want to establish an e-commerce website, you can create a landing page and social media campaigns. You can also create email lists and send promo emails to your customers. It all boils down to the type of business you’re involved in and how you can establish a strong foothold in the market.
#8 – Establish Implementation Measures
To achieve your goals, you’ll need to set specific measures to make them happen. Remember that it’s not enough to simply define your goals and strategies, but you also need to know how you’ll implement them.
Ideally, you’ll also need to set specific timelines, such as when you’ll market your business or expand your product line. Without these timelines, your plan won’t be successful because there won’t be a specific time frame to follow.
#9 – Set Measurement Metrics
It’s vital to set measurement metrics, so you’ll know if you’re making progress in your business. After all, if you do this well, you’ll be able to develop a strategic business plan that will bring your business to the next level.
You can use the following metrics:
- ROI – Return on investment is a popular metric for measuring the success of a business.
- Costs – If you have costs of doing business, you’ll have to develop ways to reduce them.
- Productivity – How productive is your team? Is it producing the results you want, or do you still need to train your staff?
- Sales – This one is easy to measure, but you also need to evaluate how your business can generate leads.
#10 – Execute the Plan
When your plan is ready, it’s time to execute it. Make sure that you’re implementing the strategies that you planned for, and keep track of the progress that you’re making.
Remember that you can constantly adjust your business plan if you need to. In some cases, it’s recommended to change the plan mid-stream. For instance, if you’re trying to sell a product but find out that your packaging isn’t attractive, you can redesign it and continue selling it. What matters is that you change it depending on the circumstances to make the most out of your plan.
Business plans are essential documents that can help your business get started. You’ll need to learn the basics and develop your business plan accordingly. What matters is that you don’t rush the process because executing a business plan takes time and effort. As long as you do everything correctly, you’ll reap the positive results of your plan.
If you’re looking for business development analysts, CrewBloom has got your back! Our team of business analysts can help your business develop and grow to ensure your goals are being met. Reach out today to learn more!